How To Make A Cross Stitch Pattern

If you’re serious about upping your stitching game, one of the elements you’ll want to master is the cross stitch pattern process.

There are several ways you can make cross stitch patterns which can seem overwhelming at first glance. Our post below includes all the details surrounding the best cross stitch methods with a step-by-step guide to help you improve your overall stitching abilities. 

How To Make a Cross Stitch Pattern?

Making your own cross stitch pattern doesn’t have to be as complicated as you may be thinking. All you need to do is choose a design to trace and have your fabrics ready to use. You can then decide to create your cross stitch pattern by hand or with a computer.

Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the different cloth types and ways that you can go about selecting designs to trace either by hand or with computer software.

Where Do I Start a Cross Stitch Pattern?

Aida cloth is the most popular fabric that people like to cross stitch on due to how the materials are woven loosely in a grid pattern that makes it easier to identify where to have your stitches lined up. 

When you start looking for Aida cloth, you’ll see that it comes in various sizes. The most commonly found pieces of Aida fabric are 11, 14, 18, and 28. These sizes tell you how many stitches you’re able to make within one square inch. 

For beginners, we recommend using Aida fabric that has a stitch count of either 11 or 14 because there’s more room to stitch on. Once you begin improving your cross stitching skills, you can move on to the 18 and 28 stitch count cloths that enable you to create smaller crosses and add more detail. 

Other available fabric options include fiddlers or linen cloth. However, they have smaller spaces which can make it more difficult for beginners. 

Types Of Embroidery Floss

One of the main reasons why people love the idea of learning to cross stitch is due to how you’re able to be incredibly creative with the color options. This is because embroidery floss is commonly used that’s available in many different colors.

Embroidery floss has six threads with between just one and three of the threads being used for cross stitching at once. This floss can be found in metallic, matte, and iridescent colors which provides you with various options to be creative with.

People often struggle cross stitching with thread in the beginning so it may be a good idea to use beeswax of waxed thread. They can make it easier to have the thread prepared before you begin stitching to ensure that the floss, threading, and tie offs are smoother. 

How To Choose a Cross Stitch Pattern 

Selecting a pattern for cross stitching is simple. You can find inspiration online or in books and use embroidery floss with colors that match the image. If you’re just starting out, be sure to use a cross stitch pattern that’s more simple.

This helps to prevent you from being overwhelmed and frustrated with trying to implement a lot of smaller details. We recommend using images that use no more than 7 colors in the beginning.

How Do I Turn A Picture Into a Cross Stitch Pattern

Once you’ve found a simple image that has shapes you can easily define with a maximum of 7 colors, you can begin to draw it. Start by putting graph paper over the top of your chosen image and trace the outline shapes.

It’s best to avoid the temptation of tracing too many details. Stick to tracing the basic shapes to keep things as simple as possible. Once you’ve traced the image, select the colors that you want, and use colored pencils to start coloring in the different areas of the traced drawing. 

To make the stitching part later on easier, be sure to color in areas in the grid pattern and not the curved lines. You could also choose to make your own pattern by using a computer. Let’s take a look below at how you can easily create images to cross stitch from using your computer. 

What Software Programmes Can I Use To Make Cross Stitch Patterns?

There are limited options when it comes to using a Mac instead of a PC. Having said that, MacStitch is one of the highly recommended programs to use if you have a Mac. When it comes to using a PC, there are more options available to use with PC Stitch being one of the top choices.

For the most part, the available free software programs don’t provide you with accurate colors. However, you can use them as a starting point when you’re beginning with simple stitch patterns.

It may also be a good idea to use the trial versions of the various programs available to make sure you find one that you like before spending money on it. Using software for cross stitch patterns can save you a lot of time in the long run when you’re making many different designs. 

How To Turn Photos Into Cross Stitch Patterns

If you have a particular photo that you like and want to turn into a cross stitch pattern, you’ll need software (as mentioned above) and a scanner. 

We recommend only using photos that are flat and come with clearly visible outlines of shapes. Place a transparent plastic sheet on top of the photo and put it onto the scanner with the 24-bit setting turned on.

Take note of the format that your chosen software uses and convert the scanned photo accordingly to make it compatible. When the photo is in the computer software, be sure to look for any details that could interfere when it comes to stitching and make any necessary edits. 

Once you’re happy with how the image looks, you can print it out and use it as your cross stitch pattern. Photos of friends, families, landmarks, and so on can make for special pieces to keep in your home or give to others. 

How To Create a Cross Stitch Pattern In Excel

Excel is one of the most popular programs that people like to use for creating cross stitch patterns. It’s super easy and allows you to have total control over your design.

You can take advantage of the gridlines in Excel to line up to one of the images that you’ve chosen. To add colors to the design, use the negative filling feature that lets you have larger areas filled in while being able to remove colors from different areas and add different ones. 

Using this system is simple and enables you to be creative when it comes to adding various colors in different places. Using grid sheets and coloring in with pencils can be more time consuming as you have to start from scratch if you don’t like how certain colors look. When using Excel, you can simply remove and add colors with a click of your mouse. 

When you’re pleased with the final design, you can print out the image to start cross stitching with it. You can spend some time experimenting with the different methods of cross stitching by doing it by hand or using a computer if you find it more convenient. 

Related Questions

How Should You Begin Cross Stitching Your Chosen Design?

It’s best to start cross-stitching in the center of the design. This is a simple way to make sure that your pattern is in the middle of the fabric. Using a cross-stitch chart can help identify where the center of the design is.

What’s the Best Way to Prepare your Fabric? 

Aida fabric is the most popular type that people like to use but it’s prone to fraying when you start cutting it to size. Therefore, we recommend that you have the edges bound with masking tape before you begin stitching. Alternatively, you could sew the edges with a zig-zag pattern to keep them flat.


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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