Summertime Fun! Embroidered Picnic Dress

July 11, 2018By Janice FergusonDIY, Embroidery, Garment 16 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Summer Picnic Dress

Kite flying, picnics, family reunion, and Labor Day celebrations are just a few of the occasions for which this cool and comfortable summer picnic dress can fill the bill. Construct your own white dress or purchase a “blank” with drawn thread work at the hemline. Embellishments include the embroidery, of course, but also contrasting topstitching. This can be done easily and accurately with the use of the camera on THE Dream Machine. Ribbon 1/8” wide was woven through the drawn thread work, adding color to the bottom of the white skirt. The white buttons on the back were replaced with red hearts.


  • Garment: Purchased white embroidery blank dress with two rows of drawn thread work

Summer Picnic Dress

  • Or DIY Simplicity #1184, View E could be used. For the insertion of ribbon beading inserted at the hemline would render a similar look.
Disclaimer: Simplicity pattern #1184 is part of the Simplicity Creative Group. Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such products.

Summer Picnic Dress

  • Notions: Spray adhesive, *embroidery thread, *#90 needle and red 12 wt. thread for topstitching, monofilament for securing bows in place, *red and blue 1/8” ribbon to weave through drawn thread work or beading. Tapestry needle, bodkin or small brass safety pin for weaving ribbon.
Note: Measure skirt for amount needed for chosen size and add 18”
Note: The design will fit in the 4×4 frame but if you add a basting frame you will need to go up to your next larger frame.

Summer Picnic Dress

Note: It is always wise to select the ribbon first. It is easier to coordinate the thread which comes in countless numbers to coordinate with the ribbon, which has a more limited selection.



  1. Mark the center front of the bodice for design placement.
Note: It’s always helpful to print a template in PE-Design so you can place your design exactly where you want it.
  1. Open the design in your machine and add a basting frame. Hoop tearaway stabilizer in the appropriate hoop. You will need to baste the dress bodice to the stabilizer.
  2. Apply spray adhesive to the stabilizer and center the marked bodice in place.
Note: It is easier to embroider with the dress turned inside out. Take care to keep the rest of the bodice front and back away from the embroidery area.

Summer Picnic Dress


  1. Thread #90 needle with #12 or other heavy weight red thread. Insert bobbin wound with red thread. #50 wt. works well.
  2. Remove accessory box to access free arm. Attach Stitch in the Ditch foot.

Summer Picnic Dress

  1. Engage camera feature. Move needle position to line up with previous stitching line at neckline. Reduce the machine speed and attach the knee lift. Use of these features will help you stitch precisely on top of the existing stitching.

Summer Picnic Dress

  1. Topstitch around neckline and armscyes with red thread.
Note: As noted in the supply list, I had best success with a heavy 12 wt. thread in a #90 needle. 50 wt. thread was used in the bobbin.

Summer Picnic Dress

  1. Attach small brass safety pin to measured length of red ribbon equal to the circumference of the skirt + at least 12”. Weave over and under center thread of drawn thread work.

Summer Picnic Dress

  1. Repeat with blue ribbon.

Summer Picnic Dress

  1. Tie 2 bows, staggered at front a few inches from the side seam. After tying bow, stitch through knot with monofilament thread to hold bow knotted and in place. Try to catch a stitch or two in the fabric instead of the open sections of the drawn thread work.

Summer Picnic Dress

  1. Replace utility white buttons with red buttons.
  2. Pull out the kites and head for the beach. She will be adorable.


  • I love this little dress. It looks so crisp and fresh and is perfect for the 4th of July or any summer occasion.

    • Jeannette, “crisp” is the perfect description for this linen cotton dress. With the whimsical kite embroidery it would steal the show at a summer celebration. Thanks for your comment.

    • Carol, I would have loved one like this too! Are we too old for kites? I think my grandchildren would be entertained by their Nana wearing such a dress. Hmmmmm…I’ll check the available sizes.

  • This is such a cute summer dress and one that looks doable even for me! The extra touches like the topstitching around the neck and sleeves and the added ribbon make it very special! That camera feature on the Dream Machine is very appealing :). Thank you, Janice, for the inspiration and encouragement that a simple dress can be fancy with some special features!

    • Donna, thanks for noticing the topstitching. I think that feature adds a welcome finishing touch to the dress. With Brother’s Stitch in the Ditch foot perfect spacing from the edge is possible. I use that foot a lot! Thanks for your kind comment, Donna. Happy sewing!

  • This is so cute! The subtle patriotic theme makes it wearable year round, and beautifully understated for the summer holiday. I really enjoyed this idea and feel like in many ways, it’s getting back to basics – in the very best way.

    • Thanks for your insightful comment, Rebecca. This design and the dress are appropriate year round. A shirt could be worn under the dress and kites are suitable from windy March days through the fall. I just love this design.

    • Thank you, Terri. The drawn thread work seemed to be a perfect sort of beading and a way to add color to the bottom of the dress. The topstitching is one of my favorite features of this dress. I appreciate your comment.

  • OMG! I purchased that dress two years ago and did not know what to do with it.
    The dress is beautiful.
    Thank you Janice! You are the best.

    • Well, Cristina, I am happy to know this dress gave you inspiration for your own sweet “blank” dress. I know you will do something wonderful with it! Thank you for your sweet words.

  • This dress is so sweet. The ribbons and embroidery are precious. i can’t wait to make this! I love your step by step instructions. You make hard projects so easy!!

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