18 Cross Stitch Tips for Large Projects

Cross stitching is a traditional way of making decorative stitches. But it maintains its functional and aesthetic aspects.

You can cross stitch on fabric as part of small projects. So, it could be to stitch two pieces of fabric together or for decoration.

Cross stitches are possible on large projects. You can accomplish it by hand or machine.

If you have a digital embroidery machine, it could work. However, ensure that the format matches those of your pattern.

Tips for Cross Stitching Large Projects

If you are handling large projects, this will need a few tips and tricks here and there. Not everyone applies them.

But for a successful project, these would come in handy. You will save time, achieve neatness and precision.

Your Materials

These are necessary for any stitching task. You will learn below a few things to do to make your material assembly better.

1. Pick the Right Pattern You Need to Replicate

It will be useless to begin a large cross-stitching project without a ready pattern. You can have an online photo of it or a printout.

The pattern gives a rough idea of the size of the actual design. At this point, you can decide on the best colors to settle on.

2. Be Discreet About the Choice of Fabric

Fabrics for cross stitching exist in many colors, count sizes, and textures. Thus, you can opt for a count size of 14 to 18 if you want a large piece. It is excellent for framing.

Nevertheless, others choose 28 counts or over and do half stitches. It can sound odd, but in the end, it gives full coverage. If you can’t have fabric that is big enough from your collection, you can order online.

3. Have Border Space

While ordering material for a large cross stitch project, the excess will be better. You will need to have a border of not less than 3″ all around.

That’s because it allows framing in the future or caters for frays.

4. Get All the Thread You Need Beforehand

Pick all the threads you must have in advance. If you are working with some expert designers, they can give the stitch count.

In short, it helps to estimate the number of floss skeins you will need for each color. If you have no way to estimate the quantity of thread you need, ensure you order more.

Also, having extra allows you to have enough thread of the same color. It allows you to complete your project without changing shades.

Some manufacturers don’t manufacture the initial colors with time. Thus, it will save you the agony of undoing your progress.

Preparation of the Fabric

Before commencing, you will want to prepare your fabric. Long cross stitch projects can go up to a year or over.

Thus, you can’t escape fraying. This section helps you to know how to counter such situations.

5. Sew the Fabric Border

If you can access a sewing machine, it will be better to sew the fabric borders. Sew an excellent zigzag stitch all around.

6. Get Store-Bought Anti-Fraying Products

Some fabric shops stock anti-fraying products such as fray check. These products stiffen your fabric edges, which helps prevent fraying.

7. Tape the Edges

If the two aren’t options you can take, tape the edges of the whole fabric. Use painter’s tape or masking tape.

But, the tape leaves a sticky-like residue. Once you complete the cross stitching project, you might want to get rid of the edges.

Hence, it is essential to have extra inches along the border.

8. Grid the Fabric

For pro tailors or designers, this might not be a necessary skill. If you are a novice or amateur, you might consider it.

Moreover, it helps you prevent miscounting and undoing your progress. The benefit of gridding fabric is that it ensures that you have at least enough fabric.

Mark ten by ten grids on the fabric. They should be those you can track and follow along with the pattern.

Use pre-gridded Aida that you can obtain from local stores. A common one is the Magic Guide, available in a 14 count size. But it doesn’t exceed 14 inches by 18 inches.

Other fabric types are washable, and the grids will fade away after stitching.

9. Get More Accessible Fabric Pens

Fabric pens are the easiest to get in stores. Once you make your grids and stitch, you can wash the fabric.

What’s more, the grids will fade, and you will be good to go.

10. Use Thread in Bold Colors for Gridding

Another method of gridding is to use a thread of bold color to stitch the grids. Nevertheless, some people use fishing lines.

These are very easy to pull out after you complete the cross-stitching project.

The Stitching Process

After taking care of all the edges and gridding the fabric, you will be ready to stitch. There is a lot more to decide on before actual cross-stitching.

11. Start From the Upper Right or Upper Left

Most cross-stitching for large projects should start at the upper right or the upper left. The upper right is favorable for left-handed people.

Most of the large cross stitch patterns come in many pages. Some people prefer beginning from the first page, or anywhere they are comfortable.

12. The Starting Style Is Your Preference

Starting to stitch using the standard methods can be awkward. That’s because of the extra fabric you have.

Thus, you can use a Q-snap for better results. It allows you to maintain the tension.

As a result, you will avoid having your perfect square turn into a parallelogram.

Q-snaps are cheaper and won’t leave any ugly ring dots or marks on your fabric. Use hoop cozies to maintain the cleanliness of the frame.

They also allow you to tuck the excess fabric. Those stitching with both hands can get scroll frames.

13. You Can Choose the Parking Style

It is challenging to explain the parking style when cross-stitching large projects. That’s because there are so many variations that exist.

In simple terms, the parking style means stitching a section or row at a time and, after that, leaving the thread on your next stitch.

Avoid working on the ten by ten rows as it leaves the grooves showing on the fabric. If you have done this and there is grooving, it might get better after washing and ironing.

Others choose to follow clumps of color until they complete a specific color. Doing this makes the stitches appear more natural.

Moreover, it also prevents the formation of grooves.

14. The Cross Country Method Can Do

The cross-country cross-stitching method means making all stitches of one color.

You have to complete it before moving to another. Besides, you can choose to start with the most (or least) colors.

15. If Everything Fails, Go Chaotic

Chaotic isn’t a stitching style, but it is what most people do. Here, stitches begin from the left or right upper corner.

However, it will depend on the hand you are using to sew. So, start with the most color in that area and stitch.

Besides, you can do it until you exhaust your thread. Some people do it until they reach the next stitch.

Nevertheless, you can pick another color to continue with within the same area. Some people go with any color that draws their fancy.

In short, it should be near to the area with ready stitches.

16. Set Small Goals

Large cross-stitching projects can be hectic. It is possible to postpone one for months or years.

Thus, set small stitching goals for yourself. As a result, you might gain more motivation when you achieve small victories.

Most tailors do get the rush of thrill when they finish a project. Thus, small goal setting will help.

What’s more, you can decide to work on a page only or complete one color. The intention is to keep your stitching morale up so that you can make progress.

17. Learn to Share Your Progress

You could be in a sewing club or online group where people share their work. Do the same to a sizable cross-stitching project you are starting.

All large projects have their boring bits. Thus, sharing your stitching work on social media allows you to motivate those who see it.

Consequently, the congratulatory messages will make you want to make more progress. You can get other online friends who are working on other large cross-stitching projects.

Follow them as you might learn more insights and tips from them. You will be more motivated to keep up with their pace.

However, don’t rush as you could ruin the project.

18. A Few Interruptions Won’t Hurt

If you don’t have enough focus, take some breaks. Interrupting large projects with small breaks allows you to break the monotony.

In short, finishing a small project will boost your morale. Besides, you will have the urge to work harder towards completing the larger project.

Others start two or more large cross-stitching projects at a go and alternate between them. The rotation can be weekly, monthly, or as you plan the move to another one.

In the end, you have to make progress towards completing the large cross-stitching project.



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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