Calculating fabric size

This weekend we are going to tackle that thorny question: How do I know what size fabric I need?

You need to know:

  • the stitch count of the chart
  • the fabric count you wish to stitch it on
  • Whether you are stitching over two or over one
  • What margin of fabric you want to leave

Stitch count

This is the number of stitches wide x tall the chart is.  Many designers list this information on the front or back cover of the chart. I list it in every review.

If there is no stitch count, then you will need to count the stitches yourself.  Usually the chart will have stitch numbers listed on the top and down the side of each chart at the 10 stitch line.

stitch count

So in the above example, the stitch count is 77 wide.  (It is 81 across but I know this designer leaves two blank rows all way around).

Fabric count

You need to decide what fabric count you wish to stitch your design on; 14ct Aida, or 28ct evenweave or 10ct Tula.

 Over One or Over Two

This refers to the number of threads you stitch your crosses over. Aida is usually stitched over one in that you stitch through every hole.

Evenweave is stitched over two in that you stitch into every second hole. For some designs, such as art-to-stitch, you will stitch tiny stitches into every single hole; so stitching over one.

Margins

Usually you don’t stitch to the very edge of your fabric. The size of your margin depends on how you want to finish your item; pillow, framed, etc.  You need an inch or so to sew in when making into a cushion or pillow, but three inches or more when framing, especially when using a matt or two.  I find it useful to add a three-inch margin all way around as this allows more options if you change your mind mid-stitching. You can always cut off excess fabric, but it is difficult to add the same fabric back on.

So for our example today we will use:
Stitch count: 77 x 107
Fabric count: 28ct
Over 1 or Over 2: Over two
Margin: 3 inches

Old School

This is the maths behind all of those converter apps and programs so you can work it out for yourself.

In essence, it is stitch count / (fabric count / over) + (margin x 2)

In our example:

Width = 77 stitches
Stitch count / over = 28/2 = 14 stitches per inch
Margin = 3 inches (we have margins left and right so x 2) = 6 inches

So width 77 / 14 + 6 =   11.5 = 11½ inches

Length = 107 stitches
Stitch count / over = 28/2 = 14 stitches per inch
Margin = 3 inches (we have margins left and right so x 2) = 6 inches

So height 107 / 14 + 6 =   13.64 = round up to 13 ¾ inches.

So you need a piece of fabric 11½ x 13¾”  or a fat eighth (13 x 18″)

If you want your design to be bigger or smaller, run your calculations again with a different fabric count or change your margins.

If your eyes just glazed over at the above, never fear, there are a number of smart phone apps that can do the maths for you.

Android apps

Cross Stitch Fabric Calculator

Cross Stitch Fabric Calculator. Available as both a free and a paid app.

This application helps cross stitchers determine what size fabric they need before starting a project. You enter your stitch count, the fabric thread count, and an optional border. You are then told what size fabric you will need for your project. Optionally, we also calculate the fabric size if you are stitching over two threads.

Cross Stitch Fabric Calculator 2

This app rounds up all calculations to the nearest whole inch, giving our test chart a result of: 12″ x 14″.  This app does not convert to centimetres.

 

Cross-stitch Fabric Calculator

Cross-stitch Fabric Calculator.  Available only as a paid app.

Allows you to calculate the size of your finished fabric based on your stitch count.

Enter the width and height in stitches of your work, along with the fabric count size, and get a finished size in inches/cms.

Cross-stitch Fabric Calculator 2

This app calculates the answer to one decimal place, giving our test chart a result of: 11.5″ x 13.6″.  It also provides the decimal equivalent, 20cm x 25.4cm.

 

Cross-stitch Count Coverter

Cross-stitch Count Converter. Available only as a paid app.

This simple application will allow you to find out the size of the required fabric if you were to change your existing cross stitch design to a different count size.

For example, if your current Aida size was 10″ x 10″ in 10 count, if you were to switch to 14 count then your required fabric would be 8″ x 8″ (rounded up).

Cross-stitch Count Coverter 2

This app only works with whole numbers, so for our test chart you need to use 12″ x 14″. This app does not convert the results to centimetres.

Apple iOS apps

Cross Stitch Fabric Calculator ios

Cross Stitch Calculator. Available as both a free and a paid app.

This application helps cross stitchers determine what size fabric they need before starting a project. You enter your stitch count, the fabric thread count, and an optional border. You are then told what size fabric you will need for your project. Optionally, we also calculate the fabric size if you are stitching over two threads.

Cross Stitch Fabric Calculator ios 2

This app rounds up all calculations to the nearest whole inch, giving our test chart a result of: 12″ x 14″.  This app does not convert to centimetres.

 

Cross Stitch Calculator Plus

Cross Stitch Fabric Calculator Plus. Available as  a paid app.

This app allows you to quickly calculate the correct size of fabric that you require for your cross stitch projects. Simply enter the stitch count, fabric type, border size and whether you’re stitching over 2, and watch as the optimal fabric size instantly updates, ensuring you never buy the wrong size again!

Cross Stitch Calculator Plus 2

This app requires that you add both margins in the border area; if you want 3″ borders all way around, you need to add 6″ into the calculator.  This app rounds up all calculations to the nearest whole inch, giving our test chart a result of: 12″ x 14″.  This app does not convert to centimetres.

 

FabriCalc

FabriCalc. Available as  a free app.

FabriCalc is a handy utility for working out the size of cloth you need for cross stitch, tapestry, rug making, beadwork, tiling and many other types of craft.

You simply enter the number of stitches, the number of stitches per inch, and a value for the amount of spare material around the edge.
Then click the calculator button to see the size of cloth you require. Tap the Metric or Imperial ruler icons to switch between measurement systems.

FabriCalc 2

This app calculates the answer to one decimal place, giving our test chart a result of: 11.5″ x 13.6″.  This app does convert to centimetres, giving a result of 20cm x 25.4cm..

 

Windows app

Fabric calculator
A program for those who love to Cross Stitch! Determine your fabric size by entering your stitch count, fabric thread count, and border.  Supports stitch over count, displays actual fabric size, displays recommended fabric size and now displays either Inches or Centimeters.

Fabric calculator 2

This app calculates the answer to one decimal place, giving our test chart a result of: 11.5″ x 13.6″ but then adds a recommendation of 12″ x 14″.

This app does not convert the result to centimetres, but you can run the whole calculation through in decimal. Unfortunately this app only allows full numbers to be used so a 3″ margin (which converts to 7.5cm) cannot be used, you would have to increase the margin to 8cm or lower it to 7cm.

My heartfelt thanks to Ian Dollery, Stephen Silk and Kathy Hoover for testing the different types of devices for me!

 Discussion

Do you have other apps that you prefer to use? If so, please comment below and I will add them to this review.

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