4 Differences Between Embroidery and Cross Stitch

If you are also looking for an answer to embroidery vs. cross stitch, here is a great deal for everyone who loves sewing.

The simplest answer to this question is that they are not the same. In short, embroidery is one of the popular and oldest forms of needlework; meanwhile, cross stitch is an easy-to-learn thread craft.

Whate are Differences Between Embroidery and Cross Stitch?

1. Purpose

You already know that embroidery is related to craft works to decorate your fabrics with other types of materials done by needle or thread. Meanwhile, cross stitch is an exclusive kind of embroidery technique where the embroiderer should use X-shaped stitches to create the design or pattern on the fabric.

2. Stitches

You should focus on using the proper X-shaped stitches and other stitches like running stitch, chain stitch; blanket stitch should be used in embroidery in cross stitch.

3. Fabric

Another difference in embroidery vs. cross stitch is the fabric type. You will require woven fabrics for cross stitching, while for embroidery works, you can use various fabrics. The fabrics are not the same for both, and the choice of fabric is important. You can also use Linen or Aida fabrics for cross stitch and others like Linen, cotton, waste canvas, silk, and more for embroidery.

Select the fabric that matches your craft. Then, depending on the project, you should select the fabric.

4. Needles

Both the cross-stitch and embroidery require different needles to complete the sewing project. There are some types of needles that you will require for both embroidery and cross-stitching projects.

Without the appropriate needle, you can get an accurate effect on your project. The needle’s size, tip, and eye matter the most whether you are using embroidery or cross-stitch.

For needle tips, cross stitch needles have blunt and round ends. Meanwhile, the embroidery needles have sharp tips, and for the size of the needle, the right one is necessary. You need a large needle in cross-stitching, and in embroidery, you need a small one.

What is Embroidery?

Starting with embroidery, it is the art to decorate some piece of material with the help of thread and needle. It is a broad term used to refer to the distinct fabric technique that you can use to decorate the fabric.

It includes the use of distinct types of stitches and embellishing beads or petals to create a beautiful design. Some other elements used in embroidery are sequins, quills, yarn, and more.

You can make embroidery designs using embroidery machines or either by hand. Hand embroidery can be used with a wider selection of fabrics and allows you with more exclusive designs.

The hand embroidery designs are exclusive works of art that carry the personal touch and design of the designer. Numerous embroidery works are there, like crewelwork, drawn thread embroidery, needlepoint, stumpwork, and more.

Several different knots and stitches can be combined to create designs and patterns. As you will see, embroidery relies on just one stitch over the entire project.

It is needlework that is nowadays on top of fashionable garments. You can follow a particular pattern with embroidery on your sewing project, but hand embroidery doesn’t use counting or graph stitches.

Instead, you can use some common stitches: french knot, lazy daisy, backstitch, herringbone stitch, satin stitch, and more. While blending all together, it is easier to get with hand embroidery as only some long or short stitches are required to combine the colors all together.

There are 3-dimensional stitches as well, like the cast-on stitch, herringbone stitch, and pinwheel rose.

Meanwhile, machine embroidery involves embroidery or an automatic sewing machine that creates various patterns and designs on your fabric.

Machine embroidery is convenient and time-saving than hand embroidery work, but hand embroidery allows you to use more creativity and techniques.

What is Cross Stitch?

Cross stitch is the form of hand embroidery that uses conforms and X-shaped stitches to the tiled pattern. It is one of the oldest forms of hand embroidery.

It has become famous in recent years, and that’s for a good reason. It is an ideal choice for beginner needleworkers for some reasons.

The first reason is that cross stitch uses the basic X-shaped stitch, which is the simplest stitch pattern to learn. It can be used to create the piece of cross stitch art, and you need not learn distinct stitch methods, to begin with.

The second reason why cross stitch is popular for beginners is that it is the form of counted thread embroidery and uses the tiled pattern. While working with cross-stitch, you can use the pre-planned design stamped onto the selected fabric and follows the colors cross stitch pattern.

As cross stitch uses a tiled pattern, its design often appears to be angular and boxy. Nonetheless, it can be used to create captivating intricate designs and is often used to embroidery slogans or words over the fabric.

One can do cross stitching on woven fabrics with a grid system of holes where the colored thread should go. The commonly used fabric in cross-stitching for beginners is cotton fabric, Jobelan, and Lugana fabrics as well.

However, cross stitch uses embroidery thread, but only two or three out of the six strands are necessary. The end product often lays flat over the fabric compared to other types of needlework with higher textures.

One can use the primary stitch in cross-stitch: the full stitch – X-shaped, half stitch – the diagonal line, quarter stitch – half of a half stitch, three-quarters stitch – three-quarters of a half stitch, back stitch – a straight line stitch, and more.

These are some of the primary stitches used for cross stitching and can be varied in various ways to create a wide range of designs and patterns.

When it arrives at stamped cross stitch, you get the option to print the pattern on the fabric and then use the pattern as the guide to come up with the final design. With the counted cross stitch, you need to start from the center to develop the final design.

Keep in mind that fabrics you will use should have a similar number of threads both vertically and horizontally, and this is to get even stitches on your cross stitch design. Often, embroiders prefer cross stitch to create various decorative items like cushions, wall hangers, bookmarks, and coasters.

What Are 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.

How to Choose 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.

What Is Embroidery Used For?

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.

What Are The Three Types of Embroidery Needle?

The right needle will break or make your design as per the embroidery style, floss, and fabric you will use for embroidery work. It is essential to choose a good quality needle; the better the needle is, the more beautiful and easier your finished embroidery project would be. The lower quality or less expensive embroidery needles can break or bend as they are used, resulting in entirely damaged or crooked embroidery projects.

Three types of needles are there to make your fabric look embellishing with embroidery, including the embroidery/crewel needle, chenille needle, and tapestry needle.

Needles used for embroidery are thinner, and these three are long and have sharp points to move easily via the embroidery fabric. These needles also have a large eye that can be threaded with the floss you desire. Chenille needles have sharp tips and larger or thicker eyes than embroidery needles. They work on similar fabrics as embroidery needles do. Tapestry needles, however, have a larger eye, but a blunt point that works well with counted cross stitch or canvas work on Aida fabric.

All these three needles arrive in various sizes, where the higher the number, the smaller and thinner is the needle. Depending on the size of floss, the correct needle size can be used to create an appropriate stitch, leaving the minimum size hole in the fabric.

Can You Embroider On A Cross Stitch Fabric?

Well, you cannot use all types of fabrics for both cross stitch and embroidery works. But, if you will use some fabrics that can be flexible for both, then you can get the availability to apply the embroidery on cross-stitch fabric. One such fabric is Aida fabric. So, always be careful while getting the fabric for your embroidery projects.

What is The Best Fabric To Embroider On?

So, for this question, let us tell you that there are various fabrics you can get from the market to choose from for your embroidery works. From our point of view, you can go for Aids, Linen, Waste Canvas, Fiddler, Silk, Cotton, and Klostern fabrics for embroidery projects.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *