Cross Stitch Tips

Some top cross stitch tips when starting out cross stitching can make a huge difference to how you stitch and how you look after your finished project. Below you will find a collection of what we think are some of the most helpful cross stitch tips that can save you time, money and make your project have that professional finish.

Cross Stitch Tips

Cross Stitch Tips: Thread Organizer

Thread Organizer

  • Organize your threads before you start a project as this will help to avoid problems later. Always include the manufacturer’s name and the shade number.
  • Separate the strands on a skein of stranded cotton (floss) then take the number you need and realign them before threading your needle.
  • Use the correct needle size for the fabric and the correct number of strands of thread. Generally, the thread in your needle should be about the same weight as one of the fabric theads you are working on.
  • If you are using a frame, try to avoid a hoop as it will stretch the fabric and leave a mark that may be difficult to remove. Moving a hoop across your beautifully formed stitches can spoil them.
  • Start with the loop method when using two, four or six strands for a design. This method prevents the mess so often found on the wrong side of a piece of embroidery.
  • If tweeding threads (that is, using one strand each of two or more colours to achieve a mottled, tweedy appearance), start with an away waste knot.
  • Plan your route around the chart, counting over short distances to avoid mistakes.
  • Work your cross stitch in two directions in a sewing movement – half cross stitch in one direction and then cover those original stitches with the second row. This forms single vertical lines on the back that are very neat and give somewhere to finish raw ends.
  • Remember that for neat cross stitching, the top stitches should all face the same direction.
  • Avoid coming up through occupied holes (that is, where a stitch has alread been formed) from the back. Instead, insert the needle from the front. This prevents spoiling existing stitches.
  • As you stitch you may find that the threads start to corkscrew slightly and spoil the stitches. Either turn the work upside down and allow the needle to spin, or each time you take the needle out of the fabric, give it a half turn before you re-insert it and the stitches will lie flat.
  • If you are adding a backstitch outline, always add after the cross stitch has been completed to prevent the solid line being broken. Work the stitches over each block, resisting the temptation to use longer stitches as this will show.
  • Try to avoid travelling across the back of the fabric for more than two stitches as trailing thread will show on the front of the work.
  • When working with threads you are unfamiliar with, ensure that they are colourfast, particularly space-dyed threads. Press a clean, damp white tissue on to the threads and check that there is no trace of colour on the tissue. If so, do not wash the project.
  • Recommended Reading

    Looking for a good book to read? If your looking for a great reference book to help you out with answers to your cross stitching questions, or maybe your just looking for a present to give that loved one who is mad about cross stitch. Then head over to our books page where we have compiled a list of great books that no serious cross stitcher should be without.

    Last edited by EasyCrossStitchPatterns on