Our recent post on cheap embroidery threads got a lot of attention, not only due to us busting some myths, but opening the world of cross stitch up to people who can’t afford as much. So this got us thinking; how much could you save?
We used an example project from the world of art (Specifically the Mona Lisa) to give us some good estimates on how much you can save; then we hit the shops!
As we pointed out during our cheap embroidery threads post, brands such as CXC are actually good competitors to brands like DMC, and you can pick them up at a fraction of the cost on sites like Ebay and AliExpress.
DMC – $12.96
CXC – $2.07
Saving: $10.89 84%
We like to keep things simple, so we looked for 6 size 24 needles, no gold plating, not petite, no easy thread. However it’s worth stating that you can find some really great finds, so I would suggest that anyone look for the needles they want to use; the prices really don’t jump that high. For this test, we found two levels of needles in our favorite cross stitch store; the expensive John James, and the slightly cheaper DMC. It should be noted that you can find multipacks of no brand needles for much cheaper, but we wanted only six.
6 size 24 embroidery needles
John James – $1.71
DMC – $1.43
Saving: $0.28 16%
Initially, the only aida brand we could come up with at a reasonable price was Zweigart, and frankly, their aida is great, however, if you step into the world of fabric shops, you suddenly get a lot more choices. Firstly, larger sections can be purchased at a reduced price, and whilst you might not have the same level of choice as with a premium brand, you can pick up quality aida at a low price.
Still, struggling to find some? Try looking for Binka or Binca fabric. Its the same stuff, but slightly firmer before washed.
14 count white 30cm square
Zweigart – $12.47
No Brand – $4.32
Saving: $8.15 65%
We actually struggled a lot here. Turns out you can get some really cheap hoops, but once we got them in our hands; they just aren’t fit for purpose. So we went out of our way to find branded hoops to test. In our test we found Elbesee hoops to be the cheapest, however, we’ve been using them for years and I would personally say the quality is slightly better than the Milward premium choice.
10inch (25cm) wooden embroidery hoop
Milward – $4.88
Elbesee – $3.85
Saving: $1.03 21%
Now we have everything we need (bar scissors, which I assume you have in your house), we talk patterns.
We first started searching for the specific pattern we wanted on stores, and as its a very specific request, our options were limited. However, of the 6 options we found, Etsy had the most expensive, and eBay the least. But before we finished, we also tried our hand at creating our own pattern; which worked out free!
18 color 8inch tall (20cm) Mona Lisa pattern
Etsy – $10.15
eBay – $4.40
Making it yourself – FREE
Saving: $10.15 100%
Pattern Making Software
Pattern making software seems like a big step for someone that wants a cheap hobby, and whilst there are shockingly expensive options, such as DP Software, most software is in the $50 range. But there are an increasing amount of online services that can convert patterns for a one-off fee of $5 to $10, and some which are free, including the great stitchfiddle.com which ranks best of all online pattern making software in our reviews.
Software capable of converting our image to a pattern of set size and threads
DP Software Cross Stitch Pro Platinum – $182
stitchfiddle.com – FREE
Saving: $182 100%
Total Saving: $212.87 94%
So there is is, a saving that could buy you an iPhone. Cross stitch doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby.
Now, I would state that we felt all of the cheaper options needed to be checked before you use them, and we suggest getting the best quality product whenever you can (you’ll see the improvement in your work), but if you need to get something on the cheap; there are options out there.
As a final note; we are aware you can get the premium choice items cheaper, we used costs from our favorite UK based supplier for this test.