If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a way to cross stitch faster than you already are, the good news is that there is! Cross stitch is not a race, everyone stitches at different speeds and the point is to enjoy stitching and relaxing. However, if you want to get faster and more efficient, the sewing method (that I’ll outline in the video below) can really speed up your stitching. It basically halves the amount of times you move your needle, and you don’t have to move your hand from the back to the front of the fabric nearly as much.
For this method, you’ll be stitching “in hand,” or without a hoop or sewing frame. If you have a big piece of fabric, you can roll up an edge and clip it out of the way if needed. This isn’t a great method to try for new beginners, as you can get the direction your stitches lay a bit confused at first. Also because there is no hoop holding the fabric taut, if you’re not careful with your stitching tension then you could start to warp and buckle your project a bit (like if you pull harder on one leg of your stitch than the other). If you’re a complete beginner, I’d recommend getting good at the “stab” method of moving your needle from the front to the back of the fabric until that becomes second nature. Click here for some beginner tutorials on stitching.
Also note that your floss will twist a little bit more when using this method. You may not care about that, but if you do want your stitches to lie parallel to each other (called “railroading”) then I have a few tips in the video to help.
This technique is ideal to use on higher quality fabric (such as Zwiegart Aida, evenweave, linen, Fiddler’s Cloth, etc). The fabric will get really soft and pliable in your hands, making it easier to “bend” the fabric so your needle can pass through both holes. More inexpensive fabric will work too, it will just need time to get “warmer” in your hands and become softer to make bending it a little easier.
The sewing method
- Most find it’s easiest to use the sewing method for doing half of your stitches in one direction, then completing them by coming back the opposite direction (working in rows or columns). It is possible to work one stitch at a time, but your needle will be changing direction all the time.
- Practice on a scrap piece of fabric first and make sure your stitch tension is even and not warping the fabric.
If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below! And if you’d like free patterns to practice these tips with, just click the image below!