Cross Stitch vs. Embroidery vs. Needlepoint – A Complete Differentiation

The craft of sewing and embellishing garments and dresses evolved with human beings. With time, human beings discovered various methods of performing it with sophistication. The art, when performed exquisitely appeals to sensibilities and satisfies our aesthetic senses. However, there are some differences between all these methods concerning raw material and technique; let’s discuss them briefly.


 Embroidery is an ancient craft used for turning objects of daily use into useful household goods. It is the main component of our materialistic culture. It is one of the prettiest art people use for branding and decorating garments and other daily use items.

Everyone is expected to aware of Embroidery due to its common use in daily life. It is the craft used for adding value and aesthetics by adorning the garments and braiding table cloths, bedsheets, upholstery, or covers by artistically utilizing thread and needles.

It is said that the craft was started with repairing and mending of clothes in the old days because the clothes with which dresses were made considered precious items of daily as its weaving and preparing involved a lot of time and labor. So when some old clothes were torn out accidentally or with overuse, its mending was invariably arranged. 

 The Embroidery makes the simple dress and fabrics beautiful as well as enhances its value and utility. For instance, a simple shirt or dress does not look attractive, but it becomes so pretty that everyone will wish to keep it in one’s wardrobe when embellished with Embroidery.

The psychologists say that associations with the craft of Embroidery makes the human being happier and sharpens their mental faculties.

 Types of performing Embroidery

There are two ways to perform Embroidery

1- Hand Embroidery

2-Machine Embroidery 

1. Hand Embroidery

 Hand embroidery is an age-old craft and is an easily accessible craft to start. It has humble roots as the common man started the craft either as a pastime or for earning a livelihood. Ordinary people can adopt it as it is very simple, but doing it as a professional embroider requires many skills and expertise. So practicing the craft of Embroidery for a long time makes the embroider a perfect professional.

Hand Embroidery

Hand embroidery has the charm of personal touch and emotion, so its products are also selected for wedding gifts, etc. The hand embroidery helps promote creativity as it allows you to create a design and pattern of your own choice to perform the bewitching attraction of doing it yourself (DIY). Every design and pattern of hand embroidery display uniqueness and has its own individually as well as distinction.

This Embroidery can be performed on delicate and fine clothing. It is utilized to add monograms on larger items such as bed sheets, pillows, etc.; its supplies are of low cost and provide room for accommodating simple to advanced technique for producing pieces of Embroidery.

Since it has scope for doing different stitches so provides for novel designs and patterns thorough the workmanship. In hand embroidery, the needle with the large eye but still sharp is needed for good results.

2. Machine Embroidery 

In the past, Embroidery was performed with the help of a needle and thread. The handmade crafts are appreciated even today, but such exercise consumes a lot of time and labor. It was also not possible to produce manually embroidered apparel, garments, etc., at a large scale for commercial purposes and cater to the market’s demand. Moreover, handmade Embroidery could not turn out exact and accurate designs and patterns on all the products.

machine embroidery

Now, the introduction of machines and digitization has brought out a revolution in the field of Embroidery. The machines are mainly pressed into operation for product branding, corporate advertising, uniform adornment. They are also working on the branding of pillows, quilts, and wall hangings.

There are various types of machines commissioned to perform embroidery work, such as free motion embroidery machines. It performs zig-zag sewing and works like regular sewing machines. You have to manually design the Embroidery and then sewed with the help of a machine by using thread while fully utilizing your creative talent and working as a child is playing in the playground. You draw the design with the drawing pen before performing embroidery work.

Generally, the two types of machines are available in the market, i.e., one is an embroidery machine that only performs Embroidery, and such machines work like machines that can do both quilting, sewing, and Embroidery. The downside of that machine is that it only uses one thread, and for change of colors, you have to move physically, which takes more time in the embroidery work.

There is another type of machine called a multi-head machine, controlled by the computer. It usually possesses multi needles ranging from 4 to 16 needles, and each one sews its thread, which saves time. It should be kept in mind that machines do not allow editing and changes in designs and patterns as machines works according to the pre-designed pattern already fed.

You generate the pattern and designs already stored in the computer and feed them into the machine which exactly produces the Embroidery on your required fabrics. You can also create designs of your choice and then print them through the machines. These machines use mostly heavier thread made of polyester or rayon as well as metallic ones. They also use threads of different colors to make the Embroidery charming and attractive.

The designs and patterns are sewn precisely and accurately on every product, even if produced on a large scale. These machines are very useful and beneficial if embroidery work is produced in bulk for commercial purposes. These machines perform Embroidery on product branding, corporate advertising, and decoration of garments and apparel in the fashion industry.

Techniques of Embroidery:

Craft represents article and tangible things which are hand made. These articles have particular forms and shapes and are useful in daily life. At the same time, designs and patterns are added to make them attractive. An embroidery is a form of craft that skilled people produce by using their talent of creativity.

1. Counted thread embroidery

Counted thread embroidery is one of the varieties of sewing with the pattern. In this Embroidery, the craftsman counts the threads of the clothing before starting needlework. The stitching is always carried out either vertically or horizontally on warp and weft of the fabric. The common techniques of counted thread embroidery include Assisi, Barrgelo, Blackwork, Canvas work, Cross stitch, Needlepoint, etc.

counted thread embroidery

2. Outline Embroidery:

This technique of Embroidery is a primary stitch for lines and filling. It is very easy and simple to sew with quick progression and pattern. In this technique of Embroidery, numerous kinds of stitches, for example, chain stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, and outline stitch, are used. Primarily in this technique, the stitch is worked out by overlapping the back stitches to produce a new shape and pattern.

outline embroidery

3. Whitework Embroidery:

The Embroidery performed on white fabric is called whitework embroidery. In this Embroidery, white polyester thread is used on the white clothes, which look simple but very beautiful. It is also named french laid work.

whitework embroidery

4. Candlewicking Embroidery:

This type of Embroidery is done on fine cotton cloth called muslin with unprocessed coarse thread. It is a very old traditional kind of Embroidery in which the technique of colonial knot is used.

Candlewicking Embroidery

5. Patchwork Embroidery:

The small pieces of clothes are sewed on the base on which Embroidery is done. They are put to look beautiful and attractive and sewed with machines or hand stitches for decoration. In this kind of Embroidery, any type of stitches can be used. Patchwork embroidery is mostly used for embellishing quilts.

Patchwork Embroidery

6. Shadow Work Embroidery:

The Shadow Work Embroidery is performed on the back of the flimsy cloth, which is semi-transparent. In this Embroidery, herringbone stitches are used. This work of Embroidery is done on lightweight cloth, namely Georgetta, Veil, Lawn, Organdie, and Muslin, etc.

Shadow Work Embroidery

7. Goldwork Embroidery:

In this work of Embroidery, metal threads of various colors, particularly gold and silver, etc., are used. The wires are mostly not made of pure gold but are of gold-coated silver. The gold thread is usually used to prepare an outline and raised designs.

Goldwork Embroidery

8. Fish Scale Embroidery:

Generally, in this Embroidery, designs on the pattern of scales of goldfish are worked out. At first, the scale of fish is prepared then holes are made of each of the scales’ bones.

Fish Scale Embroidery

Cross Stitch

Cross stitch is a type of hand embroidery in which only X-shaped stitches known as cross stitches are used. When sewn with precise accuracy by using threads of different colors, these stitches generate a pattern like that of tiles. There are used only one type of stitch, which makes it very simple. In cross stitching, mostly Aida fabric is used, which has a good system of holes for sewing colored thread.

How to cross stitch?

In cross stitching, the designs and patterns are printed on a piece of cloth for sewing. It is often used for stitching words, slogans, or mottos on pieces of clothes. It is a very good form of Embroidery for the beginner as only one stitch is used, which helps him learn the skill.

Needle Point

Needlepoint is the form of Embroidery which the people of an ancient civilization used. At that time, stitching was done with wool yarn on the piece of rough and coarse clothes. Durability was the main forte of that form of Embroidery. The needlepoint craft is also popular in recent times, and it is performed even on fine clothes by using different types of stitches.

Needle Point

It was mostly performed on the upholstery of furniture in the past, and now it is also used on upholstery, pillows, and household items. It helps to decorate the belts, purses, keychains, jewelry, eyeglasses cases, and wall hangings. Its subcategories also in use which are named according to their holes. One is a petit point with 16 to 20 mesh holes per inch, which are done mostly in canvas. When the canvas was 8 to 10 squares per inch, it is named gross point, whereas canvas with seven holes per inch is called quick point.

Cross Stitch vs. Embroidery vs. Needlepoint

All these crafts embroideries, Needlepoint, and cross-stitch fall under one umbrella. They are mainly pressed into action for embellishing and decorating the various kinds of fabrics. While going into detail, there is a slight difference between them. For explaining the differences between Needlepoint and Embroidery, we can say the needlepoint designs are made with wool yarn by sewing on a mesh canvas, whereas Embroidery is performed for drawing a picture or a design through the stitching.

The pre-printed design is preferred in Needlepoint, while Embroidery is performed on pre-printed design, and pattern and stitching are made on the lines to fill the spaces. For Embroidery, fabrics such as Satin, Silk, Cotton, Aida, and Velvet are used, whereas in needlework, open weaved canvas clothe is used. In Needlepoint, stitching is carried but by hand. But Embroidery is performed by hand or machines.

There are a few differences between Cross stitch and Embroidery. Cross stitch is counted thread embroidery uses X shape stitches to create a design or pattern but in embroidery, several stitches commonly used, such as chain stitch, blanket stitch, and woven fabric invariably used in cross-stitch. At the same time, Embroidery can be performed on many types of fabrics such as muslin and satin.

Is cross stitch or Embroidery easier?

Cross stitch and Embroidery are two different types of craft. In cross-stitch, you need some colorful thread, while in Embroidery, usually, you work with six strands, and you have to single out a required thread. It is pointed out; apparently, it seems cross stitch is easier to start being simple. But in cross-stitch, you have a limited choice of stitches and fiber. It restricts your creativity as you have to remain confined in one stitch, i.e.cross stitch, and you have only one option of woven canvas fabric.

On the other hand, in Embroidery, you have a wide range of choices; you can use various stitches. You are also given a free hand to select the fabric of your choice as you can perform Embroidery on its various types. Resultantly, your interest in craft develops, remains for a long period, and your talent of creativity flourishes.

Finally, it is a human disposition that you feel comfortable in the situation where you are provided with greater freedom to work at your pleasure having many choices.

Is cross stitch and Embroidery the same thing?

Generally speaking, both are the same things that they are used for decoration and adornment of household items, upholstery, etc. But technically speaking, there is some difference between these two things.

In cross-stitch, only one stitch is commonly used, and it is performed on the pieces of fabric, i.e., woven canvas. But contrary to cross-stitch, Embroidery is done on various fabrics with different textures, and several stitches are used to create designs and patterns. So cross stitch and Embroidery are different from each other.

Is there a difference between cross stitch and Needlepoint?

Needlepoint is done by hand and performed on very fine canvas with yarn, but embroidery floss is used to give a different look. In Needlepoint, various types of stitches can be used. It is used to decorate accessories. Needlework design consists of squares. In comparison to Needlepoint, only one stitch is used in cross-stitch. It is done only on the fabric of woven canvas. So both are different things concerning creating designs and using fabrics.

Are Needlepoint and Embroidery the same thing?

Needlepoint is performed on woven canvas and done with hands. Whereas in Embroidery, a variety of fabrics such as muslin. Satin etc. is used for creating designs and patterns etc. A variety of stitches are used in Embroidery to accomplish the pattern and design. So Needlepoint and Embroidery are not the same things, but there are many differences between the two.

Which is easier, Needlepoint or Embroidery?

The Embroidery accommodates various types of fabrics for decoration and embellishments. In Embroidery, numerous types of stitches are pressed to service for creating designs. In our opinion, Embroidery is easier to perform as a variety of stitches can be used to carry our embellishment and designs on a variety of fabrics since it gives more options to perform the craft. As it is easier and create a piece of art if given rather more freedom of action.

The Needlepoint is a craft wherein woven canvas is only used, and it is performed with hands only, so there are limited choices and options of doing work. Resultantly the beginner or learner may face difficulty in doing needlepoint work.

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