Beginner's Guide to Cross Stitching

Beginner's Guide to Cross Stitching

steps for the beginner stitcher when learning to cross stitch

Cross stitching is a relaxing and rewarding hobby that allows you to create beautiful decorative designs. With just a few basic supplies and some simple stitches, you can be well on your way to stitching your own masterpieces.

white 14 count cross stitch fabric inside wood embroidery hoop

Getting Started

Here's a list of what you'll need to get started with cross stitching:

  • Fabric: Aida cloth is the most common fabric used for cross stitch because it's easy to work with and has a grid-like pattern that makes stitching easier. You can find Aida cloth at most craft stores in a variety of colors and counts (the number of holes per square inch). For your first project, a lighter color Aida cloth (around 14 count) is recommended as it will be easier to see your stitches which is why my designs and shop use 14 count Aida cross stitch fabric.
  • Embroidery hoop: This will hold your fabric taut while you stitch, making it easier to see your stitches and keep your tension even.  I use a plastic embroidery hoop while doing the stitching and a wood embroidery hoop to display my completed design.
  • Embroidery needles: Choose needles with blunt tips (tapestry needles) that are large enough to easily thread with embroidery floss.
  • Embroidery floss: This is the thread you will use to stitch your design. Embroidery floss typically comes in six strands, but you can separate them and use fewer strands for a finer look or more strands for a bolder look.  Almost all of my samples, have been stitched using three strands as I love the fuller look to the completed design.
  • Scissors: You'll need small, sharp scissors or snips to clip your thread close enough to your fabric.
  • Pattern: Choose from one of our digital cross stitch patterns that are available instantly or choose a complete kit which includes a color as well as black/white pattern. My patterns include a chart that shows you the specific colors, its symbol and placement of each stitch. Most of my designs are beginner friendly as they have a small, simple pattern.
close up of x stitches for completing cross stitch design with embroidery thread and needle

Learning the Basic Stitch

The basic stitch in cross stitch is called a full cross stitch. To make a full cross stitch, follow these steps:

  1. Thread your needle with embroidery floss.
  2. Push your needle up from the back of your fabric to the front, at any hole in the grid.
  3. Count the hole diagonally up and to the right, then push your needle down through that hole.
  4. Bring your needle back up through a hole immediately below the hole you just came down from.
  5. To complete the cross stitch, count the hole diagonally up and to the left, then push your needle down through that hole.  This completes your first X stitch.

Tips for Beginners

  • Don't pull your stitches too tight, as this can pucker your fabric.
  • Don't pull your fabric too tight either.
  • It's okay if your stitches aren't all perfectly straight at first. With practice, your stitches will become more even.
  • Don't stress; just enjoy the process!

With a little practice, you'll be stitching beautiful cross stitch projects in no time! You're welcome to follow me on Instagram and Facebook @dandelionstitchery for videos as well as on YouTube 

Looking for your next amazing cross stitch project?  Check out all my cross stitch kits and digital patterns.

shop now cross stitch kits, patterns and tools for your next crafting project