Getting Started with Stitch People – What do I need?

Does this sound familiar? You’ve decided to take the plunge. You clicked the purchase button and your brand spanking new DIY Stitch People book is on it’s way to you but you want to get started now!!! So you decide to start gathering materials so you are ready to dive in as soon as your book arrives on your doorstep but what do you need?!

We get this question A LOT so today we’ll go through everything you need to get started with Stitch People!

If you are one of those people with the patience of a saint and can wait a little bit longer to get started, we can take the hard work out of searching for and gathering materials with our Stitch People Starter kit. This will include everything you need to get started on your portraits and it will be delivered straight to your door. If you’d prefer this option, just head to our website for more info!

If you don’t mind doing a little ground work, read on. By the way, all this information and more will appear in your DIY Stitch People book so don’t worry if you can’t get to the store before it arrives.

The Frame

First off, you need something to hold your fabric tight so that you can cross-stitch onto it. We usually work with Q-snap frames which you can normally find in the needlework or sewing section of your craft store. If you can’t find a Q-snap or would prefer something more traditional, you can instead use an embroidery hoop. They range in price but the higher price will typically indicate the level of quality. You can also use these to frame your finished piece!

The Fabric

When you have your frame, you obviously need something to put in it! Most cross stitch patterns will recommend Aida fabric. This is the name for fabric that has a certain weave that creates tiny grid like holes forming tiny squares. Your cross stitches will cover these tiny squares.

The most important part about Aida fabric is the count. We recommend 14 count Aida as it will give you a nice size portrait. A typical family of 4 Stitch People piece on 14 count will be around 6 inches wide by around 5 inches tall so you will need at least a 10 x 12 inch cut of Aida to give yourself plenty of room. If you decide to make your portrait larger or smaller, the easiest way to do this is by changing the count. The “count” simply means how many tiny squares there are in an inch of fabric. So 14 count means there are 14 squares to an inch. 11 count (another popular size) will mean there are 11 squares to an inch.

Aida is normally sold in large pieces and is easy to cut to size so just look for a cut in the count and color you fancy. We like to go for a white or off-white color to make sure our Stitch People stand out.

The Floss

We recommend DMC Embroidery Floss although you can use any brand you find. Embroidery floss is usually made of cotton and is made up of 6 separate strands. We’ll go into more about this in the book, for now just know that Embroidery Floss will give you the best look for your stitches.

Embroidery floss comes in all the colors of the rainbow and a few more for good measure. The only trouble you’ll have finding the right color will be which to choose!

Now, here is where you may want to wait until you have your book. On pages 142 – 144 we have an extensive list of floss color recommendations which will come in especially handy when you need to choose skin and hair color but if you’re feeling a little flush with cash and want to have limitless options, here are the colors we recommend you get hold of, all are DMC:

310 BLANC 211 321 327 336 422 434 436 437 644 645 721 729 738 744 746 580 938 945 3817 3013 3326 3371 3712 3752 3768 3781 3790 3799 3818 3826 3862 3825 3842

The Needles

Chances are that you have some embroidery needles lying around the house. There is no special needle you need to make your Stitch People portraits but we would recommend a needle with a larger eye (size 5 usually works well) such as a crewel embroidery needle. This is so you can work with a range of sizes/strands in embroidery floss.

You’ll find needles pretty much anywhere including the grocery store but for a range of sizes head to your local craft or needlework store.


We recommend two pairs of scissors – a large and a small set. The large you will use for cutting your Aida fabric. They don’t need to be special fabric cutting scissors but do make sure they are pretty sharp. Blunt scissors will pull and tear at your fabric and no-one wants that!

The small set are for cutting your thread! Again you want them to be sharp and preferably small so you can fit them under your frame and snip those little stitches when you need to.

If push comes to shove and you can only get one pair of scissors, make them embroidery scissors. They don’t need to be expensive and fancy but embroidery scissors will typically be small enough to get into those nooks and crannies but also large enough to comfortably cut fabric.

A Pencil

Finally you will need something to mark your fabric. When you are more familiar with making Stitch People portraits, you could invest in special embroidery pens and pencils (pictured below) which wash out when you rinse them but for now using a graphite pencil and a light touch will work fine.

And that’s about it! Gathering the above supplies will have you designing and stitching as soon as you tear open your package and pull out your Stitch People book.

If you have any questions about supplies, materials or anything else, don’t forget you can email us at anytime and we’ll get back to you straight away!

Don’t forget to tag us in your gorgeous portrait photos @stitchpeople

Happy Stitching!!

9 thoughts on “Getting Started with Stitch People – What do I need?”

  1. Carmen Siemens

    I have your book, and have looked over almost every page. Now to get started. Great book and guide. May need to check out the other books you have.

  2. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.
    I’m hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal website now ;

  3. I’m patiently waiting for my books to come across the pond to the UK (DIY book and wedding book). As international shipping is taking a bit of time (as expected!), it’s giving me plenty of time to make sure I have my crafting desk ready for their arrival. Cannot wait!

  4. LOOOOOOVE this! Goodness! Does this mean that I am going to add another craft to my list of to-dos? ?? Did you do the framing yourself also? They re beautiful!

  5. This is such an awesome idea! Your cross-stitch came out SO cute! I m going to have to make one of these of our little family (me + husband + cat + chinchilla). No seriously, I kind of want to run out to the craft store right now for all the supplies! ??

  6. This is such an awesome idea! Your cross-stitch came out SO cute! I m going to have to make one of these of our little family (me + husband + cat + chinchilla). No seriously, I kind of want to run out to the craft store right now for all the supplies! ??

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