Have you wondered how to do
reversible cross stitch?

Yes, it is possible to work reversible cross stitch! The method we are going to use here is easy, and it gives you crosses on both sides of the work resulting in that all-important tidy back to your cross stitch. 

Why would I want to make my work reversible?

Well here are a few reasons...

  • So that when I stitch towels or tablecloths etc. they look good whichever side is visible.
  • So when someone turns my work over to look at the back they are surprised!
  • For the challenge!
  • So that Christmas decorations can twirl on the tree and still look good

Can all designs be stitched this way?

This technique is best suited for designs with simple blocks of color or checked/plaid type patterns. You might find it tricky to stitch more complex designs that use lots of different colors.



How to do it

We will work with a variation of the continental method of working cross stitch; i.e. work a row of the first "legs" of the stitches and cross them on the way back.

The difference is that we will miss out alternate stitches as shown in the photo, below left.

When you have the first "layer" in place you can then work over the area again filling in the gaps in the same manner as before.

To keep the back neat, try to fasten off your threads under their own colour if at all possible. You can work the second "layer" either horizontally or vertically depending on the pattern. If you have a run of stitches in a particular direction then use that as your guide as to which way to go.

If, like me, you use the loop method of starting your thread when working with two strands, you will find an empty area on the back of your reversible cross stitch wherever you start a new thread.

On my stitched sample you can see this where I changed colour from red to green at the bottom centre.

However I have now worked out a way to eliminate this problem. When you take your first stitch, which will create the anchoring loop, work it over the top of an existing cross stitch. (Be careful to make sure the stitch lies in the same direction as the top stitch so as to keep things looking even and tidy.) Then your next stitch is in the gap of the previous layer as normal.

The technique of reversible cross stitch has a lot of potential and is fun to work. Enjoy!

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