Make your own cross stitch patterns

Want to make your own cross stitch patterns? Get started by grouping together motifs and make your own cross stitch sampler

how to make your own cross stitch pattern square

Do you want to take your first steps to make your own cross stitch pattern? Make a start by using smaller cross stitch motifs to make your own unique samplers


These versatile sets usually contain between 30-50 motifs every issue, giving you a huge catalogue of designs to choose from. You could mix and match or stick to one set to create a stylish themed sampler. This example uses motifs from a beautiful Art Nouveau Design Library, which feature in The World of Cross Stitching issue 292. We have other Design Library collections available on Gathered for you to use – try our baby cross stitch patterns for a set of motifs by Diane Machin.

Creating your sampler is a great way to personalise your work and is so easy to do, just follow my step-by-step guide from selection to stitch

how to make your own cross stitch patterns

 After you’ve picked your Design Library(s) theme, you’ll need to think about how big your sampler will be so you know how many motifs will fit. Maybe you have a frame picked out already, or know how big a wall space you want to fill? Cut a piece of fabric 15cm (6in) larger on both the height and width of your intended design. This gives you enough extra fabric for framing. Lightly mark your aperture size with tailor’s chalk or use pins to mark out the area. If you don’t yet have your fabric, cut out a piece of paper to your intended aperture size to use as a template (use newspaper for larger samplers). Our example uses nine designs along with a backstitched date and initial for a square sampler measuring 15x15cm (6x6in).

 Now the fun can begin – choosing your motifs! You can select your favourites, pick ones that go together to make up a scene or simply leave it to chance for a fun creative idea. Draw around them in pencil, so you don’t forget which ones you picked. It’s also a great idea to add your initials and a completion date too, to turn it into an heirloom piece. Each Design Library comes with a backstitch ABC, which you could plot out on graph paper before you stitch. 

 Next, work out the design area of each of your chosen motifs. Simply count how many stitches high and wide they each are, divide each amount by your fabric count (14 for 14-count aida) to calculate the measurement in inches, and then multiply by 2.54 to convert to cm. 

 Make paper templates of each motif using your measurements and approx. design shape. Label each template, so you don’t forget! You can then arrange these within your aperture space on the fabric or paper template – have fun playing around with what design works where, ensuring there’s a couple of cm gap between each. Pin them in position when you’re happy with the layout, then lightly draw around them in tailor’s chalk or mark with pins. 

 You can now start stitching, following your guides for positioning. You may find it easier to find the centre of each motif on the charts, so you can position them accurately onto your fabric. You could also use Zweigart Easy Count aida for extra precision when counting stitches.  


Your sampler is sure to be a unique piece. Click for tips on selling cross stitch and check back here soon for the next steps in how to make your own cross stitch patterns.