Preparing Your Fabric for Stitching

The first step to stitching is preparing your fabric and you don’t know what to do if it’s your first time doing this right? So here are a few ideas and tips to help you get started.

First make sure you have the right size fabric. Most kits come with fabric in them so that part is done for you, however, measure the fabric anyway to be 100% sure. If you bought just a pattern and supplies separate you want to measure your fabric. Now, most patterns will tell you what size fabric you need …. important thing to remember are that your design will be different sizes on different counts of fabric.

Also if you stitching on linen or even weave your design size will change if you are going over one thread or over two threads of the fabric. You may need to use a fabric calculator. There are several gadgets you can buy at your local needlework shop or you can use an online version (easily found by doing a search for “fabric calculator” or “cross stitch fabric calculator” in your favorite search engine.)

Remember before cutting that is always better to measure multiple times than it is to cut the wrong size and bigger is better than smaller. You will want to leave 2 or 3 inches on all sides for finishing/framing your work when you’re done as well so don’t forget to add that extra space.

Now your wondering about those edges…they are so out there and exposed aren’t they? You certainly don’t want fraying to occur while you work. There are a number of things you can do to prevent fraying. One of the easiest ways is to use Fray Check (found at your needlework suppliers online and offline) which is a liquid that you simply dab on the edges and once dry it sort of “glues” them so they don’t fray but it will NOT harm your fabric in any way.

Another way of edging your fabric is to serge the edges on your sewing machine or serger. (Mini sergers work great for this task!) Just run an overcast stitch the whole way around your fabric and ta-da you’re ready to go! A third and classic way to edge your fabric is to simply baste it with a sturdy thread. Just do a basic basting stitch by hand (up, down, up, down) the whole way around the outside edge of the fabric to hold it in place. While more time consuming than the other two ways it still serves the basic purpose.

Now you’re almost ready …. one more thing to do! Find the center of your fabric. The easiest way to do this? Fold it of course! Fold in half lengthwise, unfold, fold widthwise, unfold and where your fold lines meet is the center of your fabric and your first reference point for stitching.

Happy Stitching and enjoy your new hobby!


Loretta Oliver, EzineArticles.com Basic PLUS Author

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About Loretta

I’ve been a cross stitcher since I was 8 years old. It was something I learned as a Girl Scout when we did a project for a badge related to crafts and the group choose to cross stitch a holiday design on a red sweatshirt using waste canvas. (Talk about hard first project, that was such a pain!) I was one of the first ones finished and I’ve had a needle in my hand almost every day since then.

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