How to Choose the Best Aida Cloth for Your Project

Posted in Stitcher's Guide


Starting a new cross stitch project can be fun and really exciting, but without the right materials those feelings of buzz can quickly turn into frustration. This article will walk you through a few things you’ll have to keep in mind when purchasing one of the basic materials for your project: the fabric.

Cross stitch charts always specify the number of thread colors and skeins needed to complete the project, but apart from a recommendation, they are not overly specific on what type of fabric you should use. This is actually a good thing, because it gives you the freedom to adapt the finished piece to your needs.

Let’s see how you can do just that.

What Is Aida Cloth and What Is It Made Of?

Aida Cloth is a woven, cotton textile and it is the most widely-used fabric in counted cross-stitch. It is what’s called an even weave, or a square-patterned weave that leaves clearly visible stitching holes in your fabric. These holes make it easy for you to guide your needle through the fabric and make precise stitch sizes every time.

Popular manufacturers and suppliers of cross stitch fabric include:

They all offer a wide variety of colors and fabric counts (see below for explanation) to suit every project.

Consider Stitch Count or Fabric Count

The fabric count on Aida Cloth measures how many stitches can be made in one inch. By making smaller stitches, you can fit more of them into one inch, meaning the stitch count of your fabric will be higher. For beginners the 14 count Aida Cloth is usually recommended, but common fabric counts vary from 10 to 24.

The higher the stitch count, the tighter and finer the weave will be, so it gets increasingly difficult to glide your needle through the fabric. This is why stitch count is the most important factor in choosing the best Aida Cloth for your project.

12 Count Aida

12 Count Aida

14 Count Aida

14 Count Aida

16 Count Aida

16 Count Aida

18 Count Aida

18 Count Aida

20 Count Aida

20 Count Aida

22 Count Aida

22 Count Aida

How Stitch Count Affects the Size of the Finished Project

There can be a considerable difference in width and height of a finished piece following the exact same pattern. So if you already bought the frame for your project, do the math beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises.  If you plan to follow a pattern which doesn’t specify how big your finished project will be, there’s a handy calculator on Yarntree to help you out.

I personally feel most comfortable stitching on a 14 count Aida Cloth, so let’s take an example how you would reduce the size of a pattern, originally designed for a 14 count cloth.

Let’s say your pattern calls for 50 stitches wide by 50 stitches tall. If 14 consecutive stitches are one inch wide, than 50 stitches will measure 3.57 inches. We calculated this by simply dividing 50 (our pattern count) by 14 (the stitch count of our fabric). Now if you want to half the size of your project, use a 28 count Aida Cloth. This will result in 50 divided by 28 = 1.78 inches.

Cross Stitch Size Converter for Common Pattern Sizes

10 Count Aida

Fabric stitch countChart width in stitchesResult project width (in)Result project width (cm)

14 Count Aida

Fabric stitch countChart width in stitchesResult project width (in)Result project width (cm)

18 Count Aida

Fabric stitch countChart width in stitchesResult project width (in)Result project width (cm)

22 Count Aida

Fabric stitch countChart width in stitchesResult project width (in)Result project width (cm)

Look at Available Aida Fabric Colors

Aida fabric comes in a large variety of colors ranging from delicate pales to vibrant primaries. To complement the colors used in your chosen pattern, you can bravely jazz up the plain old white Aida with a bright accent color, or give it a just a slight tint of a muted pastel. Alternatively, if you like the modern look of light patterns on dark background, black and dark blue Aida is also available on the market.

Whatever your decision, make sure there is a strong enough contrast between your fabric color and your floss colors, or at the very least the floss colors used on the outer edges of your cross stitch chart. If this contrast can not be achieved, don’t fret! You always have the option to back-stitch around areas where there is an unsightly blend of the background and pattern colors.

Light Fabric Color Options

Cool Blue

Light Blue Aida Fabric

The color blue is synonymous with eternity. It is a timeless, natural color that conveys feelings of stability and peacefullness. A light blue fabric can elevate cross stitch patterns featuring darker shades of blue, green, yellow or pink.

To purchase a light blue Aida online, choose one of the options from the table below:

Stitch CountShade NameSold ByLink
14Ice BlueEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Blue Blizzard OpalescentEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
16Ice BlueEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
18Light BlueEverythingCrossStitchwebsite

Pale Purple

Pale Purple Aida Fabric

Purple is the color of royalty. It is associated with elegance and spiritualism, and has a compelling place in nature: lavenders, orchids, petunias all bloom in this mystical and soothing color. Choosing purple for your pattern background will add additional depth to your project, and will work well with deep shades of navy blue, orange, yellow or brown.

To buy a pale purple Aida online, the ones in the table below are good quality picks:

Stitch CountShade NameSold ByLink
14Lavender BlissEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Lavender Bliss (5050)Herrschnerswebsite
20Lilac (0558)Herrschnerswebsite

Neutral Pink

Neutral Pink Aida Fabric

In contrast with red, pink is the color of peace and harmony. It is considered a feminine, delicate color that conveys feelings of approachability and tenderness. A subtle pink Aida can complement a soft, elegant cross stitch pattern, and works well with medium to dark shades of green and grey. Combined with a crimson red or sapphire blue makes it just that more sophisticated.

Neutral pink fabric color is available either as pre-cut pieces, or by yardage in these online stores:

Stitch CountShade NameSold ByLink
14Touch of PinkEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Bo Peep Pink (4110)Herrschnerswebsite
16Touch of PinkEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
18Baby PinkEverythingCrossStitchwebsite

Vibrant Aida Cloth Options

Red Aida Fabric

Bold and beautiful, accent colors can make the background of your cross stitch project have a life of its own. While there is a large variety of available radiant Aida colors, you have to focus on choosing one that either complements or contrasts your floss colors. If you accidentally choose a fabric shade that does not play nice with your pattern colors, your project can easily result in an unorchestrated array of loud hues, that is difficult to look at.

Here are a few options for you if you have your heart set on colorful Aida:

Stitch CountShade NameSold ByLink
14Riviera CoralEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Riviera GoldEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Riviera AquaEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Riviera OliveEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Misty Blue (0594)Herrschnerswebsite
14Christmas Red (0954)Herrschnerswebsite

Dark Aida Cloth Colors

DarkAida in Embroidery Hoop

Dark blue and black Aida has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years, and it’s easy to understand why. The deep background shade allows the colors to not only appear brighter, but truly shine on the fabric.

While it is gorgeous to look at the finished piece, stitching on a dark fabric does have its challenges. Focusing on a black canvas for an extended period of time can put a lot of strain on your eyes. To avoid the unpleasant feeling of dry and itchy eyes, be sure to:

  • only stitch when there’s enough light around you, or even better: take your stitches outside!
  • don’t pick a high count fabric (14ct and below are good options)
  • look away in the distance from time to time during your stitching time, and take frequent, longer breaks

Even dark colors have a number of variations when it comes to your Aida, here are a few to choose from:

Stitch CountShade NameSold ByLink
14Black ChocolateEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Forest GreenEverythingCrossStitchwebsite
14Ruby Wine (9060)Herrschnerswebsite
14Navy (0589)Herrschnerswebsite

Stiffnes of Your Fabric and the Tools You Use

Aida is oftentimes starched to make it stiffer and easier to stitch on without the need of an embroidery hoop. While it is more effortless to stitch on, the fabric can feel rigid and inflexible, much like stitching onto thin cardboard.

If this creaky material is not going to suit your current project, you have a couple of options:

  • Purchase something called a ‘bread cover’ Aida, which is the same material basically, but it has not been subjected to the starching process. As a result, the fabric feels very soft and supple. This softness however also means that it is more difficult to stitch on due to its flexibility.
  • If you can’t find bread cover Aida in your local craft store, you can always wash your fabric before laying down your first stitches, that will soften up the fabric.

If you have an embroidery hoop, you’ll have no problem using the soft Aida, otherwise your best bet is the regular, starched material.

How Much Fabric Will You Need?

Aida Fabric Pieces in Basket

The size of your cross stitch chart or sampler is not the only factor that determines how much fabric you will need. Think in advance about the way you’d like to display your new work of art once it’s finished.

Will it be it using the standard method of framing and mounting? Or incorporating it into a utility item like a jewlery box or a wall mounted watch? This will make a difference when calculating how much fabric to leave around your stitched area to allow for a comfortable fit into your desired setting.

For individual projects online fabric stores sell a wide variety of precut Aida cloth.The most common sizes of precut pieces are:

  • 12″x18″ (30cm x 46cm)
  • 15″x18″ (38cm x 46cm)
  • 18″x21″ (46cm x 53cm)
  • 20”x 24”(51cm x 61cm)
  • 43″x54″ (109cm x 137cm)
  • 51″x54″ (129cm x 137cm)

How Much Does Aida Cloth Cost?

Purchasing your Aida cloth in pre-cut sizes is great if you are an occasional stitcher. On the other hand, if you find yourself going through a lot of fabric, you will find it cheaper to purchase Aida cloth by the yard. Here’s an informative breakdown of the prices you can expect purchasing at different online stores.

Price of Precut Aida Cloth

In the EverythingCrossStitch shop the price of a 14count, 12″x18″ Wichelt Aida ranges between $5.05 and $7.35, depending on your chosen color.

At Herrschners the price of a precut 14count, 18″x21″ Zweigart Aida is $14.99 at the time of this writing, regardless of color chosen.

At Joann’s website you can buy the 14count precut Aida of 20″x24″ at $6.49.

Price of Aida by the Yard

123stitch offers a comprehensive selection of Aida fabric in different colors that can be bought by the yard. Prices range between $14.59 and $66.59, depending on the selected color and manufacturer.

The best value to buy plain white 60″ wide Aida is from Amazon, at $28.52.

IMPORTANT: These prices are only informative and subject to change. They were collected at the time of writing this article, but the suppliers can decide to change them anytime.

Aida Fabric Pieces


I hope this guide helped you in choosing the perfect cloth for your project from the vast selection of fabrics out there. Before buying your Aida did you consider anything else I did not list in this article? What type of fabric you decided to use and how did that impact the finished piece? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted In Stitcher's Guide

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