8 Advanced Cross Stitch Techniques

All sewers are familiar with cross-stitch. It is nothing but “X” shaped stitches that are used to fill embroidery designs. The stitches are counted horizontally or vertically to form a beautiful embroidery work of your choice. Cross stitch is mostly used in household linens, tablecloths,and doilies to add a touch of beauty. 

What Are the Advanced Cross Stitch Techniques? 

These are simple cross stitches that come with different variations. It can be used to form a cluster of stitches or to space out the cross-stitch. The various techniques include

  1. Spaced cross stitch
  2. Double cross stitch
  3. Double sided cross stitch
  4. Long armed cross stitch
  5. Herringbone cross stitch
  6. Double herringbone stitch
  7. Italian cross stitch
  8. Rice stitch 

How to Sew a Cross Stitch?

There are two ways in which cross stitch can be sewed – traditional style and Danish style. In both styles, you should first put two lines so that it is easier to stitch. 

 In the traditional style of cross stitch, first pull the thread from the bottom (A),  then take it diagonally across and push it down(B). Now place the needle underneath the cloth next to point A and below point B and pull it up(C). Now take the needle diagonally opposite C and pull it down (D). This will create an “X” stitch. 

In the Danish style of cross stitching, diagonal stitches are first put in a row to form half of the cross stitch. Once the line is done, the stitch is done diagonally opposite to form the other half of the stitch. This method helps finish the project fast if it is done in a straight line. But in the case of complex patterns, the Danish style can be difficult. 

How to Sew Advance Cross Stitches? 

Spaced cross stitch

This is similar to the normal cross-stitch, but the stitches are spaced out. You can space out the stitch either alternately or whichever way you want, depending on the pattern. Spaced cross stitch can also be used when you want to fill a cross stitch pattern with different colors. 

Double cross stitch

The double cross-stitch or Smyrna cross stitch is a filler stitch that comes with two more legs. This stitch has a horizontal and vertical stitch in addition to a cross-stitch. Thus a double cross stitch will have eight legs. 

A double cross stitch can be used to fill a flower or any pattern.

Double-sided cross stitch.

Just as the name suggests, this stitch will have cross stitches on both sides of the garment. First, make a half cross stitch in every alternate square in a row. This will leave a half cross stitch on the other side of the garment in reverse order. Once the row is done, you should sew the other half of the cross-stitch, which will automatically fill the crosses on the garment’s back. 

Now you can sew on the alternate square in the same way as before. This will fill up both sides of the garment with cross stitches. 

Long armed cross stitch

In this technique, one leg of the cross will be longer, which forms another stitch’s leg. To sew this stitch, first, divide the row into small squares. Now stitch one half cross. For the next half cross, pull the thread from the bottom and push it to the diagonally opposite point of the next square. This stretched leg becomes half cross of the next stitch. 

Herringbone cross stitch

This is similar to a cross-stitch, but the stitches are interconnected. First, pull out the needle through point A and push it through diagonally opposite point B. Now pull the needle through point C, which is close to point B. Ideally, point C should be midway between A and B. Now, push the needle to the diagonally opposite point D and pull the thread through E, which is close to D. This way, you can make interconnected cross stitches. 

Double Herringbone stitch

This is similar to the above-mentioned herringbone stitch. But one more herringbone stitch is put in the space between two stitches to create a fuller effect. Typically, double herringbone stitch is done with threads of two different colors. 

Italian Cross stitch

This stitch consists of a cross stitch with straight lines on two sides. When done in a row, the stitch looks like square boxes with cross stitches inside. 

To stitch Italian cross stitch, first draw a square. Then follow the below steps. 

  • Pull the thread through Point A and push it down through point B, which is opposite to Point A. This forms one side of the Italian cross-stitch. 
  • Pull the thread through Point A and push it down through point C, which is diagonally opposite point A. This forms one half of the cross-stitch. 
  • Pull the thread through Point A and push it down through point D, which is on the other side of point A. This forms the second side of the Italian cross-stitch. 
  • Pull the thread through point B and push it down through point D. This forms the second half of the cross-stitch.
  • Pull the thread through point B and continue the next set of stitches. 

Rice stitch

First a big cross stitch is done covering nine holes. Each of the four legs of the cross-stitch form part of four cross stitches. This stitch is typically done with threads of different colors to create the right effect. 

Rice stitch involves the following steps.

  • Create a cross stitch with points A,B,C, and D, where A and B are diagonally opposite. 
  • Pull the thread through point E, which is between A and D.
  • Push it down through point F, which lies between B and D. 
  • Pull the thread through G that lies between A and C.
  • Push it down through H, which is between B and C.
  • Pull the thread through E and push it through G
  • Pull the thread through F and push it down through H. 

Now the rice stitch is complete.

What to Consider While Undertaking Advanced Cross Stitch Technique?

  • Type of fabric

For a perfect finish, it is advisable to undertake cross stitch projects on special fabrics like Aida, fiddler’s cloth, or evenweave. Aida is 100% cotton and has a broad and open weave that makes the holes clearly visible. Thus, it is an excellent choice for beginners. Fiddler’s cloth is similar to Aida but comes with 50% cotton, 42% polyester, and 8% silk. Evenweave comes with square holes and has a higher thread count when compared to other types of fabrics. But since the material tends to fray off, you should sew the edges before starting the project. 

  • Preparing the thread

If you are cross stitching with metallic thread, there is a greater chance for the thread to get entangled. To prevent this, it is advisable to condition the thread before using it. This makes it easier to pull the thread. You should also leave the needle and thread loose in between the project so that it does not get twisted too much. 

Similarly, do not start the project with a long thread as it tends to get knots. The ideal measurement of the thread should be from the tip of your finger to the elbow.

  • Pulling the thread

While undertaking cross stitch, you should never pull the thread too tight or make it too loose. It should be pulled with the correct tension so that it lays flat on the fabric without spoiling its overall look. 

  • Using contrast colored threads

While undertaking cross-stitch technique involving multiple threads like double herringbone stitch and rice stitch, use threads of different colors. This not only makes it easy to sew but also provides a beautiful look to the final project. 

Cross stitching is a relaxing and fun-filled activity. By following the above tips, you get the best result.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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