Stitch Tips

How to cross stitch
How to backstitch
How to sew half and three quarter stitches
How to make up your coaster
How to finish your hoop
How to get better

How to cross stitch

1. Find the centre of the pattern and see what colour the stitches are.

2. Find the floss in the right colour, remove one strand of the floss (there are six strands in each length).  Fold your floss in half and thread your end through the eye of the needle.

3. Find the centre of the Aida.

4. Starting at the centre back of the Aida, push the needle through a hole to the front (marked 1 on the diagram to the right), pull the needle through but leave your loop of thread at the back.  Take the needle back through a hole on a diagonal from where you have come through the Aida (marked 2).  On your first stitch only, take the needle through the loop of floss (this will secure it).  Pull until the stitch sits neatly on the front.

5. To form and ‘x’ bring the needle through the back of the Aida from the hole below where you started your first stitch (marked 3 above) and down through the front of the Aida diagonally opposite (marked 4).  You can choose to do one stitch at a time or a row of half stitches, turn around and come back.  There’s no right or wrong…


6. When you are ready to finish your floss neatly, thread your needle through several stitches on the back of the Aida and trim the end of the floss.

Tip: When you stitch you will be re-using the same holes for stitches that sit next to each other – there are no gaps between stitches where they are next to each other on the pattern. If you leave gaps between your stitches you might find that the fabric is not big enough for the whole design or it doesn’t fit into a hoop or coaster, if your kit has one. The image shows you what we mean.

How to backstitch

Backstitch using the number of strands of floss specified in the pattern. To backstitch, bring the needle through the Aida one hole ahead of the required stitch…

…and then complete the stitch by taking the needle back into the fabric where the last stitch ended…

Continue for all backstitches.

How to sew half and three quarter stitches

Where you see one or more slightly smaller symbols in a grid square, these smaller symbols denote a half or three quarter stitch, these are smaller than a full cross.

Half stitches

If the symbol looks like this…

…your stitch should look like this…

Three quarter stitches

Depending on the pattern, three quarter stitches may be displayed in two different way but how you stitch them is the same.

When stitching on Aida, stitching the shorter arm of a three quarter stitch means that you will need to push the needle through the threads at the centre of a square, not through the hole as you normally do.

If the symbol looks like this…

…or this…

…your stitch should look like this…

How to make up your coaster

1. Your coaster comes with both a plastic insert and a square piece of card.

2. The pattern is designed, so that there will be room around the outside of the stitched design to trim. Trim to this size. Iron and place face down in the coaster. Cover the back with the square card and then snap the plastic insert into place.

3. Place the coaster face up on a flat surface. Make a drink and admire your handiwork.

How to finish your hoop

You can make your hoop into a frame with or without backing fabric.

1. Iron Aida and backing fabric, if using.

2. Place the Aida wrong side up on a flat surface, centre the inner hoop over the stitched design and mark around the outside with a pencil.

3. If using backing fabric, put the Aida to one side and place backing fabric on a flat surface.

4. Glue around rim of inner hoop.

5. Turn inner hoop glue side down, centre over the backing fabric and press down, pulling the fabric taut over the hoop.

6. Once this is dry, or if not using backing fabric, place the Aida wrong side up, glue around the rim of the inner hoop again, (over the fabric, if using), turn over and place on the Aida, making sure you place the hoop within the mark you drew earlier.

7. Trim the excess fabric at the back of the hoops.

8. Allow to dry, turn right side up and place the outer hoop around the outside of the inner hoop and tighten the screw. The screw should be at the top of the letter. Pull the Aida to stretch it inside the hoop.

9. Trim the excess fabric at the back of the hoops.

10. Hang up, admire and wait for the compliments to flood in!

Tip: we used tailor’s chalk pencil on dark fabric

Tip: We found a glue gun was great for accuracy but dried too quickly and didn’t allow for repositioning. PVA glue worked a treat but don’t use too much. Although one of the great things about PVA is that it dries clear so it is a bit more forgiving. We used a small paintbrush to apply the glue, squeezing it on would have meant we had less control over the amount of glue coming out of the bottle.

How to get better

Tip 1

If you’ve finished stitching an area on your design and you need to use the same colour (colour 1) in a nearby part of the design AND if there are some stitches in a different colour (colour 2) between the two areas of colour 1, thread your needle through the back of the stitches in colour 2 (like step 6 of the “How to cross stitch” instructions but without cutting the thread). This way, there won’t be loopy bits on the back of your stitching.

Tip 2

When working on a design where there will be empty fabric between areas of stitches, don’t be tempted to take the floss a long way across the back of the fabric. It will show, especially dark colours on light fabric. Instead, finish your thread and start again.

Tip 3

For the neatest result on a big project with large blocks of the same colour (like one of our New York designs) sew all the half stitches for one line then return along the same line completing the cross, before moving on to the next line. (Often you will find that your tension isn’t even so you end up with the appearance of pairs of lines if you half stitch large areas, then return to finish the crosses).