Looking for inspiration for your next cross-stitch pattern? This collection of 25 free, modern cross stitch patterns is full of ideas, from florals to flip flops to winter woodland animals. In this list, you’ll find something for everyone. Happy stitching!
What is Cross Stitch?
Cross stitch is a type of embroidery that uses colorful threads to stitch patterns and designs onto evenweave fabric. Counted cross stitch is the art of working X-shaped stitches to create a pattern or a picture, according to a gridded pattern or chart.
Cross stitch is a fun way to create nearly any design or picture. Cross-stitch art is often seen hanging on a wall or in a picture frame. But framed pictures aren’t the only way to display your beautiful designs! You can also stitch your pattern onto a bag or pillow, make it into a bookmark, patch, or keychain, stitch directly onto clothes, tablecloths, quilts, and so much more!
Cross-stitch patterns also make incredibly thoughtful gifts. Because cross stitch is a detail-oriented craft that takes some time commitment, giving a cross stitch gift is truly a way to say that you care. Below, you’ll find ideas for new baby gifts, teacher appreciation gifts, and beautiful designs that can be stitched on a pillow, bag, or canvas for a friend.
Cross Stitch Basics
Here are the basic steps you’ll need to know in order to create your cross-stitch project.
Preparing your Fabric
First, start by preparing your fabric. 14-count Aida fabric is most common for cross stitch. The number 14 indicates that there are 14 holes per square inch.
Start by finding the center of your fabric. You can do this by folding it in half both ways and then finding the meeting point in the middle. Next, center your fabric within your embroidery hoop and tighten your hoop down using the screw. This will keep your fabric taut while you work.
Dividing your Embroidery Floss
Once your fabric is ready, you can prepare the first color of floss that you’ll be using. Most embroidery thread is made of six strands, but most patterns suggest using only one or two strands at a time. Pull out one or two strands (as specified by your pattern) and cut a section about 18″ long.
Thread your needle as you would for sewing, but don’t tie a knot in the end. Knots can cause your fabric to be bulky in certain spots, and the end of your floss will be stitched over enough to be held in place anyway, making a knot unnecessary.
Reading Cross Stitch Patterns
It’s almost time to start stitching! Orient your pattern so that it’s facing the same direction as your fabric. In most cases, it’s best to start in the middle of your chart (unless otherwise specified). If it’s not easy to find the middle, you can use a pencil and a ruler to help you find the center stitch.
As you read your cross-stitch pattern chart, keep in mind that each square marks a single stitch on your fabric grid.
It’s time to make your first stitch. Start at the back of your fabric and draw your needle through to the front, leaving a 1″ tail. Hold the tail securely with your other hand. After you have a few stitches in place, your tail should be held in place on its own.
Continue working your needle through your fabric to make an “X” shape. As you work your pattern, be sure to make all of your stitches in the same direction.
Cross Stitch Supplies
Here are some supplies you’ll need to create your cross-stitch project.
Aida fabric – White, 14-count Aida fabric is the most common. Larger fabric, such as 6-count, is great for beginners, while smaller fabric (18-count and higher) is for very experienced crafters.
Embroidery floss – Your pattern will tell you which color codes to use, but feel free to exchange for a similar color (or something different altogether!).
This small and simple apple cross stitch pattern is ideal for kids or beginners to make. This happy apple is perfect for teacher gifts! There are three different size options, so younger kids can use fabric with bigger holes.
Check out these pretty vintage flowers! The colors, reminiscent of pansies, really pop on black fabric. Keep in mind that stitching on black can be a bit more challenging than stitching on white, making this project best for intermediates.
What says summer like a handful of juicy strawberries? You’ll only need three colors for this simple strawberry design. It’s perfect for farmhouse decor, gardeners, or anyone who enjoys this sweet and tasty fruit (but really, who doesn’t??).
So cute! While this vintage bike with a basket requires a handful of colors, most of them are only used for less than 10 stitches (and can be exchanged for any color you like). In fact, none of the colors in this pattern require very much floss, so this bike is perfect for using up extra thread.
Did you know that you can cross stitch on burlap? When stitching on burlap, you’ll need to look closely to see the squares, so be sure to find a well-lit area to work in. Or, simply use Aida cloth instead - these roses are beautiful either way!
Pin this post: Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards so that you can come back to it later.
Leave a comment: We love to hear your feedback. Tell me in the comments below!
Share on Instagram or Facebook: When you make this project, share it on social media and tag me @sarahmaker_. We love to see what you make!
Have questions? Join the Facebook Group!
We hope this article was useful for you! If you have any additional questions, feel free to join my Facebook Group. We created this group for you to share pictures, ask questions, and help each other out.
Sarah Stearns has helped millions of makers find their next craft project with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials on her blog, sarahmaker.com. Read more.
With over a decade of experience in knitting and crochet, she has been featured in prominent publications like The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, and Lifehacker.