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Embroidery vs Cross Stitch

Embroidery encompasses the art of decorating fabric. It is a great skill to have especially if you work in or love to sew. Embroidery skills allow you to create beautiful patterns on fabrics and the sewed work that you make. To perfect embroidery skills, you need to master the stitches to use. One of these stitches is the cross-stitch. It results in beautiful work. Because of this, many are confused between the cross stitch and embroidery.

What is the difference between embroidery and cross-stitch?

Embroidery is the art of decorating with needle and thread. It can be done by hand or machine. Cross stitch is a type of hand embroidery stitch that uses x-shaped stitches to form embroidery shapes on fabric.

Read on to understand more about embroidery and cross-stitch.

Types of embroidery

Machine embroidery

In machine embroidery, designs are made with embroidery computer software. Most embroidery machines come equipped with embroidery software. Once the design is made, the machine is then instructed to stitch it on availed fabric.

Machine embroidery is commonly used for large scale enterprises that need to print out logos and other designs on fabric. However, you can buy a home embroidery machine to make your own complicated and unique designs. Using embroidery software enables its users to store their designs and easily upload them when required. You can also stitch any image onto fabric easily with machine embroidery.

Stitches used in machine embroidery make it easy to control your final product. Link stitches are the most commonly used in machine embroidery. As such, you can stitch complicated embroidery patterns on a range of fabrics easily.

Hand embroidery

This is a manual embroidery technique. You use needles and special stitches to create embroidery on fabric. As opposed to machine embroidery, hand embroidery is not as fast. Further, you have a choice on the threads, stitches, and fabrics that you want to use.

The results of hand embroidery will differ depending on the person who does it. Hand embroidery requires expertise gained over time. For those who are not there yet, it is a skill one should practice consistently until they get better. A cross stitch is a common style of hand embroidery to create beautiful embroidered images on fabric.

Cross stitch

A cross stitch is a form of hand embroidery. It uses x-shaped stitches. This stitch is known as a cross-stitch. This stitch uses a tile pattern to create the intended image. The resulting images are more angular due to their tile or box shape. In addition to the cross-stitch, you also have back stitches and variations of the cross stitch to work with. This form of embroidery is used to form text on fabrics and framed artwork.

To complete a cross-stitch, you start by drawing out a pattern on the embroidery fabric. This form of cross-stitch is known as stamped cross stitch. This pattern then guides you on how to embroider, until you have the final product.

Counted cross stitch embroidery starts by counting stitches at the center of the fabric to be embroidered. This lets you know how big your x-shaped stitches will be as you make your embroidery patterns or images.

Embroidery is an art form with many components of which cross stitch is included. There are subtle differences based on the technique and skill of the person carrying out the embroidery. As a manual embroidery technique, you will need to repeat your process for every product you embroider with the cross-stitch. It, therefore, means it cannot be used for a large-scale embroidery operation.

Cross stitching is time-consuming, although it is quite easy to start and learn. All you need is your fabric, a hoop to hold your fabric, embroidery floss, and needles.


This is a form of embroidery that uses squares on fabrics to create embroidery designs. It uses a range of stitches and styles to form the design. It produces high-quality results when used on stiff and heavy fabrics. The result of needlepoint embroidery looks like it is woven while it is stitched. This is because the yarn is the thread used for needlepoint embroidery.

Crewel embroidery

Crewel embroidery is a highly textured hand embroidery. It uses wool threads to create unique and appealing embroidery designs. It uses all the stitches that are used in hand embroidery.

Pulled thread embroidery

This is a unique embroidery style. It involves pulling the sewing thread tight wherever it is stitching to create a hole in the fabric. The tighter the thread is pulled, the larger the hole it forms. It uses a thread that is similar to the fabric that the embroidery is taking place on. This makes sure that the thread remains invisible and the resulting pattern of holes remains pronounced on the fabric.

Cutwork embroidery

This is an embroidery technique that involves cutting out shapes on fabric then sewing stitches around them.

There are many other forms of embroidery that one can use to make their fabrics beautiful. They fall into different categories of embroidery, depending on the technique used for the embroidery.

Factors to consider when choosing the type of embroidery to use

Type of fabric you are using

When choosing the type of embroidery to use, you need to consider the fabric you will be embroidering. Cross stitch embroidery produces good results when done on woven fabric. Machine embroidery on the other hand is suitable for a range of fabrics. Different fabrics also need different threads to embroider. The fabric you need to embroider should be firm enough to hold the embroidery design as required.

Style and colors

When embroidering, consider the colors and style of the fabric you want to design. This will determine the color of the thread that you use to embroider. If you have a dark fabric or garment to embroider, a brightly colored embroidery design will suffice. Style and color will also determine the kind of finish that you will have on your embroidery design.


Depending on the skill you have, you will prefer the embroidery technique that you are comfortable with. If you are a skilled hand embroider, you will choose to go with what you know. If you are used to machine embroidery that is the type of embroidery that you will prefer most. If your client requires embroidery services, you can outsource the task if you do not have the required skill.

The scale of the embroidery task

If you have a large-scale embroidery task, it would be difficult to opt for hand embroidery. The best option to embroider on a large scale is the use of machine embroidery. For a single piece, hand embroidery is cheaper and the best option for embroidery.

Purpose of embroidery

Embellish fabrics

The main purpose of embroidery is to make fabric and garments beautiful. Embroidery adds color and appeal to plain fabrics and garments. It makes them appealing and easy on the eyes.

Offer identity

Embroidery helps to foster a common identity. This often takes place when logos are printed on clothes to make a uniform. This could be a sports team or an office team.

To create art

Many hand embroidery patterns are made as art. Hand embroidery can be done on plain fabrics to create small and large art objects. Beautiful images can be transferred to fabric with machine embroidery and framed to be hanged in offices and at home.

Status symbol

There are some symbols or prints when embroidered on clothes are a sign of wealth or status in society.


Messages can be passed to the community from embroidery. With machine embroidery, it is easy to turn any image into an embroidery design that can be affixed onto a piece of fabric or garment. You can also embroider text on clothes to pass a message.

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