How to Make Your Own Cross Stitch Pattern

For the longest time, I had no idea how to approach the idea of making my own cross stitch patterns. I thought it would be super complicated, but 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 fabric like a graph, and it’s a counted needlework style. 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!

Free Cross Stitch Pattern Maker Online

I found a free online resources awhile ago 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 of this, but it just gives you some more room to save projects and options to modify like duplicating portions of the design, cutting, and pasting. This program can also be used for crochet and knitting!

First, you’ll select what kind of project you’re doing, and you can pick between different types of embroidery thread. (I use DMC for everything.)

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 type in the inches of aida you want or the desired cross stitch count and it will calculate it for you. The biggest thing I’ve learned with this is to over estimate the size you’ll need, especially for a pattern that’s more intricate.

cross stitch size calculator

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. 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.

making a cross stitch pattern from a photo
cross stitch pattern of an ace

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.

Pin it for later!

Keep Reading:

Types of Embroidery

How to Embroider a Rose 3 Different Ways

How to Cross Stitch – Free Pattern and Tutorial