Book: Subversive Cross Stitch by Julie Jackson

Today I review the new book “Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs for your Sassy Side” by Julie Jackson.

Subversive Cross Stitch Book - Front Cover
Subversive Cross Stitch Book – Front Cover

From the Designer

When my 2006 book went out of print, I got so many emails from people asking where they could find one. Sometimes there would be used copies on Amazon or eBay but the prices were usually ridiculous. Since many of the book patterns are not available on my site, I wanted to keep all of the original patterns and build on those. And since so many people tell me that they refer to my book over and over, I felt like I needed to deliver something bigger and better on top of all that.

The new book has redesigned charts and stitch counts added (thanks to your feedback via Facebook). My contractual deal was to add 10 completely new patterns, but I felt like I could do better so I threw in 7 more patterns that are new to the book. That way, the total number of patterns is FIFTY! Plus, I added a few new alphabets and rewrote/updated the rest. And a great photo of my mom, who is my biggest inspiration in life at a very sassy age 90. Finally, I stitched a new cover at the very last minute.

Subversive Cross Stitch Book - Back Cover
Subversive Cross Stitch Book – Back Cover

Why this book?

I have loved Subversive Cross Stitch for over a decade.  I stitched items from the Natalie Dee Valentine’s kit for two different boyfriends over time. I have the Cross Bitch design hanging proudly on my wall, a gift from Julie Dollery.

The Subversive Cross Stitch book contains 50 of Julie Jackson’s designs.  The designs are listed alphabetically; there is no thematic arrangement.

At the end of the book, Julie provides four alphabets and an empty graph for you to design your own saying.  Then add in one of the border designs and voilà, your own unique design.

Some of the designs are so spot on, some are not my cup of tea. There is such a variety of humour displayed in these designs, that I assume you will find some you think are perfect and some you will simply shake our head over.  Whether you would display any of these in your home or workplace is totally up to you.

All of the designs are small under 90 x 90 stitches and use whole cross stitch only; I recommend this book from beginner to advanced stitchers with an off-beat sense of humour.

Subversive - Whatever


The Subversive Cross Stitch book is an update of Julie’s original book. It is in hard cover and includes 17 new designs.

The designs are presented alphabetically.  The photo of the finished design is on the left hand side while the chart is in the right.  This allows you to flick through the book, looking at the left hand side for inspiration.

The charts are all on the right hand side of each page.  Each chart is small enough to fit on the one page, and still be easily seen and stitched from.  The charts do not use symbols but rather coloured X’s with a floss key to denote the corresponding DMC.  Each of these designs has such few colours that you can easily figure out which colour is which.  They are also simple enough that it doesn’t matter if you mix up two different shades of colour.

Most of the designs are simple enough that you can stitch direct from the book.  However if you prefer to make a working copy to mark off, you will need to make a colour copy of the chart to see the different coloured Xs.

In the chart page of each design, Julie has listed the stitch count and design size (in inches and in centimetres) of each design when it is stitched in 14 count.

Each of the designs have been stitched using DMC floss on white 14 count Aida.  This is a deliberate decision of Julie’s to tempt new people to try cross stitch.

If you are a practised stitcher, these designs are easily adapted to had dyed floss, metallic floss, embellishments, beads, hand dyed fabrics, other fabrics and non-fabric choices.

Most of the designs in this book are not available in individual format.  You will need to purchase the book to see these designs.

If you like sassy sayings and anything on the Subversive Cross Stitch site, I would recommend buying the book.  50 charts at $10-15 (except for Australia of course), inside a hard cover book, is a bargain in anyone’s language.

Love Stinks
Love Stinks

Approximate cost for Project

The Subversive Cross Stitch book is available via your regional Amazon site.

$12.20US   $23.34AUD   $11.51CAD   €15.24   £11.38

Also, Subversive Cross Stitch will sell this book for a limited time.  If you like, Julie can autograph your copy.

Hand Dyer’s Suggestions

I asked our usual hand dyers if they would like to suggest their wares on their favourite Subversive Cross stitch design.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Caitlin picked Fancy F**K and suggests “Dragon Queen or Goldddigger old map style” to stitch it on.

Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 30 June 2015.

Chromatic Alchemy  I have chosen both Khione and Serpentine for Bitch Please. I personally love a red and grey combination and I think Khione is a classy choice it is also subtle enough to accentuate a variegated floss for any stitchers who like to customise their pieces.

For a more colourful combination I have chosen Serpentine, I just love the clash of red and green on this fabric.

Crafty Kitten chose “Hell is Other People.  I’d quite like to see it on Ember, it might need a few tweaks to the colour scheme though – a very dark red for the text is the black doesn’t stand out enough.

It would also work nicely on moondust or moonblush in its original colour scheme.”

Sparklies“I had to choose “Don’t be a Dick”. I know the orginal is attributed to Wil Wheaton, but it’s also the catchphrase of one of my favourite comedians; Adam Hills. To emphasise the contrast between the pastel prettiness of the design and the slightly more shocking nature of the text I’ve chosen Hunnybunny, Summer Skies, Fuschia and Greenfinch threads on Baby Blue fabric.”

Fiberlicious “I choose “Bitch please!” Raunchy Rainbow for the sayings and Poison Roses for the Roses!”


Looking through the Subversive Cross Stitch website, is there one chart that you would just love to do?

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Last Updated: 4 March 2015