Fast and Easy Way To Make A Cross Stitch Pattern

Learning new stitching patterns is one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling activities you can engage in as a beginner or experienced tailor. A cross-stitch is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most unique decorative stitching patterns out there. It takes a bit of time to learn and also a bit longer to do a design and complete a cross-stitch but the results are always satisfying to the eye. This brief but thorough guide shows you, step by step, how to make a cross stitch pattern in no time.

How to Make A Cross Stitch Pattern – Fast and Easy

Cross Stitch Pattern Fast and Easy

You can start making a cross-stitch by designing it on paper or on any design software you might be familiar with.  This way, you will have a pretty good idea on what to design when it comes to the real thing. If you like, you can also go straight ahead to designing the cross-stitch pattern on the fabric, especially if you are doing it by hand as opposed to a machine. 

The first step to making a cross-stitch pattern is finding a shape, drawing, pattern or illustration you want to put on the fabric. You can use your imagination to come up with a unique and visually appealing pattern if you are the artistic type. You can also find and download plenty of cross-stitch design inspirations on the internet and trace them on paper. Put your design on paper, excel or cross-stitch design software such as MyriaCross or PCStitch.

After the design, you can either use the paper as a template over a piece of fabric and stitch the cross-stitch by hand or transfer the design to a digital embroidery machine in the required format and stitch it automatically. A cross stitch, whether done by hand or machine consists of a series of X -shaped stitches that may be shaped to make a decorative piece or to sew two parts of fabric together.

Step-By-Step to Make A Cross-Stitch 

Making A Barebones Cross-Stitch Pattern By Hand

Barebones Cross Stitch Pattern By Hand

Let’s first tackle the traditional cross-stitch pattern without going to decorative pieces. You will understand a cross-stitch better If you do it by hand using a needle, some thread and a piece of fabric that you can practice on. 

Step 1- Prepare Your Need and Thread

Attach a thread of about 5 inches or more depending on the length of fabric you will be working on to your sewing needle. Next, create a single or double knot at the end of the thread to stop it from coming off when you pull the thread through the fabric.

Step 2- Create Your Starter Stitch (Loop)

The first stitch you will create won’t necessarily be cross-stitch, but rather a starter stitch to form a foundation for the cross-stitch. Insert your needle through the top of your fabric pieces and bring it around to the bottom end of your loop creating a loop on the furthest edge.

Step 3- Create Your First Cross-Stitch

Cross Stitch

With the starting stitch/loop completed, you should have the needle on the side of the fabric nearest to your sewing hand and a few inches up on your fabric. Now move you needle diagonally to the opposite end of your fabric in whichever length you prefer to make one part of the cross-stitch. 

Next, insert the needle on this opposite end through the top, cut back vertically by a few inches and bring it from the bottom. Now move the needle diagonally to the other edge in the same length as the other one crossing over it to create an X shape. If you followed the directions as described, you should have complete X-shaped stitch on your fabric. Congratulations! That is how you create a basic cross-stitch.

Step 4- Complete the Cross Stitches

We’ll assume that you are sewing vertically using a cross-stitch for this example. To carry on with your cross-stitch, just continue with the same technique, cutting back vertically from each side of the diagonal stitch and crossing over the diagonal stitch a few inches further from the previous point. 

In the end, you should have a series of X shaped stitches lining the entire line of your fabric. Create a normal loop at the end to secure the stitch so it doesn’t come off when you cut the thread.

Tracing A Cross-Stitch by Hand

Making a cross-stitch without guiding holes can be difficult for beginners. To make it easier you can also decide to trace a cross-stitch on a series of punched holes. To do this, you’ll need a piece of paper with a series of equally spaced holes on either side to trace. Place it over your fabric and start with the bottom hole crossing over and tracking back to the other side to create an X shaped stitch. 

Complete Decorative Cross-Stitch My Machine

Cross Stitch My Machine

Earlier on, we mentioned that a cross-stitch is mainly used to create beautiful embroidery patterns. If you own a digital embroidery machine, you can design your cross-stitch patterns and transfer them to the machine for sewing. Here is how to create a complete decorative cross-stitch and put it on fabric.

Step 1- Trace or design your cross-stitch pattern by hand or using any of the design software you may have. Ensure you use all the colors you need if drawing by hand. Design software gives you a wider range of colors to add to your cross-stitch design.  You can also download ready cross-stitch patterns from the internet and transfer them to your embroidery machine for sewing.

Step 2- Transfer the design machine

Scan and transfer the design to your computer for conversion if your initial design was done by hand. You’ll need to use an embroidery design software to convert the file to a format that is supported by your machine. Be sure to check your embroidery machine’s manual to find the correct file format. After conversion, just copy the design files to your machine and print them on your fabric.

Related Questions

Can You Create Your Own Cross Stitch Pattern?

Can You Create Your Own Cross Stitch Pattern?

Yes, making your own cross-stitch pattern is more fun than using other people’s designs or tracing existing patterns. In fact, creating custom cross stitch patterns has been a fun pastime activity for the longest time among experienced and newbie tailors. You can design your own cross stitch pattern on paper and scan it for stitching using a machine or hand-stitch it if you are adept at hand embroidery.  Alternatively, use excel or design software to create digital embroidery patterns.

What Is the Best Program to Make Cross Stitch Patterns?

There are numerous design programs out there made for creating patterns. You are better off using a custom embroidery designer program such as MyriaCross or PCStitch. These programs will allow you to export your designs to a format that is compatible with your embroidery machine. At the same time, they offer more granular control over custom stitch lengths, counts, colors, fabric, and shading. 

How Do I Create A Cross Stitch Pattern in Excel?

Create Cross Stitch Pattern in Excel

Excel is also great at creating cross stitch patterns as it gives you a grid to guide your design. Use the excel cell color feature and shapes to create intricate cross stitch patterns and print them out on paper or transfer them as vectors for stitching.  There is no limit to the kind of designs you can come up with on excel.

Can You Make A Cross-Stitch from A Photo?

Yes, any picture can be turned into a beautiful cross stitch pattern. Scan the photo if it’s in print format and transfer it to your favorite embroidery design program. If the photo is in digital format, you’ll just need to import it to your program and convert it to cross stitch format ready for stitching with a machine or traced by hand.


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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