Pouches for Joeys, Wallabys and Marsupials Down Under

Hi Makers! I wanted to share a very meaningful service project I just started this week. The very lovely, kind and talented Sarah of Piccolo Studio has published several excellent tutorials and “printable pattern templates” for making pouches “for dear ones”: vulnerable Kangaroos, Wallabys and marsupials affected by the spreading wildfires in Australia. Sarah is a member of ARC, the Animal Rescue Craft Collective. Her patterns are based on the original pouch pattern by Long Grass Nature Refuge. Her refined patterns are available for free as PDF downloads. I downloaded the patterns and had them copied at our local Staples on sturdy copy paper. The pattern download prints out on letter-sized paper. You do have to trim the tops and left sides and then tape them together. I would recommend putting on some music or as I often do my current audible book. This pattern taping process will be done in no time!

In Australia, far too many people, their homes, businesses and wildlife have greatly suffered due to these spreading wildfires. Regarding wildlife, Sarah points out in her posts that these poor animals require care not just now in this current crisis but year-round under normal circumstances. Animal refuge center are always in need of these pouches. With this in mind, I wanted to share the link to her site. There you will find a variety of pattern templates to make and send. Sarah also provides the mailing address in the tutorial. All of these pouches are manageable for a beginner sewist. The pouches require a relatively small amount of fabric yardage. Sarah has included recommendations for best fabric choices and sewing prep.

This week, I began by downloading the PDF pattern templates, getting them printed and then trimming them down.


Next I taped them together.
IMG_9747Then I went through my fabric stash. I found some nice durable cotton twills, recommended for the outer pouch pieces and soft cotton flannels, recommended for the inner pouch pieces. I pre-washed, recommended by Sarah, all these natural fiber fabrics.  I laid out the patterns and fabrics and cut out 10 pouches.

IMG_9749 With the long holiday weekend coming up, I hope to get a good jump start on the sewing! Please click on the link, check out Sarah’s story and please consider making and donating a few of these pouches for these very needy Aussie animal friends. Thank you!

Mindfully mending with patches

A friend asked if I could mend a tear in his most beloved white buttoned down shirt. The 6″ rip, was not on a seam rather in a somewhat tricky spot. I decided to give it a go as it posed a interesting challenge in modern day garment mending!


Step 1 was to remove all the machine stitches in the area needing repair. The industrial machine stitch length used to make this lovely Egyptian Cotton men’s ready-to-wear shirt was quite tiny and imbedded due to wear and laundering. I had to be very careful while ripping out so as not to make the tear worse!


Since the tear was located dangerously(!) near both the overlap and underlap sleeve plackets, I decided to delicately open up the whole area and fuse a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing on the underside to stabilize, using a muslin press cloth. Here’s the brand and type of fusible interfacing.



My plan was to create a long slender hemmed patch and to sandwich it between the overlap and underlap plackets. From my wondrous fabric stash I chose a piece of white-on-white Dotted Swiss cotton, perfect in fabric weight and design scale for this patch. Recently I read an article, “Essential Techniques” in Threads Magazine, December 2019/January 2020 issue on page 77, that offered an excellent technique for making small hems. Using a permanent Micron marker, I drew a 1/4″ line on a small piece of card stock. I folded the patch fabric over the card stock, lined it up with my ruled line and pressed into place without burning my fingers! Sewists, you will want to check out this article as it has so many other brilliant tips and techniques!


Once the patch was hemmed on all four sides, I fused piece of Wonder Under Light, slightly smaller in size, onto the wrong side of the patch. I removed the paper liner side of the WU and fused the patch to the sleeve’s right side positioned evenly over the tear. This may seem like a lot of extra steps employed and products used but by stabilizing the area (fusible interfacing on wrong side) then adding the double sided fusible to the wrong side of the patch (Heat n Bond), the area was well prepped making the final stitching a piece of cake.


But wait there’s more! Since the owner/wearer of this shirt, a music critic, gave me artistic freedom with this repair, I added a lil’ decorative patch on top of the functional Dotted Swiss one. This small inchie-sized cotton fabric patch (using the same process as the first patch: the card stock for measuring the bitty 1/4″hems and Heat n Bond for fusing into place) has a musical theme.


So now I was ready to machine appliqué all these elements into place. I installed a new 80/12 Universal sewing machine needle and selected a 2mm stitch length. First I sewed all around the long slender patch, then a couple rows centered over the area of the tear, then stitched the smaller patch into place and finally stitched and reinforced the overlap placket and its peaked “roof.”


Here’s hoping the repair holds well. I felt I gave it the best support possible with the stabilizing agents. This sewing experience combined function and fun. It also felt very mindful and sustainable as I was slowly and thoughtfully working to repair a garment for reuse.