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How to Make a Cross Stitch Pattern: Beginner’s Guide to Creating Designs (2024)

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how to make a cross stitch patternTo make a cross stitch pattern, start by selecting fabric with the appropriate count for your desired level of detail.

Choose thread colors that complement each other using color theory, and gather supplies like aida cloth, embroidery floss, and tapestry needles.

Decide on a pattern inspired by photos, drawings, or existing designs.

Create a grid by drawing the design square-by-square on graph paper, using computer software, or online pattern makers.

Transfer the pattern to fabric by tracing with a water-soluble pen or using waste canvas.

From there, the real fun begins – bringing your custom cross stitch pattern to life, one stitch at a time.

Want to elevate your needlework skills? Keep exploring our complete guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Select the appropriate fabric and thread colors based on the desired level of detail and design complexity, using resources like DMC floss color charts and color theory.
  • Decide on a pattern inspired by photos, drawings, or existing designs, considering your skill level and the image’s intricacy.
  • Create a grid pattern by drawing the design square-by-square on graph paper, using computer software, or online pattern makers that convert images to grids.
  • Transfer the pattern to fabric using methods like tracing with water-soluble pens or stitching onto waste canvas, before bringing the design to life with cross stitches, back stitches, and French knots.

How to Make a Cross Stitch Pattern?

To make a cross stitch pattern, start by selecting the fabric count and thread colors, then create a grid pattern using graph paper, software, or online tools. Transfer the pattern onto the fabric using a tracing method or waste canvas, and start stitching using the cross stitch, backstitch, and other techniques as needed.

Select Fabric

Select Fabric
When choosing fabric for your cross stitch project, you’ll need to think about the fabric count and thread count. The higher the count, the smaller and more detailed your stitches will be – keep this in mind based on your skill level and the difficulty of the pattern you intend to create.

Fabric Count

The fabric count, or thread count, determines the stitch size and spacing for your cross stitch design. Higher fabric counts mean smaller, tighter stitches on a denser weave. Choose based on your pattern’s detail – 14-count Aida for bold designs, 18 or 22-count for intricate patterns. The canvas weave affects coverage, so match fabric weight to thread thickness for best results.

Thread Count

Moving on, you’ll want to contemplate the thread count for your fabric. While standard cotton floss functions for most cross stitch patterns, you may need to select:

  1. A larger thread size for specialty fibers
  2. A specific fiber type to match your project
  3. Different skein lengths for efficiency

    The thread finish and thickness play a role in how it lays on the fabric weave. Be mindful of the cross stitch key and chart for proper use of each thread color.

Fabric Size

You’ll need fabric large enough for your pattern with a bit of extra border.

Aida cloth, an even-weave fabric made for counted needlework, comes in standard cuts like 8×10 inches or by the yard for bigger projects.

Consider the fabric weight and stiffness, as a drapey, lightweight fabric may become challenging for surface embroidery.

Ultimately, choose an affordable size that suits your design’s complexity.

Choose Thread Colors

Choose Thread Colors
When choosing thread colors for your cross stitch pattern, consult the DMC floss color chart to explore the extensive range of hues available. Consider implementing an appropriate color scheme, such as complementary, analogous, or monochromatic, to achieve a harmonious and visually appealing design.

DMC Floss Color Chart

Once you’ve chosen your fabric, check the DMC floss color chart to select thread hues. This chart offers a complete palette with dmc floss comparison for finding ideal shades or dmc floss alternatives if changing colors. An online cross-stitch pattern maker with a floss palette can simplify designing your embroidery floss color scheme.

Color Schemes

Once you’ve referenced the DMC floss color chart, it’s time to choose a color scheme. Consider:

  1. Color history and meaning
  2. Thread weight for pattern contrast
  3. Color theory for a balanced palette

Use a cross stitch pattern maker online to experiment with different palettes. Draw inspiration from nature, art, or your favorite hues. The number of colors will impact the design’s complexity, so start simple for your first project.

Gather Supplies

Gather Supplies
For your cross stitch project, you’ll need to gather the essential supplies: Aida cloth (a stiff, even-weave fabric), embroidery floss in your desired colors, tapestry needles with blunt tips and large eyes, and sharp scissors to trim excess thread. With these key materials on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to begin stitching your design.

Aida Cloth

With the colors chosen, you’ll need Aida cloth‘s woven grid for your cross-stitching pattern. Pick a fabric count matching your skill level – lower counts like 11 or 14 are ideal for beginners. Inspect the Aida’s weave, texture, and colorfastness. The grid size determines your finished project’s dimensions, so choose wisely.

Embroidery Floss

DMC Embroidery Floss Pack, PopularView On Amazon
You’ll need embroidery floss, the star of the show. Opt for:

  1. DMC floss – vibrant colors that last
  2. Multiple skeins for complex designs
  3. Varying textures for added depth

Don’t settle for anything less than quality thread. After all, your stitches are meant to stand out and embroidery floss allows you to create a masterpiece.

Tapestry Needles

Now that you’ve gathered your embroidery floss, it’s time to select the right tapestry needles. These needles come in various sizes, shapes, and materials to suit your cross stitch project. Choose a needle that’s sharp enough to pierce the fabric easily, yet durable enough to withstand repeated use. The right needle can make all the difference in your cross stitch pattern!

Needle Size Needle Shape Needle Sharpness Needle Durability Needle Material
24-28 Blunt High Moderate Steel
20-22 Pointed Moderate High Plastic
18-20 Sharp Low Low Aluminum


60 words: Along with tapestry needles, you’ll also need scissors. Get a sharp pair that’s comfortable to hold for long periods. Look for:

  • Precision tips for detailed work
  • Ergonomic handles to prevent hand fatigue
  • A style that fits your cross-stitching needs
  • Versatility to handle other crafting tasks

Don’t skimp on quality scissors – they’ll become your trusted companion on every stitching adventure.

Decide on Pattern

Decide on Pattern
With your fabric and supplies ready, it’s time to choose your pattern. Consider your skill level – beginners should opt for simpler images with well-defined lines and fewer colors. More experienced stitchers can attempt complex patterns. Inspiration can come from:

Source Description
Photos Pick bold images with high contrast
Drawings Hand-drawn designs offer creative freedom
Existing Patterns Search online or use pattern books

Color theory plays a role too. Contrasting hues make patterns pop, while analogous shades create soothing visuals. Evaluate the image complexity – details like tiny petals demand more focus. With your pattern picked, sketch it on paper or open design software. This outline guides your grid creation next.

Create Grid Pattern

Create Grid Pattern
To create a cross stitch pattern grid, you have a few options:

Utilize graph paper and draw your design square by square.

Use computer software designed for making cross stitch charts.

Try online pattern makers that let you upload images and convert them into a grid.

Whichever method you choose, the goal is to map out the pattern’s colors and stitches on a grid.

This grid will act as your guide when stitching.

Graph Paper Method

Grab some graph paper—the larger, the better—and start tracing your design’s outlines. Choose colors that pop, considering your desired pattern size and stitch type. After tracing the overall shape, fill in details like petals or leaves. With colored pencils, mark each square to indicate the thread color and stitch choice for that section.

Computer Software

Embark into computer programs to meticulously construct your pattern. Online tools provide pattern editing, color selection, and pixel art abilities. Sketch out your vision stitch by stitch, setting your creativity free. With vibrant hues at your disposal, you’re the master weaver, transforming pixels into a cross-stitch masterpiece.

Online Pattern Makers

Pattern sharing and color matching are often key features when using online cross stitch pattern makers. Beginners, you’ll love the easy-to-use tools that provide design inspiration and resources. Simply upload a photo and watch the software create a grid pattern with recommended floss colors. It’s like having a cross stitch genie in your web browser!

Transfer Pattern to Fabric

Transfer Pattern to Fabric
Once you’ve created your cross stitch pattern, you can transfer it to the fabric using the tracing method or waste canvas.

With the tracing method, place the fabric over the pattern and trace the design onto the fabric using a water-soluble pen or pencil.

For waste canvas, baste it over the fabric and stitch the pattern directly onto the waste canvas, removing it later.

Tracing Method

Once your grid is ready, trace the pattern onto the fabric using a sharp pencil and a light box. Make sure the grid paper matches your fabric’s count for accurate stitch placement. Work slowly, tracing intricate details carefully. A backlit surface helps visibility, enhancing pencil accuracy for clean, crisp lines.

Waste Canvas

Another option is to use waste canvas. You’ll baste it over your fabric, transfer your pattern, then stitch through both layers. Once finished, you’ll carefully cut away the waste canvas, leaving just your design on the fabric. While time-consuming, this method allows you to cross-stitch virtually any surface without tracing or counting.

Start Stitching

Start Stitching
Once you’ve transferred your pattern onto the fabric, it’s time to start stitching. Master the basic cross stitch technique first, forming X-shaped stitches with your thread, then add details with backstitch and French knots.

Cross Stitch Technique

  • Make an X over one fabric square by bringing the needle up at one corner
  • Go down through the opposite hole, leaving the stitch on top
  • Repeat, keeping stitches flat and even
  • Pay attention to your pattern for color changes
  • Enjoy seeing your design come to life!


Backstitching adds texture and definition to your cross stitch pattern. Work the backstitch after completing the cross stitches by passing the needle under stitches to create outlines or accents. Backstitch Uses Backstitch Techniques Backstitch Variations
Outlines Sewing under stitches Double backstitch
Lettering Forming straight lines Backstitch lace
Facial features Sewing at angles Raised backstitch

Master this versatile stitch to elevate your needlework.

French Knots

French knots add dimension and texture to your cross stitch. Use a sharp needle and tie knots by wrapping the floss tightly around the needle two to three times. Pull the needle through, keeping the knot on top of the fabric. Adjust the knot tension as needed. Place knots strategically for accents like flower centers or eyes.

Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches
The final step in creating your cross stitch masterpiece is deciding how to display it. Frame your finished work to showcase its beauty and protect it from wear and tear. You can also finish the edges with a backing fabric or binding to give it a polished, professional look.


Frame your cross-stitched masterpiece to preserve and display it beautifully. Consider these tips:

  1. Use acid-free mat board and backing
  2. Choose frame sizes that complement the piece
  3. Explore mounting techniques like lacing or stretcher bars
  4. Follow preservation methods to prevent fading

Professional framing protects your stitching while enhancing its visual appeal. It’s the perfect finishing touch!

Finishing Edges

For dazzling final embellishments, make sure you’ve fastened all loose embroidery floss ends on the back of your cross-stitch piece with care.

Then, if you so desire, create a simple fabric edging.

Fold a strip of waste canvas over the raw edges and sew it down using your preferred color scheme.

With these concluding steps, your intricate cross-stitch creation will positively radiate!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I make my own cross stitch patterns?

Like a painter envisioning a masterpiece, craft your dream cross-stitch pattern: chart bold colors on graph paper, encapsulating meaningful designs stitch by intricate stitch.

What is the best program to make cross stitch patterns?

For creating cross stitch patterns, PC Stitch Pro is highly recommended. It’s user-friendly, offers advanced features like auto-fill and stitch mapping, plus a vast thread library. So get started and embark upon crafting stunning designs effortlessly!

How to convert image to cross stitch pattern?

You’ll need an image editor or online converter that lets you upload an image and set stitch count/colors. Adjust settings until the pattern looks good, then download printable charts.

What app turns pictures into cross stitch patterns?

You’ll find several apps that convert photos into counted cross-stitch patterns. PC Stitch, PC Pattern Maker, and MacStitch offer intuitive tools, but expect to pay for premium features. Free online options like provide a user-friendly alternative worth exploring.

What are the best tools for beginners?

For beginners, graph paper and colored pencils are excellent tools. Start with simple designs, then upgrade to software or apps as your skills progress. A light box can also make tracing patterns easier.

How do I adjust pattern size easily?

Perfectly pattern, precisely pick project parameters. Precisely mark project plan’s pattern proportions, perfectly positioning precise pattern prominence. Properly preview pattern proportions; precisely place planned pattern ponderings.

Can digital patterns be printed on fabric?

Yes, digital patterns can be printed onto fabric transfers or using inkjet printers specially designed for cross-stitch projects. This allows you to seamlessly incorporate intricate designs onto your fabric before stitching.

What techniques prevent fabric puckering or distortion?

To avoid puckering, use an embroidery hoop to keep fabric taut. For preventing distortion, use even tension when stitching and avoid pulling threads too tight.

Are there any online communities for sharing patterns?

Yes, there are online communities like Craftster and Reddit where you can share your patterns and find inspiration from others. Joining these groups allows you to connect with fellow enthusiasts and exchange ideas.


Ironically, becoming proficient in creating a cross stitch pattern** may appear intimidating, but with perseverance and practice, you’ll soon fashion intricate designs effortlessly.

Follow these steps:

Choose appropriate fabric and threads.

Gather necessary supplies.

Determine a pattern.

Create a grid layout.

Transfer it to fabric.

Stitch carefully.

Experience the delight of crafting your personalized cross stitch patterns, one stitch at a time, and watch your artistic vision materialize.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.