As suggested by the name, cross-stitch sewing projects are those in which small crosses are created using multi-colored thread. These patterns are often quite intricate, and can take weeks or even months to complete. It is of no surprise, then, that cross-stitched towels, pillowcases, and even tablecloths are often handed down as family heirlooms, and treasured for years upon end. For best results when it comes to completing a challenging cross-stitch pattern, some basic tips are recommended.
Review the Pattern before Completing the Project
When it comes to sewing a cross-stitch project, evaluating the pattern itself is essential for achieving good results. A cross-stitch pattern should be appraised not only for its difficulty level, but also for its appeal and time requirements. If a pattern is especially large and/or complex, make sure that you have adequate time to complete it and are drawn to the project before starting, as a pattern that is not enticing may get discarded after a period of time. Reviewing a pattern before starting the project may also alert you to any new stitches that you may need to brush up on before starting to sew.
Start in the Center of the Project
Starting in the center of the project is also an important tip to keep in mind when sewing a cross-stitch pattern. Beginning in the center of the project will not only aid you in centering the cross-stitch in the correct position, but can also prevent errors associated with incorrect counting, which often occur when patterns are started on one side or the other. The center of a cross-stitch pattern is typically marked with an “X,” circle, or other obvious symbol. In very large patterns, there are typically instructions for locating the center of the project. If you have difficulty locating the center of the pattern, read all directions that come with the project carefully. This information should be provided somewhere.
Use Clean Hands
As with most sewing and/or arts and crafts projects, washing your hands before sitting down to sew helps keep your pattern clean. Since most cross-stitches require hours and hours of time, having it ruined by a large grease stain, caused by dirty hands, would be heart-breaking. Make sure that your hands have also been thoroughly dried before returning to your sewing project. Getting cross-stitch fabric wet may cause it to stretch, thereby distorting the look of the finished project.
Finally, working slowly and taking your time while sewing are also good tips to keep in mind when sewing a cross-stitch pattern. Once a project begins to take shape, many sewers are eager to work until completion. However, sewing for many hours at a time can not only be hard on your eyes, but also tends to lead to mistakes in the sewing itself. While many of these mistakes can be easily remedied, others cannot-and you don’t want to risk making a serious error simply because your eyes are tired from too much sewing. Try to limit yourself to one hour at a time for best results. Take a break, walk around, and rest your eyes for at least 30 minutes before returning to the cross-stitch.