Get Creative with Cross Stitch Patterns

butterfly with Japanese characters

Thanks to cross stitch patterns, you can create many decorative items for your home or to use as gifts. You don't have to be an avid cross-stitcher to use patterns in creative ways. In fact, there are ways to get creative with complicated cross-stitch projects that make them more appropriate to your skill level. Once you learn how to modify a cross-stitch pattern, you can get more use out of those piles of patterns sitting around your house.

Modifying Patterns

There are several simple ways you can modify a pattern for your own purposes. Most are quite simple ways that even beginners can do.

Add a Quote

Does the pattern look a little dull? One way to personalize cross stitch patterns is by adding a quote to the design. Whether you choose something Biblical, a pop culture reference, or words of wisdom that come straight from your heart, you'll create a piece that's perfect for the occasion.

Partial Chart

cross stitch project

You don't need to stitch an entire chart. In fact, stitching an entire chart is unnecessarily time consuming. For example, if you were stitching a portrait of Scarlett O'Hara from the film Gone With the Wind, it might take you years to stitch her from head to toe. Stitching a design that portrays her from head to shoulders is far more manageable. No matter what you are stitching, if you are pressed for time, identify the most essential elements of the design. When a large pattern doesn't fit your needs, look for a good 5"x7" design hidden inside

Pick One Element

One great way to rethink patterns is to use a piece of a more complex design in a smaller project. You could choose a single flower from an entire field and stitch it on a bookmark. Take the angel out of a nativity scene for a Christmas ornament. The key is to look at a pattern with an eye for its parts. What would look great stitched on a towel or tote bag? You'll get countless extra uses out of your cross-stitch charts if you look at them with this idea in mind.

Choose Your Own Palette

Who says that the teddy bear has to be light brown when your favorite bear is the color of dark chocolate? Whether you make a simple substitution or rewrite the entire floss key, you can make a pattern your own by re-imagining it in a different color scheme.

cross stitch supplies

Adding Flair

Modifying existing patterns isn't the only way to get creative. You can make simple patterns more exciting or use cross-stitch in ways that you previously hadn't considered.

Adding Beads

You can make any cross-stitch project a little fancier by adding beads. You don't need to modify patterns to incorporate beads into a cross-stitch project. You simply need to thread a bead with floss on the design side of the project. Start the stitch, add the bead and complete your stitch. Then secure it in place by adding the second crossing stitch. This is a great way to give your designs extra texture.


Another way to get creative with cross-stitch is to make your own patches. These are like the patches that high school kids and scouts have put on their clothing for decades. However, armed with your knowledge of cross-stitch, you can create patches that show off anything that is special to you. This makes you able to show the world your love of classical music or soul as easily as some people display their love of heavy metal and punk.

Getting Creative

Patterns are a guide to cross stitching and should be treated as such. There is nothing forcing you to follow a cross stitch pattern exactly. Once you have gained some experience, you will be able to tell what works best from a pattern and what you can throw out. You can also improvise you own embellishments. The more experience that you get, the more adept you will become at deviating from the pattern. This will make even the most basic commercial pattern something special.

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Get Creative with Cross Stitch Patterns