How to Cross-Stitch Multiple Rows

Mastering the cross-stitch is right at the top of every sewing enthusiast’s wishlist. From a series of simple X-shaped stitches, you can come up with beautiful patterns such as letters, full words, and shapes. It’s easy enough to create a single row of cross-stitches but adding more rows might be a bit daunting at the beginning. How would you cross-stitch multiple rows without breaking into a sweat as a beginner?

How to Cross-Stitch Multiple Rows

You need multiple rows that are also well spaced out, counted and have good transitions to make a good pattern when cross-stitching. The trick to making neat rows with a simple cross-stitch is to master the transition and do it with an invisible stitch at the back of the fabric. Start each row with a series of half-stitches and then loop back to complete your X before making a vertical stitch to the next row.

Steps to Cross-Stitch Multiple Rows


Anyone with basic hand-stitching skills can make a single row of cross-stitches and do a very neat job while at it. They just need to know what an X pattern would look like and how to transition from one X stitch to another until they get to the end of the fabric or guideline. 

However, making a single row of cross-stitches isnt useful and would count for nothing. It is by learning how to count, measure, combine several rows, change direction and overlap multiple rows that you can make something useful.

Still struggling with cross-stitching multiple patterns? Are your transitions all messed up or getting entangled? Follow these easy to follow steps to make as many rows of cross-stitches as you need to achieve your desired pattern:

Step 1 – It Starts with A Single Row 


If your leading row is done right, you will have an easier time replicating it and matching the positions for all the other rows. A multiple row pattern starts with a single row, done with absolute precision and to the right spot. 

Most people have their own way of creating that perfect row of X patterns but beginners might find it easier to start with simple half stitches before completing the X pattern and transitioning to the next row. 

The unfinished row (with half-stiches) looks like a wavy line with the thread going into the fabric and coming out through the back and looping back. You can track back and cross each loop to form a complete X before you can think about adding another row of stitches.  There are some advantages to making your rows this way with the obvious being that you can easily undo or correct a series of half stitches as opposed to a complete X stitch.

Step 2 – Moving to The Next Row


We have completed one row of cross-stitches and ended up on one side. Depending on the shape you want to make, you’ll need a way to move to the next row without interfering with you design. Remember cross-stitch designs have to be purely made up of X -shaped stitches next to each other and counted to the last bit. Therefore, any other connecting stitch has to be done at the back of the fabric. 

You can cross over to another row of stitches by making a straight stitch to the starting point of the next cross-stich. However, this interconnecting stitch has to be done at the back of the fabric and should not be too tight otherwise it might show at the top. Ideally you should not have to make a connecting stitch that is longer than an inch. If you find yourself having to make such a tradeoff, it’s better complete the current row, secure it and cut the thread before starting the next row.

Using an interconnecting running stitch to add a new row is a lazy method for multiple-row cross-tithing. This is because running stitches introduce a point of weakness in your design and could easily become undone after a few washes. 

Experienced designers are able to make multiple rows of cross-stitches with pure X-shaped transitions. This means the last exit point after completing a row leads directly to the next entry point for the adjacent row. Of course, this can only work if the rows are adjacent and close enough to each other (say, ¼ an inch or less) and you are able to count your stitches to precision. You can also introduce an auxiliary cross stitch in between rows to connect them if your design allows it. 

 That said, you don’t have to stress over your cross-stitch transitions as a beginner. You can try the easy way at first as you practice and learn to measure every stitch to perfection. With time, you will be able to create complicated cross-stitch patterns without having to cut your thread to start a new row or pattern. As with everything, practice makes perfect in cross-stitching 

Create A Simple Pattern with Multiple Row Cross-Stitch


To demonstrate how you would use multiple-row cross-stitches, let’s try and make the letter “F” using a series of cross-stitches complete with transitions and measurements where needed.

Step 1 – Measurements 

We’ll start with two adjacent horizontal rows each measuring 3 inches in length which should take a maximum of 9 cross-stitches. Then we will proceed with two adjacent vertical rows measuring 2 inches that should not take more than 7 stitches before branching to the right with two more horizontal rows each measuring 3 inches in length. We will then do a lazy transition back to the vertical line and proceed with two more adjacent vertical rows each measuring 2 inches with the same number of cross-stitches as the previous one.

Step 2 – Create You First Two Rows

Start from the right side and create a series of half stitches to the left until you get to the 3-inch mark the transition to the next horizontal row and repeat the same. Once you get to the beginning of the previous row, transition to the opposite entry point and do a diagonal crossing over the first half stitch to create a complete cross-stitch. Now repeat the same for the rest of them until you reach the end Now secure the stitch. Cut the thread and do the same for the adjacent half stitched row.

Step 3 – Complete the Other Rows


Having completed the top horizontal rows, you should end up on the left side where we can transition directly. Don’t worry if yours ended on the opposite side, you can still secure the thread and start your vertical rows or do a lazy transition stitch through the back to the starting point. 

You have probably mastered the cross-stitch pattern and transition by now so there is no need to repeat the same steps for the next rows. Repeat the same stitching and transitioning methods used earlier to create two vertical rows, two more horizontal rows to the right and two more vertical rows to complete the “F” pattern. 

Congratulations if you successfully created your pattern! Keep practicing and start designing even more complex patterns with precise measurements. You can even create a complete embroidery with the simple cross-stitch after you have mastered it.

Related Questions

Do You Cross Stitch from Top to Bottom?

This depends on the method you decide to adopt and what you find convenient. Using the first method, you will create the bottom part with a half stitch and then complete the top part with a return half-stitch. This method is commonly taught in American sewing courses. The other approach is to create the top half and complete the bottom one with a return half-stitch also known as the British method. It’s good to learn both methods and use them where it’s convenient.

What Is the Parking Method in Cross Stitch?

Parking is an advanced cross-stitching technique where no gap is left between rows and even between individual cross-stitches. This requires some skill and precision to know how to transition from one row to another with a complete cross-stitch. That said, not all patterns require parking especially if the thread used is thick.



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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