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Fractional stitches for cross stitch

Fractional stitches for cross stitch

with 12 Comments

Fractional stitches are something that can be quite intimidating if you’ve never done them before, but they don’t have to be. Fractional stitches (quarter, half, and three-quarter stitches) are used to create more detail in a specific area of a pattern, and saves having to use very high thread count fabric for the entire pattern. Currently all of the patterns I design use only full stitches (and a couple use backstitch as well), so you don’t need to worry about fractionals if you’re stitching from the patterns I’m designing in my shop.

However, of course many patterns do use fractional stitches, including one I’m currently working on. I bought Blaine Billman’s “The Spirit of the Sockeye” a while ago, and have been slowly working on it in between design projects. It’s from The Stitching Studio, and I have to say that the way they design their patterns is really good. They’re not assuming you know how to do fractional stitches, or that you’ve stitched on linen before (which is what this particular pattern recommends). In the video you can see little bits of their instructional images, but below I’m including a free chart that I made to explain the different types of fractional stitches (and what “over one, over two” means). You can right-click on the chart to save it to your computer as a reference. This video is preceded by one about how to do a pin stitch on linen, as it’s a little different than doing one on Aida fabric. So if you aren’t sure what the best way to start your thread on linen is, check that short video out as well.


fractional stitches cross stitch tutorial


Video: Fractional Stitches for Cross Stitch



Tips for Fractional Stitches

  • have a good look at your pattern first and make sure you understand what it’s indicating (each pattern is charted slightly differently)
  • if you’re really not sure if you’re understanding the pattern, do a small test section of the fractional stitches on a scrap of fabric
  • don’t be afraid to get some graph paper and physically draw out complex sections of the pattern — indicate where the quarter stitches, 3/4 stitches, etc will go and show the direction they’ll be facing
  • take breaks — doing fractional stitches can take a lot more concentration so take more frequent breaks if you find yourself getting tired or confused
  • when in doubt, ask for help! There are a ton of cross stitch groups on Facebook, and you are always welcome to post images onto my Peacock & Fig Facebook page and I’ll see if I can help you out!


Links mentioned in the video

The other video links have been included in the post above, and at the end of the video I talk about how therapeutic cross stitch can be, and how it really can foster relaxation, increased problem solving skills, etc. If you’d like more information about this, there are a few media articles on my press page where I go into more detail about the benefits of stitching and hobbies. The e-Veritas article in particular has feedback from many other people about how their hobbies have helped them reduce stress and protect their health in difficult times.


Happy stitching!


Fractional stitches for cross stitch
Article Name
Fractional stitches for cross stitch
Fractional stitches are something that can be quite intimidating if you've never done them before, but they don't have to be at all.
Publisher Name
Peacock & Fig
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Follow Dana Batho:

Artist and Designer

I am an artist, veteran, analyst, and mommy to the sweetest dog ever. I am constantly thinking of ways to use my creativity in everything I touch despite my physical limitations, and I love encouraging others to do the same.

12 Responses

  1. Heather
    | Reply

    Great Diagram but I wish it showed the stitched fractional stitch next to how it is charted.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Heather! That’s actually not possible — all software charts slightly differently. You’ll just have to look at your chart and see if there’s a legend to determine which stitch is being indicated. 😊

  2. Ellen
    | Reply

    Please can you help!!! I am new to fractional stitching.
    I have learned to do the stitches etc, what gets me is – if in one square there are two different colours what colour do I use for the half stitch.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Ellen! If they’re in opposite corners, do two 3/4 stitches — the long arms of the stitches will lie parallel to each other and create a nice clean line. 🙂

  3. Judy
    | Reply

    Hi. I am new to this and I have a pattern on paper so I am counting etc. I’m a bit confused because at first I thought that each symbol with a different color just represented that it was just a different color. However now since I heard about fractional stitches I wonder if each symbol represent not just the color but how to make each stitch. If this is true where is there a guide that shows what each symbol means? Thank you in advance! Judy

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Judy! It’s unlikely your pattern has fractional stitches, they tend to be more common in very complex patterns (so I hope you don’t have one of those, that’d be a hard way to start as a beginner). There’s no symbol/colour for fractional stitches specifically, it’s how they’re placed in the grid blocks. If your grid blocks are fully one colour, or one symbol (or one symbol/colour combo, depends on the pattern), then that’s a full cross stitch, like the full X. If there are multiple symbols or colours inside one grid square, then that’s showing you there are fractionals. Have a look at the video again, you’ll see that there are some full stitch grid squares, and some showing there are fractionals (the colours/symbols are also very small in the grid squares compared to the full stitches). Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Jusy

        Thank you Dana! Finally some clarity! Have a great night. Judy

      • Dana Batho

        You’re very welcome! 🙂

  4. Julie Rendell
    | Reply

    Thankyou for the tutorial about fractional stitched. I hadn’t heard of them until recently and found your tutorial very informative.

  5. Kathleen
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for this information, I feel much better about tackling linen and even weave….Wish me luck🙋🏻‍♀️

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Awesome, you’re very welcome! Good luck Kathleen! 🙂

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