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July 09, 2019
Cross stitch is both super-satisfying and quite addictive and if you’ve been doing it for a while, there naturally comes a point where you’ll start to think up your own patterns and designs. There are a few ways to create your own cross stitch pattern maker, including several online options just for the purpose. But what are the pitfalls? And which are the best? In this post I talk you through some of the ways to make your very own cross stitch pattern and the things to consider before you do.
If you’re taking the first steps into making your own cross stitch patterns then you can likely find the materials to do it already in your house. This method is easy to do but works best for very simple shapes or patterns rather than photos. Just take the image or design you want to turn into a pattern and lay squared or graph paper over the top of it.
Tape the two layers to a window with plenty of natural light coming through and trace your design onto the paper with pencil. Next, trace off a new outline of the design in pencil, making sure you square it off so that each square represents one stitch. Take coloured pencils to fill in the pattern square by square choosing colours that match your threads. Each one will become a cross stitch when you start to follow the pattern.
Pros: Best for beginners to make their own pattern or anyone who doesn’t feel confident with computers or technology. Its cheap and simple to do!
Cons: Your coloured pencils may not match the floss colours you have and the method can be quite time-consuming.
If you want to get started with the odd pattern here and there, you could try free versions of cross stitch pattern software. DMC have their own pattern maker which, although it doesn’t have the level of sophistication the paid versions do, will easily convert any photo into a pattern for you.
You can buy the DMC cross stitch pattern you design for £10 or download it for free when you buy all the threads that you need to complete it. You’ll also have the choice of how many threads you want the pattern to use; 20, 30 or 50. The more thread colours, the more intense and exact the pattern, though of course it also makes it more complicated to stitch which is great if you want a challenge!
Pros: Inexpensive and the photo upload is easy to do.
Cons: If you want the pattern for free, you're restricted to using DMC threads. There are limits to the specifics e.g. size, threads shades and fabric choices. With all of the various online software, some are quite new, unsophisticated or untested.
If you want to make a lot of patterns or take your designing to the next level, then you might want to invest in software to do it. Recent online reviews rate MacStitch (for Mac) and WinStitch (for Windows) highly according to hundreds of users.
Personally, I like using WinStitch. I find it has all of the features I need and is reasonably priced if you're going to use it on a regular basis. Always exercise some caution downloading programmes from the web, but these are worth the investigation if you’re getting serious about making your own patterns.
These software options will allow you to upload really personal photos of family or special occasions, which are perfect for a personalised gift, translated into cross stitch.
Pros: Absolutely the most sophisticated way to make patterns. Lots of professional features.
Cons: Can be expensive and tricky to use at first. Takes some time to learn how to use the software. Occasional glitches and updates required. Prices vary across the board and you’ll need to take the time to learn how to get the most out of the software.
However you choose to design your own patterns you’ll always find plenty of help, advice and tips just here in the Caterpillar Cross Stitch Facebook group. Would you like to learn how to make your own cross stitch patterns? What’s your experience? Please sign up for our email newsletter for the new cross stitch design software, Love it Stitch it here.
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