Tuesday, October 20, 2009


This is Gulla'alla. She's a project I first designed many years ago and has been a favorite with the girls 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 thing 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.

Here's my template:

My mother-koala is about 25 cm high x 22 cm wide from paw to paw. I've used a greyish-brown homespun for Gulla'alla's back (which you can't see in the beach photo) and unbleached calico for her front and pouch but whatever colours you use, a darker colour for the back will always work out well.

And if you haven't done this sort of thing before, here are some simple steps:

1. Trace the template onto your calico and cut the pouch from a separate piece of calico.

2. Place the calico with the traced outline facedown and pin the pouch into position on the untraced side of your material. 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 (which should be available from a craft supply shop) onto the same side of the material as the pouch.

4. Now put the calico with the traced side facing upwards onto a piece of greyish-brown homespun or onto whatever colour you've chosen for the koala's back. When you sew them together remember to leave a turning gap at the bottom. Then just turn the whole thing inside out (which basically turns it right side out).

5. Lastly, fill the koala's head and top half of her body with stuffing and 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:

My kids loved the stories and the drawings when they were growing up.

Want to see more of my projects?
You can check out my book Sew Together Grow Together at my etsy store or buy the ebook at Amazon
Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Oh. My. This is SO darling - I don't usually make softies but I MUST make this one! Thank you!

  2. I've had a thing for koalas since I was in third grade so I love this. Thanks so much for the tutorial! The bikini, towel and purse are cute additions. :)

  3. Thanks for comments Trixi, I love your little houses...and nice tutorial for the Gulla'alla!
    Kurma is such a great cook and great fun to cook with Chele x

  4. This is so cute!! I posted a link to your pattern & tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    (link will go live at 10:18 CST)

  5. Hi Trixi,

    I love toy animals with babies but have you noticed how many commercial joeys either can't be removed from the pouch or otherwise once removed have no legs or tails. They must use formaldhyde in the production!
    The nappy idea is cute too - I imagine all pouched animals wish they had access to nappies.

  6. My daughter is going to love this. Ever since our visit to NSW this summer she has been insisting that we get a pet koala if we move out there.. I think I'll stick to a cat!!!! In the meantime she can have a go at making this very cute substitue. I fancy using something furry for the back... but I've no idea where to get a nose from in the UK - may have to be a stuffed appliqued bit of felt.

    If it's ok with you I should like to link to your posting on http://amoebahandmade.blogspot.com/ and will promise to post a picture of our attempt!

  7. How cute, Trixi! Even cuter than the real ones! Happy Tuesday!

  8. oh my god, that is so adorable and PERFECT for my friend. She is from melbourne, but married and Irish guy and is living here now and her first baby is due in the next couple of weeks. I think I finally know what I'm going to make for him/her :o) Thank you so much for sharing. I promise when I make it I'll link back to your blog. M x

  9. Hi Trixi,
    that koala mum and bub is just too cute !
    I am earmarking this for a weekend project in the near future !
    Thanks for sharing,
    PJ x

  10. had to leave another comment. I just love the humour in this picture, I see a little something else each time. The full coloured co-ordinated ensemble : towel, bikini, bows , sunnies...the beach bag has lunch sticking out and a Sydney beach (the best kind!) in the background!!!

    thanks for this one Trixi!! xxx

  11. You're such an amazing creative person. Yet again, another neat little project to add to my list.

  12. Gulla'alla is very cute Trixi. I love how she got her name. What a lovely memory for you everytime you hear it. How gorgeous that your students wont go home without the baby!

    And what a great idea from Yiscah to add the bikini. That made me laugh!

  13. I love that book and I love your koala , so cute !