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Cross Stitch 101: Handmade Patches

Have you ever wanted to make your own patches to stick on your favourite coat or bag, or to sell in your Etsy shop?  Cross stitch patches are great for those little sprite-like designs.  

Patches are easiest to make when they're square, but any geometric shape will work.  Once you get comfortable with the process, you can even begin to follow the contours of the design for more intricate and detailed patches.

What you will need:

  • Stitched design on Aida cloth
  • Sturdy tapestry needle
  • Small, sharp scissors 
  • Iron (optional)
  • Floss for your outline colour

Once you've finished stitching your design, you'll want to cut it out.  This step requires precision, so embroidery scissors are recommended.  Using the holes in the fabric as a guideline, cut straight edges around your entire patch, leaving a border of about five empty spaces between the edge of your design and the edge of the fabric.

Fold the fabric back, leaving a border of one empty space between the edge of your design and the fold.  You can turn your patch face-side-down and carefully iron it to get all of the fabric to stay in place to make the next step easier.

Using a loop start, place the first stitch at any point along the fold in your fabric.  You can use the holes to help keep your edging even.  Always stitch in the same direction, either pushing the needle through the front and pulling it from the back, or pushing through the back and pulling through the front.  Continue to go around the entire design until the edges have a nice, even border and the folds are secured in the back.

You can push the needle through each hole in the fabric twice for better coverage.  If using a lower-count fabric like 14ct, you may also want to push the needle through the half-stitch mark in the weave.

Remember, this is a handmade process, so it may not be perfect.  But that's part of the charm.

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