This is Gulla’alla, a simple koala softie kids will LOVE to make. She’s a project I first designed many years ago and has been a favorite with the kids in my holiday workshops ever since. They seem to love the fact that she has a little one in her pouch and they refuse to go home with their mums until they have finished the baby. There can be some pretty frantic sewing going on as the mums arrive. That little bikini was my daughter Yiscah’s addition when we decided to take them both to the beach where I swim for a photo shoot. Yiscah is also the source of the name “Gulla’alla”. This is how she pronounced the word “koala” when she was learning to talk.
Koala noses (large and small)
Koala paws (large and small)
What to do
1. Download the templates here and here and here. Print and cut out. You will need to tape together the two parts of Gulla’alla’s template. Trace onto your calico. Cut the pouch from a separate piece of calico.
2. Place the calico with the traced outline face down and pin the pouch into position on the untraced side of your calico. You might need to hold the calico up to the light in order to see the outline of the koala so that you can put your pouch in the right place. I sewed my pouch on with seed beads to make it look pretty…mums need a bit of pampering just after they’ve had a baby.
3. Attatch the koala nose onto the same side of the calico as the pouch.
4. Now pin the calico with the traced side facing upwards onto a piece of brown homespun. Sew them together. Remember to leave a turning gap. Then just turn the whole thing inside out (which basically turns it right side out).
5. Lastly, push small amounts of polyester fiberfill into the koala’s head and top half of the body. Now fill the bottom half with rice grains to give the base weight. I used about a cup of rice grains for Gulla’alla. Slipstich the opening of the turning gap closed, add eyes, paws, and voila!
The baby is made in the same way except there’s no pouch and you don’t add rice grains to the stuffing. A baby’s nappy (ie diaper) can be made from a triangle of terry towelling and kept in place with a saftey pin or glue.
Koalas are actually quite big down here in Australia. Generations of Aussie kids have been brought up not only with world-famous celebs like Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit but also with Blinky Bill and his friends. If your kids like Gulla’alla you might like to check out this Aussie classic:
You can find the full version of Gulla’alla and lots more hand sewing projects to make with your kids in my book Sew Together Grow Together
Let me know if you have any questions!