Under the Sea



This dress is just breathtaking.  Judy Day has been working on it for more than six months–well, on and off for six months, as she dealt with other must-do’s that popped up.  This is her granddaughter’s 6th birthday dress and Kennedy is just as lovely as the dress!

I’ll let Judy tell you about it.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I made this dress for Kennedy’s birthday.  She has been crazy about fish from day one.  When I saw a picture of a similar dress on Martha Pullen’s weekly e-letter last year, after her event in Arlington, I just knew Kennedy would love it.

The planning took more time than the actual embroidery.  I tried several different fabrics for the dress overlay.  Of course, Swiss batiste would have been perfect if it did not require a lot of starch and pressing.  So I decided on a sheer poly fabric for the easy care.  I ordered several different ones from www.fabric.com

I knew the underdress would be Imperial broadcloth.  I searched my stash and did not find a blue that would work.  When an overlay is put over a color fabric, the color must be a bright, clear color or it looks muddy.  I ordered 4 yds.of 4 different bue fabrics from Baltazor Fabric Boutique www.baltazor.com ….one can never have too many blues in their stash!


under the sea overlay


Baltazor’s has wonderful customer service.  They only had 3 of the blues, so they picked another and then included a 5th at no charge!  It was one of the fabrics they chose that was perfect.  The color was clear and bright even with the overlay.  The overlay gives the dress depth so that some of  the fish look as if they are swimming in the distance.

The dress pattern is Children’s Corner Margaret www.childrenscornerstore.com I  used this pattern for my girls 30 years ago and it is still one of my favorites.  It looks good on every age group and body type.   The waist of the dress was smocked with 3 row of the 4 step trellis stitch to give the look of ocean waves.  Since I wanted the skirt to be the focus, I left the bodice plain, to which Kennedy asked why it did not have her monogram on it.  Maybe I monogram too much!




I treated the bodice pieces and sleeve pieces of the under dress and the overlay as one piece during construction.  The skirt pieces were made and hemmed separately.  The scalloped hem (like ocean waves) of the overlay was stitched with a wing needle using the heirloom hemstitch.  Construction of the dress was done on my Babylock Ellisimo.

TECHNIQUE:  The neck, waist and sleeves are accented with non-traditional piping.  To make the piping, I cut the bias pieces, folded them in half and pressed.  I set my BabyLock Evolution Serger for a rolled hem.  I did the rolled hem over this pressed edge using a Signature blue variegated thread.

I inserted this “piping” in the seams as if it were traditional piping (cord covered with fabric.)  This gave definition to these areas without taking away from the skirt.


no fishing


The embroidery on the skirt was done after the two pieces of the skirt were attached at the waist.  I put the embroidery designs together in Designer’s Gallery Custom Works.  I then printed template, trimmed around the designs and pinned them to the overlay and the underskirt.  After adjusting and moving the design templates around on the dress, I was ready to embroider.I used the largest hoop (7 3/4″ x 11 3/4″) on my Babylock BMP8 and re-hooped 13 times to get both skirts embroidered.





The designs came from Amazing Designs, Babylock, Dakota Collectibles, Cactus Punch, Anita Goodesign, Embroidery Library, Martha Pullen and OESD.  I embellished the treasure chest with metallic  thread and “diamonds, sapphires and emeralds,” aka Swarovski crystals.

Kennedy loves the dress and I enjoyed making it, knowing it would become a favorite.  This t ime, I did not have to mail it and wonder about the look on her face when she saw it as I took it to her.  I loved just standing back and watching her show off her new dress at church and at the dance recital…..I don’t get to do this very often.

After a quick look, she would raise up the overlay to show off her treasure chest of “diamonds.”  Maybe I should have put that on the top skirt.”

What a keepsake, Judy.  Kennedy will remember this dress forever.  You’ve really outdone yourself this time.  Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

One response to “Under the Sea

  1. OMGoodness! I love this dress and all the descriptions of how it was made and how Kennedy loves it! This is why we sew! Every once in a while we get to make something that we know will be treasured forever. What a gift! Kennedy is a lucky little girl! Thank you for sharing your friend Judy’s creations with us as well as your own. You are both so inspiring!

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