Stitch a Sweet Boat Design for Summer

The hand-stitched boat is shown here on the “Taylor” pattern from Children’s Corner.

When our Martha Pullen Internet Embroidery team designed the 2014 “Heirloom Baby Designs” collection, we knew we had to share a hand-stitched version of this darling little boat with our readers, too. In this tutorial, also featured in our June/July 2014 issue of Sew Beautiful magazine, Cyndi Manson May shows you how to use shadow embroidery techniques to create a sweet and simple version of the design by hand. It’s perfect to stitch on a romper for a little one to wear to a play date or backyard barbecue this summer!

What you’ll need…

  • Romper pattern
  • Embroidery design
    • Template/instructions for hand embroidery provided in this blog post
    • Machine embroidery version is included in the “Heirloom Baby Designs” Collection from Martha Pullen Company’s 2014 Internet Embroidery Club
  • Fabric
    • 1 yard of blue pique from Fabric Finders, for suit
    • 1 yard of white batiste, for lining
  •  Threads
    • DMC Floche Embroidery Cotton
      • #321 red
      • #3325 lt baby blue
      • #799 med delft blue
  •  Needles
    • #7 between (shadow work)
    • #10 sharps (granitos)
  • Notions
    • Cording for piping 1/4-inch-wide elastic
    • Two 1/2-inch covered buttons
    • Three snaps
    • Small hands-free hoop
    • Fine-point blue water-soluble marker
    • Embroidery scissors

Embroidery template

How to prepare…

1. Pin romper front pattern piece to blue fabric and trace off using a wash-away marking pen.

2. Transfer all markings and remove pattern piece.

3. Measure down 1 inch from marked center front neckline and mark for embroidery design (fig. 1).

4. Trace embroidery design onto romper using wash-away marking pen.

5. Pin romper back pattern piece to main and lining fabrics. Cut out according to cutting layout guide in pattern instructions.

How to embroider…


1. Shadow stitch stars using #799 (med delft blue). Beginning at center, start shape of diamond forming a “V” (fig. 2).

2. Complete all diamond sections within star with shadow stitch. Make sure to share holes as you stitch.


1. Work portholes on boat in granito stitch with #3325 (lt baby blue) (fig. 3).

2. Stitch water line using #3325 (lt baby blue) in a shadow stitch (fig. 4).

3. Next stitch flagpole in a shadow stitch using #3325 (lt baby blue) (fig. 5).

4. Work flag and base of boat with #321 (red) using a shadow stitch (fig. 6).

5. Complete design with #799 (med delft blue) stitching top section of boat in a shadow stitch.

Tip: When beginning a granito, pierce only a few fibers with needle. This will make your granitos more round.


6. Place front romper pattern over previous tracings to ensure proper tracing. Adjust if necessary.

7. Cut out romper front.

8. Follow instructions in pattern for romper construction.

Cyndi Manson May is a former editor of Sew Beautiful magazine. She first heard of Sew Beautiful in 1993, when she was introduced to smocking by hand. She was 13 years old and fell in love with this form of handwork. After perfecting her smocking skills, she was inspired by the French heirloom garments in the pages of Sew Beautiful to learn the art of heirloom sewing. She made her Sew Beautiful debut in the spring issue of March/April 1997 when she was featured as a “Promising Young Designer.” She holds a BA in fashion design and product development from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

Find more sewing patterns, tips and endless inspiration in back issues of Sew Beautiful and Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazines! Here are a few of our favorite picks for summer sewing ideas:

Ring in summer with the bright and fun projects found in the June/July 2014 issue of Sew Beautiful! From rompers to sweet little dresses and more, you will have no trouble filling your time with all these fun projects.

Get ready for summer with the sensational summer patterns and more explored in the July/August 2011 issue of Sew Beautiful. This one is sure to be one of your go-to guides for summer sewing.

The May/June 2011 issue of Sew Beautiful is filled with red, white and blue sewing projects! Uncover 45 cool ideas for hot summer sewing, a girls sailor sundress pattern and more.


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