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  • Kat Waskett

Does Cross Stitch Fabric Have a Right and Wrong Side?

Have you ever wondered if there was a right and wrong side to your cross stitch fabric?


And if there is, how can you tell...and does it matter?!


The short answer is that technically, yes, there is a right and wrong side but from a practical point of view it will likely be so hard to tell the difference that it probably doesn’t matter which side you use!


So, let's talk about ways that you can identify the right and wrong side (or the front and back!), and when it might be helpful to know this.


If you'd prefer to watch this as a video then just click below >>>


How to identify the front and back of your fabric

The fabric you use for cross stitch, whether that’s Aida, evenweave or linen, will have been woven on a loom so technically the top side of that is the front or the ‘right’ side of the fabric.


The easiest way to tell which side is which is if your piece of fabric has the selvedge on it. This is the more tightly woven piece with little holes along it. And it’s the holes that are the giveaway because where the holes have a raised edge and bumpy feel, that’s the back. The holes will be smoother on the front and appear slightly larger.

Several pieces of Aida fabric showing the selvedge and pointing to the front and back of the fabric

[click on the picture to see a larger version]


If your fabric doesn’t have a selvedge, you may be able to feel that the front of the fabric is a little smoother or looks a little smoother or shinier, and the holes may seem clearer.


Some stitchers say they can feel that the needle goes through the holes of the fabric more easily when working with the front side on top. I can't say that I have never noticed this, but it could be so.


When does it matter to use the 'right' side?

The most obvious situation is for fabric that has been printed only on one side as that would obviously be the side you would want on the front so it's visible.

Several pieces of printed Aida fabric with hand turining corner over to show that it is printed only on one side

It’s also worth inspecting your fabric before you start stitching to see if there are any imperfections, or maybe even any marks on the fabric, so you can make that the back of your work.

This is particularly useful for linen because the natural fibres make it more likely that there will be bobbly bits, or slubs, and you can decide which side you like best.

Piece of linen fabric held in a hand showing slubs (bobbly bits) and an odd  discoloured mark on the fabric

[click on the picture to see a larger version]


If you have hand dyed fabric that is coloured on both sides then you might want to look at each side and decide which you would prefer to use as the front.


The bottom line here is that whatever fabric you are using, if you can see a difference between the sides and you prefer one side over the other then use that. And if you can’t tell, then it doesn’t matter!


Until next time... happy stitching!


Kat


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