Cross Stitch-What size will the stitched design be?


Bee Joyful A13466 $8.00
Frame A20326 $46.00
Bee Joyful Floss Pack A19199 $9.59
14-count parchment A12857 $3.69

A frequent question asked at the store is how to determine what size fabric is needed for cross stitching projects. Calculating the necessary fabric size may seem confusing at first but here are some tips to help you get started.


The first step is to determine how many stitches you will be making per inch. To do that, you will need to determine if you’re stitching “over 1″ or over 2.”

Aida fabric is stitched “over 1.” Over 1″ simply means that you bring your stitch up in one hole and go down in the next hole diagonally adjacent. It’s called “over 1” because you are crossing only one fabric thread in the fabric. So, if you’re using 14-count Aida, you will make 14 stitches per inch; 16-count Aida yields 16 stitches per inch and so on.

If you are using an evenweave linen, or a similar fabric,  you are likely stitching “over 2.” “Over 2” means that your design is stitched over two fabric threads – two horizontal and two vertical. Since you’ll be making one stitch for every two holes in these types of fabrics, your stitches per inch are usually half of your fabric thread count. For example, if you use a 32-count linen, stitching “over 2” means that you will have 16 stitches per inch.

In our Bee Joyful project at the top, we’re using 14-count Aida so we’re making 14 stitches/inch.


Once you’ve determined how many stitches you’ll be making per inch (whether you’re stitching over 1 or over 2), the second step is to calculate the design area of your project. To calculate your design area, you first need to know your stitch count. Some patterns will tell you this and some patterns require you to figure it out on your own.

In the Bee Joyful kit, we are given the stitch count.


But if the kit doesn’t tell you the stitch count, you can easily figure it out yourself. What you’re looking for is the maximum number of stitches both in height and width of your design.

So in the graph from Wichelt Imports below, the stitch count is 21 stitches high and 18 stitches wide.


To calculate the height, count from the highest stitch in the chart down to the lowest stitch. I’ve added purple arrows in the image below showing where to stop and start counting. In this case, our design is 21 stitches high.


To calculate the width, count from the first stitch on the left side of the design over to the last stitch on the right side of the design. I’ve added purple arrows in the image below showing where to stop and start counting. In this case, our design is 18 stitches wide.


Once you know your stitch count, divide those numbers by the number of stitches you will be making per inch. So if we used 14-count Aida for our kitty project, we take both 18 and 21 and divide them each by 14. That result is approximately 1.5 x 1.2 so we can tell that our finished project will be approximately 1 1/2″ inches high by 1 1/4″ wide. Note that on the kitty project, it gives a finished design size of 2.25″ x 2.25.” That includes the extra fabric left on the sides which we’ll discuss in the next step.

In the Bee Joyful design shown at the top of the post, the stitch count is 103 stitches high and 74 stitches wide. Dividing those numbers by 14, we can tell that our finished design will be approximately 7 1/4″ high x 5 1/4″ wide.


The final step is to decide how much extra fabric you want to show beyond your design. The amount of space you’ll want to add depends on whether you’ll be framing your project and, if so, what size frame. Some projects look better with some unstitched space between the design and the edge of the frame. And some projects look better without unstitched space.


Santa’s Secret 34866 $10.00

In this Santa’s Secret example, the project looks much better matted and framed directly up to the edges of the design.


In our Bee Joyful example, we wanted almost two inches of unstitched fabric between the design and the frame. Since the finished design is approximately 7 1/4″ x 5 1/4,” we added 1 3/4″ inches to all four sides so that our finished size is 9″ x 7.”

And in the kitty project, the instructions call for it to be framed in a square of 2.25″ x 2.25.”

In all cases, you will need enough fabric to wrap around the back of the project so that it stays taut when framed so planning for that ahead of time will help.

I hope that helps you decide what size fabric you need for your next project!

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Happy Stitching!

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