Cross Stitch Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

xstitch magazine issue 8 cover This quarters Xstitch Magazine was titled “The Munchies” and whilst thinking about coming up with ideas for my Lord Libidan’s Lecture, I realised that cross stitch patterns were just like recipies. You follow a set list of instructions, using a set list of ingredients and come up with a standardised finished item. In my piece for the magazine I talked about how sometimes sticking with the pattern was eventually something you’d abandon. You’d get to a point where you’d see a dress in a pattern and would want to change the color, or want to change the skin tone threads or hair threads to something more realistic. However, a lot of people are scared. They don’t know where to start, and often see big designs online and don’t know how to get there. So what should you do first?

Start small

I regularly get contacted about where to start with pattern making. Thanks to some advanced cross stitch designing programs, it looks like you need to know a whole tome of information to make a pattern, but that’s not the case. In fact, changing colors on a pattern is not only super simple, but you don’t have to go crazy. We covered changing colors on a cross stitch pattern a few weeks ago, but it can be a super small, super simple change that allows you to do make a pattern unique. Start with a dress color, move onto a skin tone or a hair color. See just how easy it is to make cross stitch yours.

Get more adventurous

By this point, you should understand simple color changes. But you don’t have to graduate straight away to something super complicated. Instead, go crazy with color changes.
The pattern below, by PatternArtCollection on Etsy is a great pattern, but they sell it in two different color tones. This, is something ANYONE can do. By purchasing the pattern, you can edit as you see fit, and by adapting whole color spectrums, even every color on the pattern, you can totally change the tone of the work. The one on the right to me looks like night, and the one on the right like day. Yet despite this, the colors aren’t what you’d see in either situation, no, instead one is purple and one is orange.

Futurama Cross Stitch Pattern by PatternArtCollection (Source: Etsy)
Futurama Cross Stitch Pattern by PatternArtCollection (Source: Etsy)

Mix items/pattern parts

But then what? This, is what I love.
By taking parts of patterns, and using them together, you can create something truly custom. Something that whilst coming from various places, can be 100% your work. There are even books like, Lizzy Dabczynski’s Do-It-Yourself Stitch People Book which allows you to take tiny parts and combine them into one, creating a unique person, ever time. This harks back to some of the previous things you might be doing too. Changing skin colors, or hair colors, or dress colors, are exactly the things you’ll be done. But you’ll also be picking outfits, faces, hair cuts and beyond.

Do-It-Yourself Stitch People Book by Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean (source: stitchpeople.com)
Do-It-Yourself Stitch People Book by Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean (source: stitchpeople.com)

What about copyright?

That said, what about copyright? We cross stitch and copyright is something every cross stitcher should be aware of and frankly, its every cross stitcher’s duty to care about copyright. So how does that impact what you’re doing here? Well, not much.
You see, once you purchase a pattern you have right to do it as you wish. Want to change colors? That’s fine! Want to chop, change, add, subtract, anything? Sure!
The issue, is when you try to sell the pattern (or even give it away free). The pattern, even in its edited state, is still owned by the original creator. If you want to open your own store with your own patterns, or give them away free, you NEED to use your own work.
Also, its always nice to give some cross stitch recognition.

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