For the longest time, I had no idea how to make cross stitch patterns. I thought it would be super complicated.
Luckily, with the help of some online resources, it really isn’t as complex as it seems! I’ll be going over the easiest way to make your own cross stitch pattern in this post.
Cross stitch differs from surface embroidery as it uses the squares in the Aida/even weave fabric like a graph, and it’s a style of counted needlework. Instead of just using a stencil to transfer over your design, the easiest way to approach cross stitch is with a pattern on a grid that is all mapped out.
If you don’t follow a cross stitch pattern in this format, you can easily get lost in the pattern or end up running out of room!
If you’ve never used a cross stitch pattern before, I highly suggest you try one out and read this post about how to read cross stitch patterns first. This will help you know how to organize and design your own pattern!
If you’re already a cross stitching pro, then keep on reading!
Free Cross Stitch Pattern Maker Online
I found this free online resource called Stitch Fiddle that I use to make my own cross stitch patterns. I highly suggest signing up for a free account so you can save your work.
There is a paid version, but it just gives you some more room to save projects and more options like duplicating portions of the design, cutting, and pasting.
Designing The Cross Stitch Graph
First, you’ll select what kind of project you’re doing, and you can pick between different types of embroidery thread: Anchor, DMC, or other.
After you’ve selected the kind of floss you’re using, you have the option of creating a blank cross stitch graph or uploading a picture. For this example, I’ll be selecting the blank canvas.
The next thing you’ll need to do is decide what size project you’d like to make. There is a handy cross stitch calculator to figure out what size you’ll need depending on the count of Aida you have!
This is so important, because otherwise you may run out of room when you’re designing your project! You can either enter in the measurements of your fabric or the desired cross stitch count and it will calculate the chart/project size for you.
The biggest thing I’ve learned while making patterns is to over estimate the size you’ll need, especially for a pattern that’s more intricate.
Once you’ve selected the size, you’re ready to start creating! You can choose from literally any of the DMC colors in the sidebar with the color selections.
Here’s an example of a cross stitch alphabet I made with the program!
How to Make a Cross Stitch Pattern From A Photo
This is another feature that’s really cool with this program. You can upload a photo and it will generate a cross stitch pattern from it. Check out how you can create your own cross stitch alphabets this way!
Once the image is uploaded, you’ll get to tweak the cross stitch count and you can see a live version of what the pattern will look like.
Tip: The larger the cross stitch count, the better the quality of the image will be. You don’t want it to be too big though or you may never finish it!
You’ll definitely have to clean up the pattern, however. Also, the best kind of photos are ones that are extremely simple with a minimal color palette. I’ve found that some photos just don’t work well.
Finishing and Downloading Your Pattern
Downloading the pattern is easy and there are a bunch of different file options you can use including image files, docx, PDF, etc. I always like to save it as a PDF file and I try to keep the size of the pattern XXS or XS, as the larger patterns will make the pattern too big to fit on an A4 piece of paper.
The pattern will print out with the color key and the finished cross stitch pattern you created.
Cross Stitch Supplies I Recommend
*** These links are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you choose to purchase through a link. I only recommend high quality products I would use / love!
Scissors – DMC.com
Embroidery Floss – DMC.com
Aida Cloth – DMC.com
Tapestry Needles – DMC.com
Amanda is a hand embroidery artist and teacher. With over 15 years of experience in the craft industry and embroidery, she owns and runs Crewel Ghoul, sharing tutorials and patterns to help inspire fellow crafters to get inspired and creative. In addition to running this website, she teaches on Skillshare and Youtube.