The Pinup Girl Quilt by Anna C

Written by ahq_admin

12 October 2017

The Pinup Girl Quilt
I first saw this quilt on the list while I was doing the Dragonball Z quilt.  I just can’t help myself I might be in the middle of one project but I keep an eye on the list every Monday to see what else is there. So by the third week this quilt was on the list I was feeling a bit sorry for the poor chap who requested it, no-one seemed prepared to take it on. I sent off an email saying I can’t start it yet, but give me a fortnight to finish off Dragonball Z and HMAS Darwin bag, and if no-one picks it up by then I’ll do it. Well no one picked it up, so it was mine.
Started a bit of research, found some gorgeous fabric panels  

 then realised that all these girls are lots of busts and butts, long, long legs and glimpses of lingerie in the bargain and that might cause a bit of a problem for customs in certain countries!  So making a mountain out of a molehill I contacted Jan-Maree and explained my predicament, thinking at the same time this is why it wasn’t chosen before. She chased it up for me and we get a reply back a couple of days later, sorry not a good idea, can I possibly think of another way around this.  Sadly, I couldn’t. My mind at that stage was stuck on the original idea and all I could see was these gorgeous pinup girls, who, by virtue of being pinup girls are leggy, and busty, and very, very sexy!

Jan-Maree contacted the recipient of the quilt, explained our dilemma and offered for him to wait until he go back home, or to change themes. Poor chap, he seemed a bit disappointed and ended up changing themes, going instead for a ‘Tiger print lounge style’, additional ideas were Lounge Singer, Cocktail Bar, Martinis, Vegas Crooner.  OK, my mind is a total and absolute blank, but I caused this problem in the first place so sure, I’ll get on with it. Got an idea in mind, Las Vegas city welcome sign, ‘50’s style signs for cocktails and jazz bars, ok, off to search for fabric. I could not, for the life of me, find what I was looking for. I chose something that vaguely fit, but by that time I was more in Tiki bar territory than Vegas Rat Pack! 

Had a chat to a friend explaining yet again another predicament I got myself into and she suggested I should have covered the girls with saris. I laughed and joked that they could be interactive pinup girls, lift the skirt and woo hoo!  Thought no more of it until 2am that morning, because of course that is the BEST time for thinking about your problems (not) and I went, hey, that’s not a bad idea! Maybe not a sari, but I could extend the skirt to the ankles, put something over the bust, nicely demure covered up ladies!

I was so excited to call up Jan-Maree the next morning, what was meant to be a two minute conversation turned into a lot longer and she ok’d my idea! Alright, straight onto Etsy, ordered these gorgeous panels I saw. They should come in time, 10-15 days from the UK, no worries. Loads of time!  And then came the waiting. And waiting.  And just a little bit more waiting.

Then came the fateful Wednesday morning I received an email from Jan-Maree asking how I was going with the quilt, oh and by the way the guys are leaving the area early, all quilts have to be out the door in 12 days time, in the post by 11/Sep please.  What? What?? What???  

I didn’t even have the material yet!  So panic stations, told her so, and she kindly suggested I get a plan B in place. Contacted the seller for the panels asking if there was tracking, no there wasn’t. Panic a bit more. Start research on Plan B, find some stunning pinup girls, hey, maybe I can print them out at home!

So Thursday was a full day of researching, copying, photo shopping, printing, chose colour scheme to blend with girls, shop for fabric, start sewing, did the first four panels, very happy with what I had done.  

 Only down side, I don’t think they will wash well as the colour faded terribly in test wash.

Had work the next day so no sewing, got home, and yes you guessed it, the fabric I ordered arrived!!  Aaagh!

So of course I switched to my ordered fabric, as it was chosen especially for my recipient. As it was I think the other girls, even though they are totally gorgeous were too 1940’s style and even worse, all American defence, not Australian!

So I got on with this quilt. Back to get more fabric as original fabric no longer matched, scaled everything back as no time for fancy stuff, super simple layout, top put together in a day. Laundry bag, one day. Yay, two massive hurdles cleared, now to quilt! This is where everything went wrong – bad tension, breaking threads, uneven stitches, wadding showing through backing, thread showing on panels, too many ends to tie in, much unpicking, cut binding on wrong angle – seriously, this quilt is jinxed!

Finally most of the quilting is done, time for the fun part – dressing the girls!!  By this time I’m at Sunday night, must be in the mail by 5.30pm Monday. Stressed? Yes would be the answer. Yes I was.

Monday morning saw me in the sewing room by 7am, and apart from pesky necessary interruptions like school runs the whole day was spent creating.  I now know what those reality TV contestants must feel like with the timer going on in the background – only seven hours to go, six, five….. my hands didn’t stop shaking all day and I stabbed myself umpteen times!

End of the day, timer’s counting down, 90min to go, very short letter printed out (felt so bad, usually hand write War & Peace, hey maybe he’s lucky there!!) , boxes labelled, laundry bag, Tim Tams and assorted goodies packed and sealed, just the quilt to finish.

The final part to do – finish some wavy quilting in between the bottom two squares, and do the strip in between the top squares. This quilt was my first time doing free motion quilting and I was not coping! Thread continued to break, and as I couldn’t have one strip 2/3 quilted and the other not at all I made the decision to unpick what had been done. It’s 4.55pm and I’m unpicking quilting on something that has to be in the mail in 35min! Heart rate through the roof, hands shaking more than ever, can’t see the stitches to unpick, in an absolute state. Then finally, last few threads pulled out, 5.10pm. Quick, fold it up, tie with ribbon – oh no! Ran out of ribbon!  *Sigh* Once around will have to do. In the box, tape it up, in the car, at the post office by 5.20pm. I did it! So now it’s down to Australia Post, might not hold my breath there. Must admit, even though it was not Bubbles Day i did buy myself a bottle of bubbly to celebrate 😉

So what did the girls wear? Well of course, every sensible, bootylicious babe knows when travelling to a culturally sensitive part of the world you always pack a long skirt, scarves and something to cover up the bodacious boobs and shoulders.

 This is the laundry bag girl showing her very respectable crochet bolero, which teams perfectly with her red belt and flamenco like long black skirt. 

The lookout has a long knife pleated skirt and crocheted sleeve extending her shirt.  In this photo you can see how it is a fully interactive quilt, most skirts were tacked on with different tacking being used across the base, so if desired just unpick the bottom tacking and there you go, flip up the skirt!!  

The young lady looking out to sea has a tulle underskirt and a dirndl style skirt with edge embroidery. And the selvedge worked wonderfully for a bit of detailed edge fringing. 

Our sailor girl kicking back on the deck chair has added an over-shirt to her uniform with striped collar detailing and pulled out the full length box pleated white skirt to cover those shapely legs. 

The pirate girl traded her short skirt for a gathered ankle length one, with a rather dodgy looking crochet heart to cover the gaping shirt. Buttons may have been easier….

And finally we have our centrepiece; she obviously forgot her shirt altogether so has covered up her shoulders and cleavage with a muslin wrap. Her full skirt has ribbon detail and a frothy underskirt of gold organza. 

Now of course, it would have been much easier to just sew a flat piece of fabric over them all, and much less time consuming. But where is the fun in that?! I tried to match the covering outfits to the existing ones and succeeded in most, bar the red tulle petticoat.

So there it is, my 1950’s Pin Up Girl Quilt. 

  I hope it is what the recipient was thinking of, and enjoys what I think is a bit of fun with the undressing 😉 Despite the massive rush it was worth it, and I enjoyed the creative part at the end. So onto the next one and that of course is going to be a whole new story!

But before you go…..

Here is the response….

Dear Anna,


The quilt and laundry bag are absolutely AMAZING I am absolutely in love with them, and they are an incredibly coveted item at the moment! 

I have shown them off to anyone showing the slightest interest because they are just so amazing! 

The attention to detail that you have put into the quilt, based on my request, leaves me quite short on words…that being said, I will push on and pass as much gratitude as I can.
All the images that you have used are by one of my most favourite pin-up artists…I lie…he’s my favourite. But you have done the impossible…you have actually made them better! The interactiveness of the quilt has provided much entertainment over the last few hours since receiving it (I received it in the post today, before we departed Abu Dhabi…which by the way, if you ever get the must visit….). 

I have come to the decision that I will keep the beautiful ladies of my quilt, modestly covered…the additions you have made are just awesome…and I feel that it would be a discredit to your artistic flair to remove them. They will serve as a constant reminder of where I was, the trials you went through, the obstacles you overcame…and the irony of such rules and regulations existing in a place where they love their belly dancing women to be quite provocatively dressed…but I digress… the quilt and laundry bag shall stay as they are!

I absolutely loved your letter and made a point of reading it before I viewed the quilt and laundry bag…it means so much to me.

This is my first deployment to the Middle East. I have been in the Navy for just over 14 years, and coming up here has been a goal the whole time…so not coming up here previously has not been through lack of trying!!! 

You see, I have been posted to all the ships that don’t normally venture up to this part of the world. I’ve lived all over the country…Originating from Adelaide, I started my journey in Melbourne at HMAS Cerberus, where we all begin our journey and was posted to HMAS Harman in Canberra. From there I was sent (with a weeks notice) all the way over to your part of the woods…Western Australia, where I served on HMAS Westralia. After I decommissioned her in 2005, I commissioned her replacement, HMAS Sirius and served on her for about two years before being sent all the way up to Darwin. I served up there for near on 3 years, patrolling the waters north of Australia. From there I was sent south to Sydney, the place I now call home. I have been there for about 7 years now…and served on three different classes of ship in that time. From the small Mine Hunters (HMAS Diamantina), to the Anzac class ships (HMA Ships Parramatta and Anzac) to now being deployed on HMAS Newcastle. It’s been a hectic 14 years…but been well worth every laugh, love and heartache.

Again Anna, thank you for all your effort. It certainly does not go unappreciated!

Hope to hear from you soon.
Warmest regards,

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  1. kiwikid

    Well done Anna, fantastic effort, I was chewing my nails reading your story!! Such a wonderful letter back too. Great reading thanks for sharing.

  2. Jo

    That's a fantastic story. All I could think of for it was Jessica out of Roger Rabbit. And that wouldn't have been suitable. Never thought about the rules. Good job well done.

  3. Robyn Hanstock

    Anna, you are a marvel! I would never have coped with that pressure, and you have, and succeeded so brilliantly, especially with your wonderfully creative way to keep it modest when necessary. I salute you.

  4. Sherry

    WOW! What a great job. And so lovely that your soldier was so pleased with it.


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