Lord Libidan

What’s the best cross stitch pattern software?

I often get asked “What’s the best cross stitch pattern software?” , and it shouldn’t surprise you that there are lots of options. This post details the most used cross stitch programs on PC, Mac, Online and iPad with online polls and feefo review scores. Updated June 2018.

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Best PC cross stitch pattern software:

WinStitch ($52 ($47 with discount)) – 10/10

Based on 832 reviews
Use this link to save yourself $5 when you buy!

WinStitch, and its Mac based brother MacStitch, have a lot going for them. With a massive 30 thread types, and great ease of use, it’s a fantastic competitor. However, its not been widely picked up due to its fairly young age (3 years), so does not have as much following as PC Stitch. In addition the yearly upgrades are chargable (although not required). In addition you can move the pattern from MacStitch to WinStitch with ease.
It can also open a lot of PCStitch files (not all) which makes it the most user friendly of all software programs.
Demo: Yes
Threads: 30 brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly

PC Stitch ($50 ($20 with discount)) – 9/10

Based on 1024 reviews
You should also use the code “PCS11UPG” to save $30 when you buy!

PC Stitch is full program with all the trimings. Its base ease of use is great, however it’s real advantages lie in better color picking (but I would still cast an eye over them to make sure), and 2000 pre-programmed patterns. It does have its negative though, as PC Stitch uses its own unique pattern files that can’t be opened without using PC Stitch’s separate pattern viewer. However, recently many competitors have unofficially included the ability to open, view and edit PC Stitch files.
Threads: DMC, Anchor, others
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly; additional cost

KG Chart ($35) – 8.5/10

Based on 1112 reviews

KG Chart has a fantastic set of stitches, incredible ease of use, and a lot of regular, and worthwhile updates. It’s been created by a non-stitcher, but their understanding of our needs is great. There’s also forums and an email for support and issues. It’s the second most used program out there, and for £24 is a steal. There are however two things to note; firstly the colors can sometimes be a little red-based so require manual picking. The second issue is its a little buggy; it used to be our best pick, but as PCstitch started to improve, KG Chart just couldn’t keep up.
Threads: DMC & Cosmo
Print to PDF: No, you can download another (free) program called CutePDF to do this
Updates: Quarterly

BlendThreads (FREE) – 8/10

Based on 37 reviews

Built off the back of Ryijy, this pattern creator has come a long way. Initially its much like any other pattern creator, with some advanced features in the printing sections. However, where BlendThreads stands out is the greatest two additions I think we’ve ever looked at. Firstly the thread selector program allows you to either pick a close fit thread based on what stock you have, but also allows for the blending of threads to get super accurate colors (personally, I LOVE this). Secondly is its unique backstitch portion, that allows you to ‘trace’ the image with a transparency, meaning you can get super clean back stitches. However, its untested on Windows 8/10.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Monthly

Istitch 2 ($30) – 7/10

Based on 31 reviews

Jane Greenoff’s latest pattern maker. Unlike the previous versions that were overly complicated for new users, the new Istitch has been built with simplicity in mind. In addition there are also video guides (if you purchase the DVD version) to help new designers. As a result it’s the easiest to get into at first, however finding more advanced features is a little difficult, meaning a serious designer might consider another program.
You can either buy the DVD version with guide videos, or the download without videos for the same price. The main issue however is that there are no updates to the program, and based on Istitch2 being a paid update of the previous version, I’d imagine you’d have to buy a new one every time Windows updates…
Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Every 2 years; additional cost

Sew and So Cross Stitch Designer ($42) – 6/10

Based on 46 reviews

A very new program by the online cross stitch giant Sew and So. Its literately just been developed, and so it’s hard to comment on its long term prospects, however that’s also where my concerns lie. It’s unlikely that an online retailer has a coder on the permanent staff, meaning its unlikely to get updates, and if they do, it will likely be a costed upgrade. A little much to as considering the high price point to begin.
The light version is $42, but is limited to a 500×500 work area and 50 colors. Whilst that might be all you need, there are other alternatives which offer better value for money.
Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: None

HobbyWare Pattern Maker for cross-stitch ($60) – 6/10

Based on 57 reviews

HobbyWare is very much like STOIK, in fact, it’s pretty much identical. However, there have not been any updates for 3 years (despite often website updates), which seems a little odd. However, their customer care team is one of the best around, which is something a lot of the competitors don’t have. In addition they have the best colour blending options out there, and whilst this only really applies for larger patterns or professionals, its regarded by many as the best pattern maker commercially available.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Every 2 years; additional cost

Ryijy Stitch Designer (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 7 reviews

The first fan built pattern making software, Ryijy is named after a Finnish rug, which the program can also do. It’s not been updated in a very long time, and only works with DMC threads, however the base code is the starting point of almost 90% of the other cross stitch pattern generators out there.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Not since 2003

DP Software Cross Stitch Pro Platinum ($182) – 5/10

Based on 47 reviews

Of all the software reviewed, this is the closest to Jane Greenoff’s previous pattern makers. However that said, there is a reason she stopped creating them 15 years ago – there are MUCH better options out there for cheaper. Apparently DP Software didn’t get the message with its frankly over inflated cost.
It also works on Mac, with an unexplained £9 price difference.
Threads: 20 Bands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly, additional cost

StitchCraft ($155 to $830) – 5/10

Based on 213 reviews

Recently thought to be dead, StitchCraft has come back on the scene with higher prices, and no improvements. It is a good program, with a nice set of tools on the advanced versions, but they ramp the price up to crazy levels; no one is willing to pay $830 for a cross stitch program.
Threads: 33 different brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Unknown

STOIK Stitch Creator ($51) – 5/10

Based on 98 reviews

You don’t hear much about STOIK programs, and I’ve never understood why. They do a great job, and are reasonably priced. They are a larger team, so updates are regular, and there is good support. The only reason is doesn’t come higher on my list is its lack of backing from the community. If you have an issue, many would suggest you change to KG Chart or PC Stitch, where there is a wealth of help and guides from the stitching community.
Threads: DMC, Anchor & Maderia
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly

Stitch Painter ($199/FREE) – 5/10

Based on 23 reviews

Stitch Painter does a lot, and is a nice alternative, but after 3 months of using it, I still can’t understand why the price is so high. It’s complicated to use comparatively, and doesn’t have enough image editing capabilities. However, it does have a full version demo which doesn’t appear to run out…
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly

ILSoft Stitch R-XP ($99) – 3/10

Based on 13 reviews

ILSoft used to be a major player in cross stitch generation programs, however in early 2008 they sold out to a larger owner, and since then the program has been all but ignored. It’s still a great program, however the lack of quality updates makes it a little lacklustre compared to alternatives. Due to the lack of updates I would ALWAYS go for something thats updated regularly, like PCStitch or WinStitch.
Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Last updated 2009

Stitch Art Easy! (FREE) – 4/10

Based on 14 reviews

The only free fully fledged program on the list. Well, it’s free, and with that comes limited use. However, if you’re looking to spend as little as possible, Stitch Art Easy! will definitely do the job. It’s got everything you might need, and really helps you get your head around making patterns. If you want a little more, you have the opportunity to purchase one of the other programs, so it’s a great starter program. If you do upgrade, WinStitch or MacStitch is most similar in design.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: No schedule

Cstitch (FREE) – 3/10

Based on 4 reviews

All of the other reviews on this page are developed programs, officially released into the world. Cstitch however is slightly different. Its open source. This means that no one owns the program. If you want something added to it, code it and add it yourself. This could be a little annoying, but if you got a coder friend, you might be onto a winner here.
Threads: 15 Brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: None; open source


Best FREE PC cross stitch pattern software:

BlendThreads (FREE) – 8/10

Based on 37 reviews

Built off the back of Ryijy, this pattern creator has come a long way. Initially its much like any other pattern creator, with some advanced features in the printing sections. However, where BlendThreads stands out is the greatest two additions I think we’ve ever looked at. Firstly the thread selector program allows you to either pick a close fit thread based on what stock you have, but also allows for the blending of threads to get super accurate colors (personally, I LOVE this). Secondly is its unique backstitch portion, that allows you to ‘trace’ the image with a transparency, meaning you can get super clean back stitches. However, its untested on Windows 8/10.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Monthly

Ryijy Stitch Designer (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 7 reviews

The first fan built pattern making software, Ryijy is named after a Finnish rug, which the program can also do. It’s not been updated in a very long time, and only works with DMC threads, however the base code is the starting point of almost 90% of the other cross stitch pattern generators out there.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Not since 2003

Stitch Art Easy! (FREE) – 4/10

Based on 14 reviews

The only free fully fledged program on the list. Well, it’s free, and with that comes limited use. However, if you’re looking to spend as little as possible, Stitch Art Easy! will definitely do the job. It’s got everything you might need, and really helps you get your head around making patterns. If you want a little more, you have the opportunity to purchase one of the other programs, so it’s a great starter program. If you do upgrade, WinStitch or MacStitch is most similar in design.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: No schedule

Cstitch (FREE) – 3/10

Based on 4 reviews

All of the other reviews on this page are developed programs, officially released into the world. Cstitch however is slightly different. Its open source. This means that no one owns the program. If you want something added to it, code it and add it yourself. This could be a little annoying, but if you got a coder friend, you might be onto a winner here.
Threads: 15 Brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: None; open source


Best ONLINE cross stitch pattern software:

stitchfiddle.com (FREE) – 9/10

Based on 1523 reviews

Very similar to patterncreator, stitchfiddle offers the same great program, with a slightly easier interface, DMC and Anchor threads and a larger 2000×2000 stitching area.
Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes

patterncreator.com ($7.50) – 8/10

Based on 257 reviews

As the only paid online creator I’ve reviewed, it’s no wonder patterncreator.com comes last on price, however, I would stress that it’s definitely the best of the online options. I would much prefer to buy a more complete version to download. It has everything you need, but limited to a maximum of 250×250 stitching area.
Threads: DMC, Anchor & Venus
Print to PDF: Yes

patternsforyou.com (FREE) – 7.5/10

Based on 1042 reviews

All online pattern makers have one big problem: limitations. However, of all the online pattern makers I’ve used, patternsforyou.com has the least. With a large 300×300 stitching area, quite good image editing and color selection, it’s the best one.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes

myphotostitch.com (FREE) – 7/10

Based on 302 reviews

With a limited 150×120 stitch area it’s a little annoying, but the real beauty of myphotstitch.com is the ease of use. Select your image, and it does it all for you. The only options you get are changing the size (it defaults to maximum), but it’s the easiest of all pattern makers around.
However, that said, I would suggest using the advanced version (also free), which gives a few more options.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes

pixel-stitch.net (FREE) – 7/10

Based on 57 reviews

A simple image upload and export pattern creator, pixel-stitch is actually a great tool, with very good color picking and no size limits. The only issue is it doesn’t allow for image editing, or image creation, giving it a slightly lower score that it may otherwise deserve.
Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes

DMC Snap & Stitch ($10/FREE per pattern) – 6/10

Based on 36 reviews

The new online photo converter from DMC lacks some of the finesse of other online converters, giving a questionable result, however the unique feature of being able to buy all the threads for the pattern and then getting the pattern for free made it rate well with our testers.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes

Thread-Bare ($10 per pattern) – 6/10

Based on 12 reviews

A fairly new pattern maker, Thread-Bare has a wealth of dithering and effects options, making it s very powerful tool, all-be-it slightly hard to use at first. It’s mostly used for image conversion patterns, as the editor doesn’t let you fix stray pixels, however its powerful code gives you really great results with photos, and the pattern viewer is great.
It’s main downside however is the $10 price point, per pattern, which if you’re making a pattern a month, can cost more than the most expensive options.
Threads: DMC & Riolis
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Monthly

PictureCraftWork ($12 per pattern) – 6/10

Based on 4 reviews

A confusing price point makes PictureCraftWork both a steal (if your pattern is less than 1000 stitches) or fairly average priced for online converters. It has the added benefit of quite an advanced pattern creation tool set, but color picking is a little off.
Threads: DMC, Anchor & Madeira
Print to PDF: Yes

craftdesignonline (FREE) – 5/10

Based on 46 reviews

As a craft pattern app maker, you would expect craftdesignonline to be quite good, and it is, however its clearly make for the younger market, with very limited image editing and a 100×100 stitch area. It does have a cool feature of sharing your patterns though!
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes

Pic2Pat (FREE) – 5/10

Based on 78 reviews

If you go a poll of online pattern makers, Pic2Pat comes up fairly high. There are many arguments in its favour, such as 4 thread types, ease of use, etc. However the set sizes of the output are a little annoying.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes

StitchBoard (FREE) – 5/10

Based on 13 reviews

A simple program, with a few options you can play with, and 4 different thread brands. It has a few options that work in its favour, however you cannot do any image editing.
Threads: DMC, Anchor, Maderia & Red Heart
Print to PDF: Yes

Photo2CrossStitch ($5 per pattern) – 5/10

Based on 8 reviews

An extreamly limited option list, without a quality preview (I’ve been informed thats soon to change), yet $5 per pattern, photo2crossstitch bottoms our list. However, as the newest online pattern maker, they also have a lot of room for improvement. The team behind it have reached out, and we should be seeing improvements starting to happen soon.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Best MAC cross stitch pattern software:

MacStitch ($52 ($47 with discount)) – 9/10

Based on 543 reviews
Use this link to save yourself $5 when you buy!

This is the Mac version of WinStitch, our second place PC option, and whilst they are very similar, there are a few small differences. That said, the creators are keen to make sure they are both kept up to date at the same regularity and the Mac version has been catching up with the PC versions recently. It’s a simple to use program, it has loads of options and works super smoothly. In addition you can move the pattern from MacStitch to WinStitch with ease.
Demo: Yes
Threads: 30 brands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly

stitchfiddle.com (FREE) – 9/10

Based on 1523 reviews

OK, I tricked you. Stitchfiddle is actually an online program, however with a tonne of great features it easily competes with paid software. With some of the prices of Mac software being through the roof (see below) being free really helps StitchFiddle’s case. An easy interface, DMC & Anchor threads and a very large (2000×2000) stitching area.
Threads: DMC & Anchor
Print to PDF: Yes

DP Software Cross Stitch Pro Platinum ($191) – 5/10

Based on 47 reviews

This is very similar to the old Jane Greenoff pattern making software, however its updated yearly, has a limited selection, is complicated, and is VERY expensive considering its closest (and arguably a lot better) alternative is a quarter of the cost.
Threads: 20 Bands
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly, additional cost

Stitch Painter ($199) – 5/10

Based on 23 reviews

Another complicated to use Mac cross stitch program, Stitch Painter has lots of options, however has a limited ability to edit images, and a very high cost. On the positive side, there is a full demo which never appears to run out.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes
Updates: Yearly


Best iPad cross stitch pattern software:

Cross Stitch Saga (FREE ($4 upgrade)) – 9/10

Based on 127 reviews

I’ve revisited this review for 2017 after a load of new features came out. It was the best before, however now it’s even better. Simply put, if you have an iPad or iPhone, get it. Cross Stitch Saga is a true competitor to the desktop paid versions, and as its free, even better.
The new upgrade to pro gives you more stitch options, and a larger aida area to play with. Unless you’re explicitly going to need those features, don’t bother getting the upgrade, but for its low price its a steal if you want it.
It has the functionality of an easy to use, basic pattern maker, but it’s all on iPad AND iPhone (and it’s not hard to use either).
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: No

StitchSketch ($8) – 9/10

Based on 251 reviews

StitchSketch is created by the maker of KG Chart, and improves on many features KG Chart does not have. It’s a fantastic program, which works almost as well as any desktop program. The only down side however is the cost (but what’s £5 compared to the highest priced review of £137?).
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes

Cross Stitch Camera ($4) – 5/10

Based on 36 reviews

Cross Stitch Camera works, you guessed it, with your camera. It takes a photo (which can be from your phone’s memory) and makes a pattern based on the largest dimension you set. It does not have amount of colors to pick, it doesn’t allow for post editing, and it doesn’t produce a pdf, however, its color selections are very good. It’s a bit of a quirky app, and a little lacking in features.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: NO


Best ANDROID cross stitch pattern software:

eCanvas for cross-stitch PRO ($3) – 8/10

Based on 92 reviews

A fantastic app, with fantastic reviews from anyone that uses it. Its easily comparable to the likes of paid PC software, however makes use of touch screen android devices to give a really good usability. The only real negatives are that it doesn’t come with instructions or a tutorial, and isn’t updated as often as other apps (yet still once a quarter).
They also constantly add to the apps core features, so it will continue to develop and get better over the near future.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes

XStitch Designer ($1) – 7/10

Based on 220 reviews

For only a dollar it’s hard to say anything bad about this app, however using this app for the last 3 months, I know its pattern making ability is great. However, without the ability to print or transfer the patterns to PC it’s not a fantastic part of your pattern making arsenal. You can share it via integrated social media, however you also have to have the app to access the file, and you can’t lock it down.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Best LINUX cross stitch pattern software:

KXStitch (FREE) – 6/10

Based on 7 reviews

As the only Linux pattern program out there, KXStitch holds the title as best; but that doesn’t make it a good program. Its lacking in special stitches, more thread sets, and its a little draining on CPU. However, its ease to use does help it out massively, which is why its score is higher than you’d expect.
Threads: DMC
Print to PDF: Yes


Unsupported Software Replacements:

Photoshop Swatches (PC)

REPLACEMENT: Ryijy Stitch Designer (FREE) – 6/10
The only usable free alternative, Ryijy is open source and works independantly from Photoshop, but with a very similar process.
 

MyriaCross (PC)

REPLACEMENT: WinStitch ($52 ($47 with discount)) – 10/10
MyriaCross gave some of its code to WinStitch, so they could replicate their features. As a result, its the best, and closes alternative.
 

Easy Cross (PC)

REPLACEMENT: WinStitch ($52 ($47 with discount)) – 10/10
Slightly less easy to use, but a full software option.
 

PixelCraft (ONLINE)

REPLACEMENT: stitchfiddle.com (FREE) – 9/10
A slightly improved version of PixelCraft.
 

StitchCraft (MAC)

REPLACEMENT: MacStitch ($52 ($47 with discount)) – 9/10
A similar, but much more advanced program.
 

Spriter (MAC)

REPLACEMENT: stitchfiddle.com (FREE) – 9/10
Just as simple to use, but without the need for installation. In addition has slightly better editing tools.
 

Cross Stitch 2 Go HD (IPAD)

REPLACEMENT: Cross Stitch Saga (FREE ($4 upgrade)) – 9/10
A slight improvement on Cross Stitch 2 Go HD, with a low price tag.
 

X-Stitch (IPAD)

REPLACEMENT: Cross Stitch Saga (FREE ($4 upgrade)) – 9/10
A better alternative app, with more features.
 
 
I’ve also created a great infographic on which is the best cross stitch pattern software for easy selection.