How to Cross Stitch on Clothes, Shirt or Tote Bag

Last Updated on January 11, 2024

Hello and welcome! Today in this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process of cross-stitching on clothes or a tote bag using soluble canvas. For this project, we’ll be using DMC’s soluble canvas, readily available at most major retailers.

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  • Begin your cross-stitch project on clothes or a tote bag using soluble canvas for easy stitching and removal.
  • Ensure your fabric is taut in the embroidery hoop, and tack the soluble canvas in place with simple stitches to keep it secure.
  • Have fun stitching your chosen design onto the fabric, exploring various patterns and ideas, or using free online patterns.
  • Easily dissolve the soluble canvas in hot, soapy water after stitching, leaving you with a clean, professional-looking design.
  • Trim away any extra soluble canvas and save it for future smaller projects, such as keyrings or additional tote bags.

How to Cross Stitch on Clothes with Soluble Canvas

How to Cross Stitch on Clothes

To cross-stitch on clothes using soluble canvas, start by placing your fabric in an embroidery hoop, securing a small square of soluble canvas, and stitching your design. After completing the stitching, dissolve the canvas in hot, soapy water and enjoy your personalized creation.

Step by Step Tutorial

Let’s dive into the step-by-step process and create a unique and personalized design for your favorite clothing item.

1. Choose Your Design Location

Choose Your Design Location
Choose Your Design Location

Start by deciding where you want your cross-stitch design. For this tutorial, we’ll use a tote bag, and the chosen design will be placed at the top, in the middle, between the handles.

2. Prepare Your Fabric

Prepare Your Fabric
Prepare Your Fabric

Place your fabric into an embroidery hoop, ensuring it is taut. This provides a stable surface for your stitching.

3. Cut Soluble Canvas

Cut a small square of soluble canvas, ensuring it is large enough to accommodate your design. You only need enough to cover the area where your cross-stitch will be.

4. Tack Soluble Canvas in Place

Use embroidery thread to tack the soluble canvas in place. Simply wrap the thread around the edges of the soluble canvas. Precision is not crucial; just ensure it stays in place while you stitch. Tie a knot at the back to secure the thread, knowing it will be removed later.

5. Start Stitching

Start Stitching
Start Stitching

Now comes the enjoyable part! Begin stitching your cross-stitch design onto the tote bag or clothing item. If you need inspiration, Gathered offers numerous free patterns. For demonstration purposes, a small heart design is used in this tutorial.

6. Remove Hoop and Tacked Thread

Remove Hoop and Tacked Thread
Remove Hoop and Tacked Thread

Once you finish stitching, remove the embroidery hoop and cut away the tacked thread used to secure the soluble canvas. This thread served its purpose and will be removed later.

7. Trim Excess Soluble Canvas

If there’s excess soluble canvas around your design, cut it away. Save these scraps for smaller projects like keyrings or additional tote bags.

Final Steps

How to Cross Stitch on Clothes

1. Prepare Hot, Soapy Water

Grab a bowl and fill it with hot, soapy water. Submerge your stitched item in the water, leaving it for approximately five minutes.

2. Let it Dry

After soaking, let your design dry. The soluble canvas will dissolve during this process, leaving only your beautifully stitched design.

3. Enjoy Your Finished Project

Once dried, your cross-stitched design will be a permanent part of your tote bag or clothing item. The dissolved soluble canvas leaves behind a clean, professional finish.

Additional Resources – How to Cross Stitch Faster?


Can I use any soluble canvas for cross-stitching on clothes?

While different brands may have slight variations, soluble canvas designed for cross-stitching generally works well for this project. DMC’s soluble canvas is a popular and reliable choice, as we used it.

Do I need an embroidery hoop for cross-stitching on clothes?

Using an embroidery hoop helps keep the fabric taut, making stitching more comfortable and ensuring a neater result. It’s recommended but not mandatory.

How do I choose the right cross-stitch design for my project?

Consider the size and shape of your clothing or tote bag. Choose a design that fits the available space and complements the item’s overall aesthetic. Gathered offers free patterns for inspiration.

Can I reuse the excess soluble canvas for other projects?

If you have a leftover soluble canvas, especially around the edges of your design, save it for smaller projects like keyrings or another tote bag. It’s a sustainable way to make the most of your materials.

Is using hot, soapy water necessary to dissolve the soluble canvas?

Hot, soapy water is effective in dissolving the soluble canvas. It’s a simple and accessible method. Ensure the water is comfortably hot but not scalding for the best results.

How long should I let the cross-stitched design soak in the water?

Soak your stitched design for approximately five minutes. This allows the soluble canvas to dissolve while minimizing the time your fabric spends in water.

Can I cross-stitch on any type of fabric?

While we specifically mention using a tote bag, you can cross-stitch on various fabrics. However, consider the fabric’s thickness and texture, as these factors can affect the ease of stitching.

Do I need a special cross-stitching thread for this project?

Standard embroidery thread works well for cross-stitching on clothes. Choose colors that complement your fabric and design.

Can I wash the cross-stitched clothing item after completing the project?

Yes, the cross-stitched design becomes a permanent part of the fabric after dissolving the soluble canvas. You can wash the item following standard care instructions for the fabric used.


We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on cross-stitching on clothes with soluble canvas. Get creative, explore different designs, and personalize your clothing with this enjoyable and accessible craft!

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