Remake Dated Counted Cross Stitch with Reverse Applique


Back in the 80s, “country” style counted cross stitch on linen was all the rage.

I completed 5 projects before tiring of counting  threads.  (Can you say “tedious”?)

Before long,  I had also tried of those limited pallet  “country” looking pieces.  Most ended up in a box under the bed.

Here’s how I decided to remake a pair of them, by literally  breaking out of the frame.


  • Pin needlework face down on an interesting piece of fabric.  Working from the back, sew around the piece.
  • Carefully separate the two layers, cut the top layer and trim (I use applique scissors) to the stitching.


  • Working from the front, zig-zag around the raw edge TWICE.


  • Next, the fun starts.  Embellish your fabric “frame” to your heart’s content.  First, I sewed rows around the needle work, using my presser foot as a guide.  Then I  cut it out.   I appliqued and channel quilted my piece onto a second fabric–cool tulips.  Next, I added vintage rick-rack and 70 trim.  Words are ok, too.  I like to use stencils and fabric pins.  (The jury is still out on adding words to this piece.)
  •  I bound the piece with bias strips of vintage mattress ticking.   It still looked a little too 80s country, so I zig-zaged some torn strips of metallic drapery material around the edge.
  • Finally,  I went crazy with plain old jute twine, zig-zaging it around the needlework and looping it at the top for my stick hanger.


And here’s the final result, reclaimed cross stitch hung on our living room wall–


This technique would also work for any old unfinished or damaged embroidery or needle point.  Any other ideas for  reframing with reverse applique?


One comment

  1. Very interesting, I worked on the same pattern…I wonder if I ever finished it, I know I did not have it framed…will have to check on it. Your idea is a fresh approach and would be beautiful on one of your tote bags when you tire of it on your wall.

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