Ever wondered what the best way of starting cross stitch patterns is, or how to find the centre of your cross stitch pattern? This short video will give you tips and show you how to find the centre of your pattern and start stitching your project!
Starting cross stitch: tips to find the centre of your fabric
- Find the centre on your actual pattern (whether digital or printed). Most patterns have the centre marked, but some you may have to figure out on your own (divide the rows and columns in half, and that’s your halfway mark).
- Have a decent margin around your fabric — add about 2-3″ on to the finished pattern dimensions so you’ll have enough fabric for framing or finishing (or if the edges get a little frayed).
- Using straight pins to mark, fold your fabric in half lengthwise to find the halfway point (don’t crease your fabric), mark with a straight pin. Do the same for the other edge.
- Following the line of holes, find the intersection of the two pins — that is the centre of your fabric.
- Make sure to mark the centre with another pin, or a small stitch in a contrasting thread that you will later remove.
- Look at your pattern to see where the nearest block of stitching is, and start stitching from there. Whether you choose to travel up or down the piece from the centre, sideways, or haphazardly is totally up to you — whatever is easiest for that particular pattern is probably best.
- One thing to note: before stitching, make sure your fabric is facing the right way. For example, if you’re doing a landscape that is longer horizontally than it is tall, orient your fabric correctly before you start stitching. Otherwise you’ll run out of fabric and you’ll have to start again. That wastes dozens of hours of stitching time (and likely that piece of fabric)
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Hi, I am new to this and starting a project where the center will be personalized with name and date of birth. My question is do I begin and stitch the name, etc since it is in the center or start upper right corner? Everything I have read is to begin the project in the middle. Thank you! Angela
Whatever is easiest for you Angela. 🙂
Hi! I’m doing a giant project 24 pages of charted pattern. What’s the best direction to go once you’ve finished the center page of pattern? I don’t want to damage the threads through repeated contact as I do the project. Currently just using a regular hoop. Do you recommend any particular direction or technique?
Hi Anne! For a large full coverage pattern, you don’t need to start in the centre, most people start on page one and work across the top of the pattern, then the next row of pages, and so on. What you do have to do though if you’re going to do that is calculate how much margin you have on all sides, so you start in the right place for page one. Measure your fabric, and look at the pattern to see what the finished size is (assuming you’re using the same fabric thread count the pattern recommends). Say if you have 30″ wide of fabric, but your pattern stitches up to 24″ wide, then 30 – 24 = 6, and divide it by two (for both sides) equals a 3″ margin. So that’s your left and right margin, then you’d do the same for your vertical dimensions. So if your top and bottom margins ended up being 3″ each as well, you’d start 3″ in from the left side, and 3″ down, and that’s where stitch one row one of page one of your pattern would start. 🙂 If you do start in the centre, don’t worry about not touching your stitching, it’s fine, you can move the hoop wherever you have to. 🙂
I have “inherited” a kit that is basically a wreath of flowers with nothing in the middle. The linen has been marked with basting stitches to indicate the centre and work has only just begun on one edge. How can I be sure that if I continue from there that the design will meet the vertical centre line? The completed work seemd very close to the edge of the fabric.
Hi Connie! It’ll be a pain, but you’ll have to count to ensure it’s not going to extend beyond the fabric edge. You could always just start again on a different (and bigger) piece of fabric to be on the safe side, kits aren’t known for having a lot of excess fabric in them… 🙂
My pattern design is the the ten commandments. It does not give me a center point. It is a full pattern design. The pattern does not give you a center point for starting. Where would I start to ensure that I have enough cloth to do the design?
Hi Wendylon, I’m pretty sure I talk about that in the video — you can literally just divide the number of stitches in half, both directions. So like if it’s 220 stitches wide, the halfway point will be at 110 stitches horizontally, you can mark that column as your centre column. Then you’d do the same thing vertically. 😊
How do you find starting point when the pattern is several pages
Hi Vernon! Patterns will usually show you where the centre of the pattern is with a special marking or line (like a triangle facing down and across at the centre mark on that page). Otherwise you just divide how many stitches wide it is by two, and that’s the halfway point (and same with the height). Then you just start from that mark on whatever page it is, and work out from there. 🙂
Thanks for the video Dana, I usually add my extra margins on the fabric (3″ min) the I lightly fold the fabric in half horizontally and vertically at the same time (quarter folded) and bingo the centre it there and I pin it before marking with a thread. Does that make sense?
Haha yes that makes perfect sense Chrissie! You can fold it horizontally and vertically at the same time as you do, or individually as I show in the video. I do it one at a time just to really make sure I don’t crush the fabric, but of course it depends on your fabric and how stiff it is before you start stitching on it. That’s one thing I like about stitching on Fiddler’s Cloth, it looses its stiffness really fast and gets quite soft in your hands as you stitch on it. 🙂