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Preparing Fabric For Cross Stitching
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Preparing Fabric for Cross Stitching

One of the most important steps when beginning any cross stitch project is to prepare the fabric. Just like you would prepare a wall for painting, preparing fabric for cross stitch saves you a lot of time, energy and frustration. Removing a whole row of stitches because of just one incorrectly placed stitch is not an enjoyable experience.

Finishing or Securing the Edges of the Cloth

One of the first steps in preparing fabric for cross stitching involves neatening the fabric edges so that they don't fray.

There are three main methods that can be used:

Method 1: With a sewing machine, use zig zag stitch on the raw edges of the fabric. Alternatively, you can fold the fabric over once and secure the edges by stitching in place.

Method 2: Apply a glue-like liquid designed specifically to stop fraying along the raw edges of your fabric. These products provide additional benefits such as keeping the cloth edges soft as well as helping the thread not catching on the edges during stitching. Many cross-stitchers find this method of finishing fabric edges to be the most effective and easiest of all the methods.

Method 3: Fold adhesive tape, such masking tape, over the raw edges of your cloth. This should only be done if you plan to cut the taped edges off completely. If you just remove the tape, it may leave a sticky residue around the edges, which is often hardly visible, that collects dirt. The tape can also be difficult to peel off the fabric. The idea with using tape is NOT to peel it off once you have completed your cross stitch pattern. The piece of fabric should be cut large enough so you can cut off the taped edge.

Finding the Centre of the Cloth

The next step in preparing fabric for cross stitching involves find the centre of the cloth. Finding the centre is very important because it enables centering of the design for an accurate end result. Note that it is far better to have excess fabric than 'just enough', because you don't want to find your finished design is lacking in a fabric border. You should add extra length and width around the design so that you can display your creation the way you envisaged, such as in a frame.

Step 1: Cut the cloth to the appropriate size, remembering to add extra length and width.

Step 2: Fold the cloth in half from top to bottom with a firm crease, ensuring edges match up and are straight.

Step 3: Fold the cloth in half again, this time from side to side, with a firm crease, ensuring edges match up and are straight.

Step 4: Use a needle or pin to mark the folded corner of the fabric. Insert it into the centre point.

Step 5: Unfold the fabric. The needle or pin now marks the approximate centre of the fabric.

Note that finding the exact centre of the fabric requires measuring and counting the fabric squares precisely. For most projects, the above method is suitable.


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