How To Cross-Stitch on an Old Sweatshirt

Have you ever wondered how your grandmother made those beautiful cross-stitched images hanging on the walls of her home? Or have you ever wanted to take up sewing, but thought it was too difficult? Well, if you have ever thought about either of those things, then I have a fun, calming, and simple solution for you! In this post, I will show you how to take an old, plain black sweatshirt, and turn it into something that has your own personal touch added to it.

You’ve probably noticed that embroidery on clothing has taken the modern fashion world by storm, and it can be found in most stores these days. But, it is even more fun to wear something that you’ve stitched yourself! I believe the simplest place for beginners to start is with a cross-stitch pattern on an older clothing item. If you go to a thrift store, you are bound to find a plain shirt or sweatshirt to begin stitching on with a peace of mind just in case you mess up! There are also a ton of simple patterns on the internet to follow with any design you can imagine! For example, below is an image of a pattern that I based my sweatshirt’s design off of.


Here’s how to get started!

1: The first step is to pick your fabric. I would recommend going to your local Goodwill or secondhand shop, and pick out a few plain clothing items. Usually, cross-stitch is done on a specific fabric called Aida fabric. This is because this fabric is great for beginners because it has the small square holes that guide you while stitching, but you can easily put the Aida fabric on the inside of the sweatshirt to use as a guide!

2: Next, you must select the thread you would like to use. Cross-stitching is fun because it gives the creator a lot of freedom! You can stop by any local craft store to pick up a pack of embroidery floss with several colors inside. The floss comes together in 6 strands, but you will split it into 2-3 for cross-stitching.

3: Then, the fun part is picking your pattern. Your best tool here is Googling cross-stitch designs. For instance, I found my pattern by searching “red rose cross-stitch pattern”. If this is your first time trying needlepoint, I would start with a pattern specifically for beginners. You can even create your own patterns by drawing them out on graph paper. 

4: After these steps are complete, you can thread your needle! First, tie a knot at the end of your string so you can begin threading. Pull the thread all the way through, and cross the thread diagonally to create an anchor for your stitching. To visualize this, see the image to the left! You make diagonal stitches going “////////”, and then go back to finish the square unit that looks like the “XXXXX” pattern. A pro tip is to work out from the center.

5: Here is a visual example of how to finish the stitch!






Below is a link to a short tutorial video showing how simple the cross-stitch method is.

And finally, here are images of the old black sweatshirt with the rose embroidery! Cross-stitching is such a fun project that is calming and entertaining. You can work on it in between commutes or on your couch in the comfort of your home! Hand stitching is such a rewarding, personal, and stylish way to spruce up old and plain clothing! It is 100% customizable, and it is the perfect place to start as a beginner!



14 thoughts on “How To Cross-Stitch on an Old Sweatshirt

  1. Help! I love the pattern, but it looks like the flowers have three colors and the leaves have two colors of thread! How do I change colors? What thread colors should I use to reproduce this lovely pattern? Can I purchase the exact pattern so I can recreate it? Thank you for considering this request.

    1. I am so glad you asked! The pattern is one that I pulled from the internet (pictured above) because there are so many accessible ones that are free. You only have to search “(insert your pattern idea) cross-stitch “. The flower does have three colors and the leaves have two, but you can change the colors in any way you’d like. You can use deep red, regular red, and a coral red color for the rose. Usually the pack of thread you buy will come with these color variations!

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