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How to Cross Stitch on Fabric

When you are a beginner who admires finished cross-stitched work, you may have no idea where to start. A finished cross-stitch may look so complicated, but the process is relatively easy.

You will only need to learn how to make your first stitch, a small X stitch, hence the name ‘cross.’ In short, you create a tiny cross stitch by making two diagonal stitches that overlap to make an X shape.

How to Cross Stitch on Fabric?

Cross stitching is one of the most accessible forms of hand embroidery to learn. You will not need to buy big machines or complicated tools to get started.

Moreover, it’s easy to learn how to cross stitch as a beginner. Every cross stitch has only two tiny stitches, making it easy to master.

You create this stitch on a gridded fabric by making tiny stitches that resemble an X shape.

Preparing to Cross Stitch

There are two types of cross-stitch, and there are two ways to make them. One way is to do one complete stitch at a time.

Another way is to do many half diagonal stitches and finish the crosses on the way back.

Either of the two ways is great, but the second one seems to be faster. Nevertheless, you can use any one of the styles that will be easier for you.

One trick to always remember about cross stitch is, always begin to stitch at the middle of the design.

What Do You Need for Cross Stitching?

You will need the below tools before you start your cross-stitching project.

1. A Cross Stitch Pattern

A cross stitch pattern will guide you through your stitching process.

Always choose smaller and easier patterns for a start. Once you have mastered the skills, you can then advance into more complicated designs.

2. A Cross Stitch Fabric

Aida and linen are the standard fabrics you can use for cross-stitching.

The color and size of the fabric should be your choice. But always choose colors that work well with your design.

3. An Embroidery Hoop

There are different sizes of the cross-stitching hoop. However, the hoop size you choose should not be longer than the size of the fabric.

4. Tapestry Needle

You can use Milliners or crewel needles, but tapestry is best because it doesn’t split the thread. Besides, its size will depend on the type of fabric you are using.

5. Embroidery Scissors

Small and sharp scissors will be ideal. Sharp scissors will give you easy work using them to cut or trim your fabric and thread.

6. Embroidery Thread

Choose colors to match your fabric color and bring out the best of your cross stitch pattern. Moreover, you can choose a mix of colors that goes well with the color of your fabric.

Preparing Your Fabric for Cross Stitching

If your fabric has loose ends, you may need to secure them from fraying before stitching. Woven fabrics like Aida and linen have the tendency to fray when you cut them.

You can secure the edges by sewing a zigzag stitch at the edges using your hands or a sewing machine. A sewing machine is faster, but hand sewing is okay if you do not have one.

Steps to Cross Stitch on Your Fabric

Here is a step-by-step process to cross-stitch your fabric you should try out.

Step 1: Finding the Center of Your Cross Stitching Fabric

Locate the center of your work fabric by folding your fabric into four equal folds. First, fold the fabric into two half ways, ensure the edges are aligning.

Second, fold again into two halves ensuring the edges are in line and mark the center where the folds cross. The center of your fabric is where you will start your stitching for a perfect pattern.

Step 2: Securing Your Cross-Stitching Fabric Onto the Hoop

First, ensure you loosen the screws and separate your hoop’s two rounds. Lay your fabric on the hoop without screws.

After that, ensure you place the center of the fabrics at the center of the hoop. Put back the other ring, press it down to sandwich the material, and tighten the screws.

Step 3: Preparing Your Thread for Cross Stitching

When cutting your thread, always make sure it’s not too long because it will make knots as you sew. However, it will be tedious and can slow down your stitching process.

You will need to separate the strands of your thread and use one or two at a time. The number of strands to use here will depend on the type of fabric you are sewing on.

Step 4: Threading Your Needle

Depending on the needle’s eye size, threading can be tricky, but you have to do it anyway. Do not make a tight knot at the end tail of your thread.

Making a knot at the opposite end of the thread will make your cross stitching untidy. Instead of a knot, stitch over the first stitch to secure it, and you are good to go.

You can also thread your needle by inserting the thread’s two ends into the needle’s eye. So, it will make a loop at the other end.

The loop will be ideal for securing your first stitch.

Step 6: Making Cross Stitches on Your Fabric

Your starting point will be where you have marked your fabric center. Start from your fabric back and pass your needle through a hole to the front.

Then, hold your thread at the tail after pulling almost all the lines through the hole. Holding will secure it not to come out through the hole, forcing you to start all over again.

Push your needle back through the fabric diagonally on the right to make your first half stitch. After you have drawn your thread all the way, push it through the first hole.

Likewise, make another half stitch over the first to secure it without making a knot.

You can make a third stitch over it for a tighter start, but that’s optional. One more stitch over the first one is usually enough to secure the stitch.

Here, you have a choice of either starting with a complete cross stitch or a row of half stitches.

Making a Row of Half Cross Stitches

Before proceeding to the next stitch, ensure you secure the first-half stitch you made. Push the needle through the fabric to make another half stitch lying in the same direction.

After that, make more half-cross stitches lying in the same direction as the first one as you follow your pattern.

To complete the half-cross stitches, you will need to switch back to your start point. So, push your needle through the fabric in the opposite direction to make a cross.

As a result, it will make your first complete cross stitches. Repeat this process along the row until you have completed it.

Making Complete Cross Stitches on Your Fabric

Making one complete cross stitch is the traditional method of making cross stitches. Once you finish making and tightening your first half stitch as above, proceed to complete it.

Push your needle through your fabric on the adjacent hole to the fabric upper side. After that, draw your thread all the way and ensure it is tight enough before making the next half stitch.

Then, take your work needle back down through the fabric to make a second-half stitch. The second half stitch should lie in the opposite direction of the first half stitch to make a cross.

Your first cross stitch is complete. Then, repeat the process through the other squares making sure you follow your pattern.

How Do You Start a New Thread in Cross Stitch?

You can start a new thread in cross-stitch by making a knot onto the previous line. But, making knots on your cross stitch will make it untidy and ugly.

Thus, always try to avoid using knots on your cross stitch as much as possible. You can choose to make an ending when your thread is about to finish before adding another.

Moreover, use the methods of ending a stitch but avoid using knots if you can. You can use the thread burying method to hide evidence of where you made an ending stitch.

You can now repeat this method any time you want to add another piece of thread to your cross stitch.

How Do You End a Cross-Stitch Without a Knot?

Knowing how to finish your cross stitch without making the ugly knots is essential. Nevertheless, there are many creative ways to end a cross-stitch without a knot.

One way to end your cross stitch is by pushing the needle under a few stitches at the back. Draw the thread all the way and ensure to bury the end under the stitches, then trim.

You can bury the thread either at the front or back. Bury it at least under three to four complete stitches to make sure it’s secured.

Besides, it would be best to snip the tail to snip the stitches if you are careful.


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.

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