How To Transfer Cross Stitch Patterns To Fabric

Cross stitching produces beautiful patterns on fabric. It is a decorative stitching method that many sewing enthusiasts want to indulge in. Many find cross stitching quite easy. This is because all it needs is a good fabric whose threads you can count and start stitching.

Many people start cross stitching on paper or software. A graph paper with small squares is ideal for this activity. You can use a stencil to make a pattern outline, then use the small squares to make your cross stitch patterns.

Once you have finished working on the software or paper design, the next challenge is how you can get your cross-stitch paper pattern onto the fabric. Whether you use a cross-stitch software program or a stencil design to paper to make your printed cross-stitch pattern, you will need to get it onto a fabric.

Can You Transfer Cross Stitch Patterns To Fabric?

Yes, you can transfer cross-stitch patterns to fabric. Depending on your sewing skill level, there are many methods you can use to transfer patterns to fabric.

Steps To Transfer Cross Stitch Patterns To Fabric

steps to transfer cross stitch patterns to fabric

Method 1. Tracing Directly To The Fabric

You can use the tracing method to get your printed cross stitch pattern onto your fabric. You will need the following items to succeed in this method:

  • A light fabric
  • Ample light or a light-box
  • Temporary marking pens or pencil
  • Your cross stitch pattern
  • Embroidery thread
  • Needles

Here is how to trace cross stitch patterns onto fabric.

Step 1. Prepare your fabric to make it easy to trace patterns onto it. Make sure it is clean and well ironed. Also, it should be light enough to help you see through it easily.

Step 2. Make sure that you have enough light in the room you are working in. If you don’t, you can use a window or a light-box.

Step 3. Place your cross stitch pattern on a window or your lightbox so that it is visible.

Step 4. Place your fabric onto the pattern.

Step 5. Using your temporary marking pens or a pencil, trace the pattern onto the fabric. Use bold lines so that you can see the outline when you work on it.

Step 6. When you are through tracing the pattern onto the fabric, you need to stitch all around the outline. Since you used a pencil or temporary marking pens, stitching immediately ensures that the lines won’t fade off. Making it difficult for you to see what you traced on the fabric.

Step 7. With the outline on your fabric, you can now count threads and start stitching the cross stitch patterns of your choice.

Method 2. Printing Direct From Your Computer To Your Fabric

If you have made your cross stitch patterns with software, then you can print your pattern directly onto the fabric using a laserjet printer.

You will require:

  • A laserjet printer
  • A4 size fabric
  • Sticker paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

This is how you will go about printing your cross stitch patterns onto a piece of fabric.

Step 1. Prepare your fabric to receive a print. You will do this by cutting it into A4 size that will fit properly into a printer.

Step 2. Iron the fabric firmly and make sure it doesn’t have any wrinkles on it.

Step 3. Get your sticker paper and peel off the backing.

Step 4. Place your sticker onto the well-ironed fabric as straight as possible to avoid wrinkles on the fabric.

Step 5. Cut off the excess sticker paper if there is any and place your fabric in the printer. This ensures that all you have is an A4 size fabric that will fit and print comfortably on your ordinary printer.

Step 6. Confirm with your hand that the fabric is well placed onto the printer, and ready to print. Make sure that the fabric side is on the right side on which the pattern will print. You don’t want to print on the sticker paper.

Step 7. Hit print on your computer and make sure you use a laserjet printer

Step 8. Once your image has been printed, give it some time to rest, then remove the sticker paper from the back of your fabric.

Step 9. You are now ready to make your cross stitches on your printed pattern.

Step 10. This method doesn’t work on black fabric. Use a white or light-colored fabric for the best results.

Method 3. DressMaking Carbon Paper Transfer

dressmaking carbon paper transfer

When you have a printed cross stitch pattern, you can use dressmaking carbon paper to transfer it to your preferred fabric. We have used carbon paper for many years to transfer embroidery designs onto fabric.

Step 1. Prepare your fabric by ironing it to remove any wrinkling.

Step 2. Place your carbon paper, with the carbonated side on the fabric

Step 3. Place your pattern on top of the carbon paper. Hold both firmly on top of the fabric. You can use pins to hold your carbon paper on the fabric firmly.

Step 4. Trace using a ballpen, pencil, or tracing stylus. Be firm when tracing to ensure that you have a clear pattern outline on the fabric.

Step 5. When you are done tracing, lift off your pattern and carbon paper to reveal the pattern on your fabric.

Step 6. Stitch or redraw the lines if the pattern doesn’t show as clearly as you want. Also, you don’t want your outline fading before you have made cross stitches on your fabric.

Method 4. Tracing Paper

tracing paper

If you have a fabric that you can’t trace or print directly onto, you can use the tracing paper method.

You will need;

  • Light tracing paper
  • Fabric
  • Needle and thread
  • Pattern source
  • Iron and ironing board

When your tools and requirements are ready, this is how to use tracing paper to transfer cross stitch patterns to fabric.

Step 1. Clean and iron the fabric onto which you want to transfer your cross stitch pattern.

Step 2. Place your tracing paper onto your pattern source

Step 3. Using a pencil or tracing stylus, trace the pattern onto the tracing paper.

Step 4. Place your tracing paper onto your well-ironed fabric. Baste your tracing paper onto it. You can use a pencil or stylus, or you can stitch the pattern onto your fabric from your tracing paper directly.

Step 5. When you are done, remove the basting stitches and tear off the remains of your tracing paper.

Method 5. Water-Soluble Stabilizer

water soluble stabilizer

This method is almost similar to the tracing paper method above.

Step 1. Print your cross stitch pattern directly onto the water-soluble stabilizer paper

Step 2. Baste your water-soluble stabilizer onto the fabric

Step 3. Stitch the pattern directly onto the fabric with your preferred embroidery thread color.

Step 4. When you are transferring the pattern to the fabric, you can now remove the basting stitches and tear off part of the stabilizer not on the pattern.

Step 5. Soak the fabric in warm water and the remaining stabilizer will dissolve in the water, leaving only the pattern on the fabric.

You are now ready to make your cross stitch pattern on your fabric.

Method 6. Use Heat Transfer Pencils

Step 1. Draw or trace your preferred pattern onto tracing or drawing paper.

Step 2. Turn the paper around and trace over the outline of the pattern with heat transfer pencils.

Step 3. Place the tracing paper over the fabric with the heat transfer markings on the fabric.

Step 4. With a dry iron, press the drawing paper for about one minute. Make sure that the drawing paper doesn’t move.

Step 5. Lift the paper and you will find your pattern has transferred to the fabric.

Step 6. If the pattern is not clear, keep ironing until you have transferred your pattern fully.

How Do You Use A Cross Stitch Pattern?

how do you use a cross stitch pattern

When cross stitching, the most important aspect you need to consider is how to read the chart. Cross stitch charts are patterns printed in black and white boxes. You will also find colored boxes that will help you count your stitches and boxes better. Thus, you can keep track of your design.

You need to learn what all the symbols on the chart symbolize. You need to know which box takes a full stitch and which one takes a half and quarter stitch. With this knowledge, you can improve your skill at cross-stitching.

How Do You Transfer Embroidery To Dark Fabric?

Unlike light-colored fabric, you need more to transfer embroidery onto dark fabric. The easiest and most common method of embroidery transfer to dark fabric is through dark transfer paper.

Dark transfer paper provides embroidery with a background that makes it visible when it is finally transferred to the fabric.

You can also use sticker paper to transfer embroidery onto dark fabric. Print the embroidery onto sticker paper, peel off the backing and stick it onto the dark fabric.


Working with cross stitch patterns is a dream for any embroiderer. Many take a long time to learn how to use a cross-stitch. Cross stitch patterns enable embroiderers to come up with unique designs to decorate their sewing and embroidery tasks.

Most cross stitching is done on paper or software. Therefore, every embroiderer needs a method they can rely on to get their patterns off the paper or software onto the fabric.



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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