Yes, there are many websites that have cross-stitch calculators that make it easy to figure out how much fabric you need for your next project. In fact, the online cross-stitch calculator on the Yarn Tree website is a personal favorite.
You can even download a cross-stitch calculator app onto your phone or tablet.
But, I would hate to see people paying money for an app for a simple equation one can easily do on the calculator that comes pre-installed on most devices.
So, let’s take the mystery out of how to calculate your fabric size.
What numbers to do you need to know?
First, you need to know the size of your cross-stitch pattern. How many stitches high is it? How many stitches wide? Usually this information is printed on the pattern somewhere, but if not, you can count the squares in the pattern to get these numbers.
Next, you need to know the what kind of fabric you are using and the the count of the fabric. Is it 14-count aida? 32-count linen? The count just refers to the number of threads per inch in the fabric. If you’re not sure about the count of your fabric, grab a ruler, place the ruler against your fabric, and count the numbers of threads between the edge of the ruler up to the one inch mark. (Yes, I’ve had to do this when I’ve lost fabric information!)
Now, all you need to do to calculate your base fabric size is divide the number of stitches by the count of your fabric.
Ah, but there’s a catch! If you are stitching over 2 threads on linen or evenweave, you want to divide the count of your fabric in half before calculating. For example, if you are stitching over 2 threads on 32-count linen, divide the number of stitches by 16, not 32! However, if you are stitching over one thread (as many HAED stitchers do), then, yes, divide by 32.
Let’s say your pattern is 80 stitches high x 120 stitches wide and you want to stitch it on 28-count evenweave over two threads. Here are the basic equations:
80 ÷ 14 = 5.7 inches high
120 ÷ 14 = 8.6 inches wide
So, the pattern will require at bare minimum 5.7 x 8.6 inches of fabric.
But, you also need to add some extra space around the design so you can frame or finish your piece. Most stitchers add 2-3 inches of extra space around the design.
If you want two inches of extra space all around your design, add 4 to both the width and height of your calculated fabric size. So, in the example above, you will need a piece of 28-count evenweave that is 9.7 x 12.6 inches. (I usually round up, so I’d cut a piece of fabric that is 10 x 13 inches just to be on the safe side!)
Helpful? Too complicated? The Yarn Tree calculator is really good if you just don’t want to bother with the division yourself.