How to Cross Stitch On Fabric Without Waste Canvas- 4 Methods Explained

How to Cross Stitch On Fabric Without Waste Canvas
A Cross Stitch

Cross stitch is one of the most popular forms of counted thread embroidery, where designs are formed using x-shaped stitches. Cross stitch is usually done on fabric that is easily countable such as Aida and linen, and waste canvas which offers a versatile option for hard to stitch fabrics. However, despite all its advantages, some people may have a problem using waste canvas for various reasons. If you are among them, the question is how to cross stitch on fabric without waste canvas.

There are several ways you can cross stitch a fabric without using waste canvas. You could use a piece of Aida, use interfacing or stabilizer, cross stitch by drawing boxes, and many other methods listed in greater detail below.

Some of the main reasons why sewers do not want to use waste canvas include the stitches not being tight enough and the extra effort of picking out canvas threads. This article takes a comprehensive look at the basics of cross stitching and how to do it without waste canvas.

How to Cross Stitch On Fabric Without Waste Canvas

Below are four basic methods you can follow if you want to cross-stitch without using waste canvas.

  • Method 1: Cross Stitching Using A Piece Of Aida

The following are steps to follow when cross-stitching using a piece of Aida.

  1. Get a piece of Aida fabric and mark out your pattern on the outside edge of the fabric. You can do this using a ballpoint, sharpie, or fabric pen, but not thread. Then, after finding the perfect position for your cross stitch and attaching it to the piece with tape. Keep it tight but do not cross the area you want to stitch.
  2. Pin the furthest corner down using a straight pin and then continue pinning the regular Aida holes along one edge straight down. Do the same line by line and make a grid of pins along the project edges.
  3. You can then take off the Aida and work on the grid that you have laid out.
  • Method 2: Cross Stitching By Drawing Boxes

Cross stitching by drawing boxes is a great method for anyone who is a beginner at embroidery. The steps are as follows:

  1. You can start this after knotting your first thread or letting it hang back. For the first time, if you are doing it, start by drawing a few squares to help you practice cross-stitching. Push the needle beginning from the back to the right side of the cloth.
  2. Then start the first stitch from the upper corner and go diagonally to the bottom right corner.
  3. At the back of the fabric, push the needle through a straight line to the bottom left. Ensure that it is in line with the first stitch. Then take the needle diagonally to the bottom left of the cross, in a way parallel to where the thread enters the cloth.
  4. Take the needle diagonally to the top right corner. You can stop here if you want a single cross stitch.
  5. If you want to go further, draw squares and repeat.
  • Method 3: The Alternative Process

This method is much easier than the others, and you can use it to stitch large blocks with a single color thread. You can do this by:

  1. With this, you first must move in one direction, the next, and reverse to finish the cross.
  2. Repeat to the end without filling the fabric too tightly as it can cause puckering. Ensure that you stiff the fabric so that it does not get pulled.

When using a thinner fabric, using a hoop to keep the cloth taut is a necessity.

  • Method 4: Sew-In Interfacing

When you are stitching a fabric that has a little stretch, interfacing is necessary to add structure and stability and help stitch without overstretching the fabric. You can get interfacings of varying stiffnesses and weights to suit the type of fabric you are stitching.

Can You Learn Cross Stitching Without Using A Waste Canvas?

Yes, you can. Although waste canvas offers a versatile option for fabrics that are difficult to stitch on, you can do without it and get great results. As mentioned above, there are certain ways you can do cross-stitch without using a waste canvas.

Is It Possible To Cross Stitch Patterns?

Yes. It is. Although it seems like a complicated procedure, making your cross stitch pattern is easier than you think. To make a basic cross stitch pattern, follow the following steps:

Step 1: Choose a Design.

The first step in creating a cross stitch pattern is to choose a design you will work with. You can get inspiration from photographs, books, or magazines. When choosing a design, choose the one with cleaner, better-defined lines and good color contrast for easy stitching.

You could also choose to draw the design and create a custom piece. If you are new to cross-stitch, a simpler design would be best, and you can then move on to more complex designs when you get more experienced.

Step 2: Transfer Your Design to a Grid Paper.

One of the simplest ways you can transfer the design is by tracing. To easily trace the image, lay it on a backlit, flat surface. Backlighting your image is as simple as holding your image against a window on a sunny day. Then place a grid paper that is large enough to fully cover the image on top of it and trace the design. Ensure that you center your grid paper so that the image is roughly equidistant from the edges.

After tracing the basic design, you can then move on to outline the details of your design. Depending on how detailed you want your cross-stitched design to be, you can outline as many or as few details as you like.

Step 3: Complete Your Pattern 

After fully transferring the image, you can then decide on a color scheme for your image. You use the same colors as the original image or come up with your image. Then, mark x’s on your grid to indicate the borders and the design’s fill. Each x will indicate a full cross stitch in your cross stitch pattern. You can then use colored pencils or symbols to color-code your design according to your envisioned final look.

How Do You Cross Stitch On Plain Cloth?

There are several ways you can successfully do cross stitch on plain weave fabric. These include:

  • Using soluble canvas, you baste your fabric, stitch the design, and soak the fabric until the soluble canvas disintegrates.
  • Use waste canvas that you place on top of the plain weave canvas and stitch over it, and then you cut all the canvas threads and pull them out individually.
  • Print your grid, stick it to the fabric using a water-soluble stabilizer, and then rinsing it away when you are done.

Can I Cross Stitch On Any Fabric?

Yes, you can! While the standard and popular fabrics for cross stitch receive the most love, you can cross stitch on almost any fabric out there. The only caveat is that you will sometimes have to change your stitching techniques to compensate for the type of fabric. However, below are some of the fabrics commonly used for cross stitch.

     1. Aida

Aida is usually the go-to fabric for cross stitch due to its uniform size and shape, the fact that it comes in several counts, and it makes beautiful cross stitches.

     2. Linen

Linen is another popular fabric for cross stitch. One of the problems of linen for most people is that it can have natural irregularities such as slubs throughout the fabric’s weave that make it more challenging to stitch on.

However, some people feel that these irregularities also give a finished piece character, giving a more traditional finish. Different types of linen also have varying finishes that do not give a consistent result across fabrics.

     3. Even Weave Fabric

As their name suggests, even weave fabrics have an equal number of stitches both vertically and horizontally, i.e., the same warp and weft count per inch. These features make this fabric more desirable for cross stitch since you will have even stitching holes, and you will not have to deal with inconsistencies in the fabric, such as slubs.

Even weave fabrics also have a higher thread count than Aida, and you can commonly find it in counts of 25, 28 and 32.

How Do You Cross Stitch for Beginners?

Since every cross-stitch comprises two small stitches, cross stitch is easy to pick up and easy to progress and advance in quickly. These features make this technique a great choice of textile art to learn for beginners. Below is a comprehensive guide for novices to cross stitching on how to do it quickly, efficiently, and skillfully.

Step 1: Reading the Cross Stitch Chart

As a beginner in cross-stitch, you will have to learn how to correctly read the chart and the basics of a cross stitch pattern. The main parts of a cross-stitch chart are:

  1. The squares- On the chart, every square, whether occupied or not, represents two threads of linen or a block of Aida unless it is stated otherwise. Also, an occupied square represents one stitch unless it is otherwise stated. 
  2. The gridlines in the chart are usually darker in 10×10 sections to make the process of reading the pattern and counting the stitches easier. A 10×10 section means that the section has ten cross stitches. To make your work easier, you can also choose to mark the grid lines using a water-soluble marker. 
  3. Arrows- The chart will also have arrows used to show the direction toward the design’s center. It is good to start stitching in the middle of the design when you begin every cross-stitch project. Doing this will help you ensure that the final design is centered on the fabric. After looking at your chart, find an area near the center that you can start with, preferably one with a large block of color and not one whose colors change frequently.
  4. Line numbers will help you easily orient yourself and keep track of where you are. 
  5. Symbols and colors- In a cross-stitch chart, the colors indicate a specific color of the thread, while some patterns that do not use color are printed in black and white, using symbols instead.
  6. The key- As in any chart, the key is invaluable in decoding the pattern. It lists the type of thread used and its specific color, the number of strands per stitch, and the listed symbols. Often, the key also provides information on the designer and publisher.
  7. The size of the final product- in most charts, you are also given the size of your finished design will be. You must note that this is not the size to cut your fabric. You should always add a few inches around the final design size to give you adequate room to frame your design.

Step 2: Preparations

Aida and linen are two of the most common fabrics people use for cross stitch. A common feature of both these fabrics is their tendency to fray when they are cut.

To avoid fraying, it is important to bind the edges of the fabric, especially if you are working on a larger project where you will need to handle the fabric regularly. You can choose to sew the fabric edges using a zigzag stitch, or you could use a serger if you own one.

Apart from sewing, several other methods control fraying edges, such as binding with masking tape and anti-fray. Apart from protecting your fabric edges, also iron your fabric before you stitch on it.

Another preparation you should make is to wash your hands. One of the simplest ways to ruin your hard work is by staining the fabric with oils and dirt from your hands. Washing your hands thoroughly with non-oily soaps is the best way to avoid this. After washing your hands, also make sure to dry them well.

Also, if you are using embroidery floss, you can split it and get threads according to the fabric you are using for the best results. 

Step 3: Find Your Fabric’s Center.

Besides the center of your cross stitch pattern, the center of the fabric is also important. Find it by folding the fabric at the center one way, then the other, and marking the center that emerges.

Step 4: Use an Embroidery Hoop

As mentioned above, although not necessary, an embroidery hoop may be what you need to take your work to the next level. Hoops keep your stitches neat and consistent and make it easier to see the fabric holes for the cross-stitch.

Step 5: Thread Your Needle.

If you are cross stitching a kit, it would be best to use the needle that came with the kit. If not, choose the needle carefully according to the type of fabric. Thread your needle just as you would if you were doing hand sewing; without making a knot in the end, knots in cross stitch can leave lumps in your final piece.

Step 6: Stitch 

After deciding where you want to start stitching, you can then work in rows from left to right and stitch your design. If you find working in rows harder, you could instead make a complete cross stitch and move on to the next stitch. Stitch until you finish the stitches on your pattern.

Can You Cross Stitch On Painting Canvas?

Yes, you can. In fact, not only can you cross stitch on canvas, but it is also relatively easier since the fabric is already stretched as a fabric in an embroidery hoop. The painting canvas is also thin enough that you can puncture it easily with an embroidery needle and stitch easily. Canvases are also an affordable choice for a cross-stitch surface.

Why Do You Start Cross Stitch In the Middle?

The fabric center will be the design center. The most obvious reason why it is advisable to start cross stitching from the fabric center is to make sure that, in the end, your design is not off-center. Another reason for this is that you are less likely to run out of fabric when you start at the center before you are done.

However, you do not need to start at the exact center; you can adjust the position to where you feel would be best for you. For example, it would be better to start at an area close to the center with one large block of color and not a complex mix of colors.

Do You Double the Thread In Cross Stitch?

The number of strands you use on cross stitch depends on the type and count of the fabric. If you are working on a 14-count or 16-count Aida, you can use two strands.

You can also mix the amount of thread you use in the same project. If you will use two or more strands for cross stitch, ensure that you separate and realign the strands before you thread your needle and start stitching. 

Can You Cross Stitch Without a Hoop?

Yes, you can! With the right technique, you can cross stitch great designs without using a hoop. Some of the reasons why some people choose not to use a hoop include:

  • When working on a large piece, you do not need to move the hoop, resulting in damaging the fabric continually.
  • You don’t need to worry about removing hoop marks from your fabric when you are done working; processing can be quite frustrating and time-consuming.

Hoops are a necessary tool when working with techniques whose fabrics need to be kept taut. Despite this, there are also several undeniable advantages to using a hoop when working. Some of the advantages of using a hoop include:

  • A taut fabric helps the finished design have a more even and neat appearance.
  • Hooping will allow you to easily work on smaller designs, something that may prove difficult when holding the fabric by hand.
  • A hoop also reduces the amount of time you can handle and crush the fabric, leaving marks from creases, sweat, and dirt.
  • Stitching is also much easier when using a hoop since the holes on the fabric are that much more visible, and counting the stitches is much easier.
  • If you use your hoop in a stand, this can free up both of your hands and make the stitching process more comfortable.

If you do decide to use embroidery hoops, below are some of the types you can use.

     1. Screw Tension Hoops

The screw tension is perhaps the most used type of hoop. Tension is reduced and increased using a screw on the outer ring, hence the name. 

     2. Spring Tension Hoops

Tension in these hoops is created using an inner metal ring that slots into a groove in the plastic outer ring. You can use them by placing the outer plastic frame under the fabric, squeezing the metal ring clips, and pushing it onto the other hoop, after which you can release the clips and release the fabric.

     3. Flexi Hoops

True to their name, Flexi hoops are made from flexible vinyl that looks like real wood and tightly fits over an inner plastic ring. Since the tension on these hoops is not as good as that of other hoops, they are often used in smaller projects. You can also use them for mounting your finished piece.

     4. Frames

Apart from the embroidery hoops, you could also choose to use frames, which are an especially great option for larger projects.

If your fabric keeps slipping in the hoop or frame, you could go the route of many other stitchers and use cotton tape to secure it and keep it from slipping.

Also, when deciding on the size for your hoop, choose one that is large enough to allow you to work on the design without moving it around (this will also help you avoid creases), and without being too large that it is inconvenient to use. 

If you are a beginner at cross-stitching, you can set up two trail projects to determine whether you work better with a hoop or without one. Stitch a design without one and then with a hand-held hoop to give you a better idea of what works for you.

How Do You Stitch Art On a Canvas?

The first step in stitching art on canvas is to decide on the design you want to do. Then carefully lay the design on your canvas and then punch holes using your needle around the lines.

After you punch the holes, you can start stitching from the back of the canvas, deciding on the route you will follow. For a sold line, use the backstitch pattern and for a dashed line, use the simple stitching pattern.

Final Thoughts

Cross-stitching is the oldest form of embroidery from the middle ages, with roots and ties all over the globe. It is also one of the easiest textile art techniques to do, with great, aesthetically pleasing results. With enough patience and practice, anyone can master this technique. Still, the main question is, 

How to Cross Stitch On Fabric Without Waste Canvas.

As we mentioned above, there are various ways you can cross stitch on fabric without waste fabric that also produce great results. Some of these are using a piece of Aida, using interfacing, and more.

We appreciate you for taking the time to read this article to the end and hope that it addressed any questions you had. Feel welcome to leave any comments, suggestions, and questions in the comment section below.

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