Calculating fabric size, stitched size etc

13th July 2020 By Sarah P Off

Probably the most asked question I see in groups is “I know this chart is stitched on (the count the designer said) count fabric, how big a piece of fabric do I need if I want to stitch it on (the count I want to stitch on) fabric instead?

It’s much more simple than it sounds. You don’t need an app. Even if you’re not good at maths, it’s actually *really* easy to do.

Fabric Count

The first thing you need to understand is that “Fabric Count” literally means “stitches per inch”.

So you stitch on 14 count fabric with 14 stitches per inch of fabric.

Evenweave can confuse matters a little. For many large, full coverage charts, you treat it exactly the same way – for instance 28 count literally means 28 stitches per inch.

For other types of designs, you might see the words “stitched over 2”. What this means for the maths is that you are doubling your stitch size, and instead of getting 28 stitches per inch on 28 count fabric, you’ll get 28/2 = 14 stitches per inch. Which makes it the same size as 14 count.

So… what does this mean?

Well, if you know the stitch count.. and you know what fabric you want to stitch on..

You divide the stitch count by the fabric count. That’s the stitching size. (remembering if you’re working over 2, that the “fabric count” is effectively halved)

For example if you have a chart that says it’s 237 stitches wide by 278 stitches tall, and you like to stitch on 16 count fabric..

First divide 237 by 16. You’ll get 14.8125 as your answer. Round it up, it’s easier. Let’s call it 15.
Then divide 278 by 16. You’ll get 17.375 as your answer. Let’s round that up too, which makes it 18.

So your total stitched area will be 15″ x 18″. BUT that means stitching right up to the edge of the fabric which isn’t a good idea for a number of reasons – the edge might fray, so you could lose stitches, and you can’t frame it because there’s no excess fabric to mount the stitching with.

Add a border

So we add a border. For small pieces, you might only want an inch either side (if you’re making cards for instance). For larger ones, allow a 3″ border on either side.

Because your border is at BOTH sides (right+left, and top+bottom) you double your allowance.

So for the example above, we’re going to add a total of 6″ to our measurements.

This means you’d need a piece of fabric that is:
15+6 by 18+6 = that’s 21″ by 24″.

And you’re done.

Using this simple method you can calculate the size of ANY design (as long as you know the stitch count) in ANY fabric you want to stitch it on.

You could even do something like the following..

I have a blank space on my wall and I want to put a cross stitch picture on there. I know the size of the space on the wall, and I’ve got a couple of pieces in mind that I like, and I know the fabric I like to work on.

The space on the wall is 24″x24″. I know that I’m going to need to allow my 3″ border on each side, so I can look at designs that are a maximum size of 18″x18″. (24-6).

I like to stitch on 25 count fabric (over 1) as I like full coverage designs.

I know that 25 count means 25 stitches per inch, so the maximum size design I can look at is 18×25=450 (18 inches x 25 stitches per inch). So if either of the designs I like are 450×450 or less, then I know it’ll fit in the space on the wall.

Handy, eh?