Dutch quilters sew over 400 mittens for fire-stricken koalas

As the internet has been plastered with photographs of koalas with burnt paws, a quilting community in the Netherlands has teamed up to craft their own cute and cuddly solution. 

The run of bushfires experienced across Australia in recent weeks have left devastation in their wake, but this news offers a glimmer of joy and hope. 


A request from Byron Rescue Crafters for mittens, gloves, and pouches for koalas’ burnt paws inspired hardcore quilter Jeltje van Essen from Quilt Shop 100 rozen to make a difference. 

Jeltje called her group of volunteers into action to create mittens and pouches, which are set to be sent to Australia, to protect the injured paws of our treasured koalas and help nurse injured babies who have been orphaned as a result of the bushfires.

“I have the time, I have the material and I have the people” Jeltje explained.   

Jeltje’s little shop has everybody busily sewing away while she handles the ongoing flow of donations, phone calls and interviews from all over the Netherlands. 

Jeltje has thoughtfully created a perfect mitten design for our Koala pals. As their burnt feet and hands are too soft and fragile, the mittens have to be made out of cotton, and sewed with cotton thread. 

“Ordinary textiles contain plastic; our quilts are soft and will prevent infections.”

So far, over 400 pairs of mittens have been lovingly sewed in a stunning array of stunning fabric designs. 

“I always want to have a smile on a face, and I know how hard it is to work with animals that are sick, or children that are sick,” Jeltje says. “If you then have a mitten with a pattern of a koala or another beautiful pattern, it generates a smile on a face. That’s what I hope for. So we have used the best cotton you can find with lovely fabrics.”

Here’s to hoping this little bit of love from all the way across the world will help our favourite critters in making a swift recovery.