Behind the Seams


An offer of help to a Sydney craft guild making pouches for animals injured by the bushfires drew us into a compassionate community of women who sew. Meet Freda, one of the heroic but humble people working day and night to make a difference to our precious wildlife.

How did The Ark become involved with this project?

The Ark’s pattern maker Emma heard about our group and sent me a message offering a donation of fabric to help our sewers out. She then informed me that your wonderful company were planning on sewing for us as well...and two weeks ago we received another six boxes filled with lovely soft fabrics and thread! The thread was quickly snapped up and Emma has continued to stay in contact, answering our additional requests.

How are the joey pouches made?

I find the materials and pass them onto a wonderful group of six ladies. Between them they have already made 2,000 bat wraps, day and night bags and dozens of 3D hanging bags for orphaned and injured joeys. Sewers work individually, but we also have sewage bees organised by groups.

The shape of the night pouch with the split front resembles a mother’s pouch. These are made with two layers of fabric; soft 100% cotton, flannelette or similar and the inner layer must be 100% natural, especially for tiny newborn and hairless joeys.

Outer pouches are made of a heavier, stronger fabric like drill or denim. All patterns for sewers are available on ARCG and have been tried, tested and approved. French seams are required on most sewn items in order to provide strength, durability and safety so little claws or paws don’t get caught in loose threads.

How do you get the pouches to the animals who are in need of help?

We check all items for quality and once we are satisfied that the sewn items are of a standard to go to animals and carers, sewers deliver directly to a nearby carer or volunteer collection hub. Travellers also drop them in on their way to a destination.

Due to the generosity of our members, some people who are non-sewers have donated funds and this allows major hubs to send parcels to carers. They are made and delivered completely free of charge to wherever they are needed, from Tasmania to the Northern Territory.

What does it mean to you to do this work?

This work is very fulfilling. I cry every other day hearing stories from people out there caring in very dire conditions, but we can at least help in a small way to provide the items they desperately need for the animals. When the fires were in several states our administration group of ten people were so busy answering questions and communicating with people up to 21 hrs a day. Now that the major fire crisis is over, we are slowing down but don’t plan to stop.

To learn more about the ARCG rescue project click below: