Working a Partial Cross Stitch

Monday, November 28, 2011

Often you’ll run across a pattern that calls for a partial cross stitch – either a half of a stitch, or a quarter of a stitch. While a quarter of a stitch is easy, working a half stitch can be a little trickier.

Here’s a little tutorial that’ll make it easy to know how to work a half stitch in a cross stitch project, suitable for use with any DMC Embroidery Thread.

A full cross stitch (top diagram) is worked using two diagonal stitches. The first half of the stitch is worked on the bottom – from the lower left to the upper right (shown in light red).  The second half is worked on top of the first stitch in the opposite direction – from the upper left to the lower right (shown in the darker red).

The partial stitches should always be worked in the same manner to keep the stitching consistent:

When stitching for use in the upper left area of a pattern, the full lower stitch is worked, followed by a partial upper stitch that meets the lower stitch in the center of the stitch area.

When stitching for the upper right area of a pattern, the partial lower stitch is worked first from the center of the stitch area to the upper corner. this stitch is followed by the upper stitched, worked across the entire stitch area.

To work a partial stitch in the lower left area of a pattern, work the partial lower stitch first, working from the lower left to the center of the stitch area, followed by the  upper stitch.

…and in the lower right area of a pattern, work the lower stitch first, followed by a partial upper stitch worked from the center of the stitch area, over the lower stitch, and into the lower left corner.

That’s all there is to it!




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5 Responses to “Working a Partial Cross StitchComment RSS feed

  • Johanna
    December 1st, 2011 8:37 am

    I have struggled with doing partial stitches, especially when you are going to have a backstitch line that comes across it. I am never satisfied with the way it comes out. If I do it the way your diagrams show, the addition of backstitch makes it appear too bulky. If I essentially just do quarter stitches on each side and allow the backstitch to run between them, sometimes I can see the background fabric behind.

    • admin
      December 2nd, 2011 6:54 am
      Author's Reply

      Good point! Sometimes it’s best to ignore the directions and do what looks best, or gives the desired effect. ~Emma

  • Kirstin
    December 5th, 2011 11:15 am

    I am puzzled by the directions for a full cross stitch. I have always stitched the upper stitch from the lower right hand corner to the upper left hand corner. I’m sure it doesn’t matter which way it is done but wanted to ask about that.


    • admin
      December 6th, 2011 8:10 am
      Author's Reply

      Are you right-handed or left handed?
      Left-handed stitchers will often stitch the opposite direction.
      Both ways are fine – as long as the stitches are consistent throughout the entire project. ~Emma

  • Peter
    July 9th, 2013 3:09 am

    Hi Emma…I have dived straight in with a non beginner pattern, I have had trial go with a simple pattern to get the idea, but am a little confused with the part stitch. I understand your instruction they make perfect sence. However my pattern calls for two colours to be used with two half stitches, but does not say which colour should be used for the primary first cross. Ie. first stitch, bottom left to top right… colour indicated for half stitch, bottom right to centre, second colour for top left to centre.

    Any advice


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