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About Evenweave Fabric

Evenweave fabric is strictly speaking any regularly woven fabric where the warp and weft threads have the same thread count (number of threads per inch), and which is woven "on the square", so that a pattern of stitches worked on it will have the same shape as the design.

It has now come to refer more specifically to the finer fabrics, such as Belfast linen, which are constructed of separate single threads, as opposed to block-weave fabrics such as aida cloth, where the fabric threads are grouped together, forming fabric blocks.


What is evenweave fabric?

If you examine evenweave closely you will see that it is made up of single threads, crossing each other at right angles. For cross stitch, evenweave fabrics are nomally worked over 2 threads of the fabric, which means you miss alternate holes when stitching.

Most evenweaves are made either of linen or the less expensive cotton. Examples of commonly used evenweave linens include Belfast Linen (32 count) and Cashel Linen (28-count) ; and popular cotton evenweaves include Linda (27-count) and Hardanger (22-count) .

What does fabric thread count mean?

Evenweave is classified by its thread count, which is the number of threads per inch of fabric. When you stitch on 22-count evenweave you will get 11 cross stitches per inch, working over 2 threads. 28-count fabric will give you 14 stitches per inch etc. Essentially the higher the fabric thread count, the closer the holes are together on the fabric.

The finer the fabric used, the smaller the stitches become, and therefore the whole design becomes smaller. So if you want a design to be small - stitch it on 32-count evenweave, and if you want it bigger - use 22 count evenweave.

What will be the finished size of my cross stitch design?

You can easily work out how big a design will turn out, if you are stitching over 2 fabric threads on your chosen fabric, by dividing the number of stitches by half the fabric thread count.

So for example if your design is 140 stitches high by 112 stitches wide, and you decide to stitch it on a piece of 28-count evenweave, working over 2 fabric threads, you can work out the size of the finished cross stitch as follows:

Divide the design height (140 stitches) by half the fabric thread count (14) : -
140 divided by 14 = 10".
Now divide the design width (112 stitches) by half the fabric thread count (14): -
112 divided by 14 = 8".

So this design will measure 10" by 8" when stitched on the 28-count evenweave, working over 2 threads .

So what size piece of evenweave fabric do I need?

Start by finding the design size. This is printed on most charts, for example 140 x 112 stitches. This gives the size of the design from the top stitch to the bottom stitch. (in this case 140 stitches), and from the furthest left hand stitch to the furthest right hand stitch (in this case 112 stitches). If the design size is not printed, just count the size on the chart, which is normally divided up into blocks of 10 squares.

If you are stitching a picture to be framed later, you will need to add on say 1" of blank fabric all around the design, unless you want the edges of the design to extend right up to the frame. You will also need about 1.5" of extra fabric all round, so that the picture framer can stretch your work onto a board for framing. So you need to add a total of 2.5" to the top, bottom and both sides, which equals 5" extra.

So you would need 15" (10" + 5") by 13" (8" + 5") in this example, that is 15" by 13" of fabric.

Can I use aida fabric instead of evenweave?

Because some people find evenweave fabric difficult to see, they substitute aida fabric instead. So if the pattern calls for 28-count evenweave stitched over 2 threads of the fabric, they use the 14-count aida stitched into every hole instead. The cross stitches will be the same size, so long as you select an aida whose thread count is exactly half the thread count of the evenweave fabric. For example sustitute 16-count aida for 32-count evenweave, and 11-count aida for 22-count evenweave.

This is a common practice for many stitchers. Among the drawbacks of this are the difficulty of working part stitches on aida, where an additional hole has to be made on the fabic between 2 existing holes. With evenweave these "in-between" holes already exist, which makes the stitching easier and more accurate. Also the aida fabic will show as a more "blocky" background than the finer evenweave, in the unstitched areas.

Remember that aida fabric is stitched into every hole, so working out the size required is different. Please click about aida fabric for more information on this.

Aida and evenweave cross stitch fabrics :

Please click needlework to see our full range of cross stitch.

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