is Back and Cooler than Ever
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Learn how to stitch cool cross stitches onto your clothing & accessories
Cross stitch is back! Everywhere we go we keep seeing more and more people making wonderful handmade things with cross stitch. It's rise in popularity comes as no surprise though, it's super fun, easy to learn and extremely versatile. You can stitch everything from beautiful (even sassy) hoop art to deck out your home to one of a kind DIY gifts for your friends and family. So, whether you're looking to elevate your game and take you stitching skills from "weekend warrior" to "DIY Diva" or simply looking to try a fun new craft, we have you covered! Check out this simple how-to and learn how more about this awesome skill.
READING A CROSS STITCH PATTERN
Cross Stitch patterns are typically called charts because designs are charted out by squares, each square represents a square on your Aida fabric and when the square is filled in, that means a stitch goes there. Cross stitch charts contain a key, that key shows you which DMC thread colors are used in the pattern. Each DMC thread color is represented by a symbol, so that you know when you see that symbol in the square of the chart, you know which thread color to use for that stitch. Cross stitch charts also lists the kind of fabric, colors of floss, and how many skeins of each you need. You will also need a needle (or 2-3 in case you lose one!), small scissors, and an embroidery hoop.
STEP ONE: CHOOSE YOUR DESIGN AND MATERIALS
Cross stitch designs are created on charts with grids of equally sized squares, which match the even squares of Aida cross stitch fabric. Each square on the chart represents a stitch; the stitch makes an “X” by pulling the thread diagonally through the holes at each corner, “crossing” the square.
There are many designs and styles to choose from. For inspiration, look online, in printed stitching books and magazines, look at your favorite 8-bit designs and characters, or find more on our site here
STEP TWO: PREPARE YOUR THREAD
DMC Embroidery Floss is composed of six strands that are twisted together, which are easy to divide. Many cross stitch designs on 14-count Aida fabric specify only two strands of floss, so you will need to separate them. Refer to the chart for the number of strands.
Find the end of the thread on your skein of DMC Floss. Slowly pull the end out from the skein to an 18” length of floss and cut it off. To separate it into individual strands, pull one strand slowly out and up until it is free from the other strands. Continue to pull out the number of strands you need. To recombine the two strands, hold them at one end and gently stroke to smooth them together. Pulling out one thread at a time ensures your stitches are even and flat instead of twisted and rough.
STEP THREE: THREAD YOUR NEEDLE
To thread your needle, it’s easiest to use the DMC Needle Threader. Slide the eye of the needle onto the hook, loop the thread on the hook, then pass the hook through the eye of the needle and pull the thread through.
Here are some other ways to thread your needle:
Pinch and Poke
Pinch and Poke –
Cut a clean end of thread and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger, leaving only a tiny bit of the end exposed. Holding the needle in your other hand, “poke” the eye of the needle over the thread, and then pull the thread through. Pinching the thread gives you more control to guide the thread into the eye. You may have to “saw” the eye of the needle back and forth slightly to get the thread to enter the eye.
Loop, Pinch, and Press
Loop, Pinch, and Press
– Loop the end of thread over the eye of the needle and pinch the loop tightly between your thumb and forefinger. Remove the needle from the loop and press the eye of the needle down over the thread loop. Pull on the loop to get the thread through the eye of the needle.
STEP FOUR: PREPARE YOUR FABRIC
To center the design on the fabric, you must find the center. Fold the fabric in half and then in half again; the center of the fabric is where the folds intersect. To mark the center point, make a small dot with a Water Soluble Pen.
- Every chart lists the finished size of the cross stitch design. Add at least 3 inches or more or on all sides for framing or other finishing.
- DO NOT wash your fabric before you use it. Washing will tighten up the holes and make stitching on the fabric more difficult as the squares become harder to see.
- An embroidery hoops is especially helpful if you are a beginner.
STEP FIVE: PLACE YOUR FABRIC IN THE EMBROIDERY HOOP
Here’s how to use the embroidery hoop:
Loosen the screw or nut on the outside of the hoop and separate the inner and outer rings. The outer ring holds the fabric over the inner ring.
Place the inner ring on a flat surface. Place your fabric over it, then press the outer ring over the fabric until the bottom ring is snugly inside the outer ring. Tug the corners of the fabric slightly to make the fabric taut – make sure this is as tight as possible so the fabric won’t slip out of the hoop. Be sure the vertical and horizontal threads are straight and square.
Tighten the nut or screw securely. Your fabric is now in place and ready to embroider.
Now you are ready to cross stitch! See the next step site to see how to make a basic cross stitch, as well as starting and stopping.
Never leave your work in the hoop for an extended period of time. This can cause creases in the fabric that are difficult to remove.
Make sure your hands and work surface are kept clean while you’re stitching. Make it a habit to wash your hands before you begin to stitch and keep drinks and snacks away from the area.
STEP SIX: HOW TO STITCH CROSS STITCH
Here it is, the basic cross stitch!This is all you might need for many beautiful designs. Work this in horizontal rows from left to right. To make a cross stitch, bring the needle up at the lower left hole of one square of the fabric (1) and down at the upper right hole of the same square (2). Bring your needle back up at 3 down at 4, up at 5 and down at 6. Complete the row. The return row is stitched right to left, make crosses by bringing the needle up at 9 and down at 10, up at 11 down at 12. Complete the return row and repeat the stitching sequence until the area is stitched as charted.
- When stitching make sure your stitches lie flat. If your thread becomes twisted while stitching, drop the needle and allow the needle to hang freely. The thread will untwist by itself.
- Make sure all your stitches are crossed in the same direction.
- Keep the tension on your stitches even.
- Work the design area first and any plain background last.
- Work the darker colors first, and the lighter colors last.
- Sometimes you'll stitch only a few stitches in one area, and then jump to another area with that same color. Jumping can be easier than stopping and starting, but when you carry the floss on the back it can show through the fabric. Only carry thread to another area if the jump is short and the thread is a light color.
ENDING A THREAD
To end a thread, run your threaded needle under the last few stitches on the back of the fabric, and clip off the excess thread. After rethreading the needle to continue, simply run the needle under several stitches on the back to secure the thread and resume stitching.