What Is Aida Cloth? (Cross Stitch Fabric Sizes Guide & Tips)

Specialty hobbies require specialty fabrics. When you are doing cross-stitch, not every fabric will do. That is why this hobby demands that a specialty cloth be made to help the hobby go smoother and easier. That makes the hobby more enjoyable to do.

What is Aida cloth? Aida can be known as Java canvas and it is a specialty fabric designed for those people who do cross-stitching. The material comes in 11, 14, 16 & 18 counts and is perfect for foolproof stitching. The fabric is made with an open, even weave style.

To learn more about Aida cloth just continue to read our article. it has the information you want to know about especially if you are thinking of taking up cross-stitching as a hobby. Take several minutes to get all the information you need to make a great decision

What is Aida Cloth?


This material comes from an open, even weave style to make sure cross stitchers can get all their stitch counts to end correctly. The even weave already mentioned simply refers to the fact that the number of weft and warp threads are the same.

The number of threads for both is per inch not per yard. So one inch of Aida fabric would have, as an example, 20 threads each way. The fibers used to create this cloth are from cotton and the space between the threads can be different sizes.

The reason for the variety in space size is to allow you to use different thicknesses of yarn. While those spaces are all the same size for specific Aida cloth materials, it is the count that will tell you how big or small those spaces are.

A 10 count Aida cloth have 10 threads per inch and bigger spaces while a 28 count will have 28 threads per inch and smaller spaces. The one major drawback to this material is that it will fray on you and you should do some hemming before you get started on your cross stitch pattern.

Aida Fabric Count

The Aida fabric count merely refers to how many threads are per linear inch of fabric. For example, the 7 count cloth would have 7 threads each way for every inch. This small number of threads will allow you to use very thick yarn in your cross stitch pattern.

This material is sold in different count sizes with 7 being the smallest. Other sizes include the 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22 and 28 counts. as you now know, the different numbers indicate the number of threads in an inch as well as the size of the spaces between those threads.

The count numbers also help you decide which needle you should use. For the smaller 7 count size, you could probably go with a size 18 needle or a size 20. For the 11 count, you could use the 22 needle size and the 14 count size would require a 24 sized needle.

Then the 16 count Aida cloth should work with a size 26 needle and the 18 would be best with a size 28 needle. For those people who tend to forget what needle they need, they can use the fabric count to help remind them.

What Does 14 Count Aida Mean?

As you know by now, the number plays an important role in cross-stitching. Not only do you need to use numbers when you count stitches, but you also need numbers to remind you of a few important details.

The first detail is the size of the space between the 14 threads used in one linear inch on the cloth. That figure lets you know the second detail, how thick your yarn should be. You could probably go with smaller yarn but the design may not look that good.

And you could go with larger or thicker yarn but that may not fit properly through the spaces and your design will end up looking equally bad as when you use smaller thicknesses of yarn.

Another important detail the number 14 will remind you of will be the needle size you should use. The smaller spaces do not need larger needles and those larger needles may distort the threads creating those spaces. If that happens, your design may look a little weird.

Smaller needles may not fit the yarn you want to use making the hobby more difficult and stressful than it should be. Hobbies are supposed to be relaxing not stressful.

Aida Cloth Sizes


Here is where you get a little flexibility. The Aida cloth fabric is not usually sold or only sold in 1-yard increments measure anywhere between 36 and 60 inches wide. The good news there is you won’t have a lot of waste on your hands.

The more common sizes range between 12 by 18 inches, 15 by 18 inches, and often 30-inch wide yards. Then to help make your cross stitch pattern look even better this material comes in a wide array of colors.

White and black as well as navy blue and cream are the most common colors you will find but there are other colors if you want to be more creative. Or give your design a nice unique look.

Finding the right colors may depend on how much of this fabric is kept in stock at your local stores. The same will go for the size of the cloth. The supply will depend on the type of demand for either the color or the size options.

Check with your local stores to see what sizes & colors they carry and make your project plans accordingly. These local stores may have or may not have what you are looking for.

What is Aida Fabric Made Of?

If you like or prefer natural fibers, then you are in luck. This material is generally made from 100% cotton. That makes the fabric soft to the touch as well as easy to clean. Then you may find some of this material made from a linen and cotton blend.

The added linen may add some strength as well as durability to your project. If you find this material made from synthetic fibers it will be up to your preference to buy it or not. We have not found anyone anywhere mentioning anything other than cotton and linen as the construction fibers.

That may be a good thing as synthetic fibers have entered so many fabric markets that it is hard to avoid them. It is not sure if synthetic fibers would be ideal for cross stitch But you can always give it a try and see if it is a better option.

After all, polyester and other synthetics do resist shrinking, stretching and may not pill on you. For the most part, those materials may be a rare change in the Aida cloth industry. Natural fibers will make your cross stitch pattern look better and not have an artificial feel to it.

Does Aida Fabric Have a Right and Wrong Side?

As far as anyone can tell, no it does not. But then Aida cloth is rarely used to create clothing where a right and wrong side would matter. Both sides look the same so you do not have to worry about if you used the wrong side for your pattern.

Also, it would not matter that much even if it did as Aida cloth is generally small and you are covering it with a lot of stitches. No one would be able to tell if you used the right or the wrong side when you did your work.

This fact gives you a little peace of mind which is what hobbies are supposed to be about. You get to relax and just enjoy your time working on your pattern. There are enough issues to think about besides adding in the right or wrong side issue when you cross-stitch.

Just sit back, relax, pick up your fabric and needles and just enjoy what you are doing. You may not get a lot of free time to cross-stitch so why make it a difficult thing by worrying over which side of the fabric you should use.

Can You Cut Aida Fabric?


Yes, you can cut Aida fabric. It is made of cotton and cotton is very easy to cut. Plus, you do not have to use any special tool to make those cuts. They can be done by scissors or a rotary cutter with ease.

There are two ways, at least, to make your cuts. One would be to trim a piece of paper down to the size you want the fabric to be. Then you can either trace that shape onto the fabric and make your cuts.

Or you can measure the inside of the picture frame and then use those dimensions to mark your Aida cloth piece. After you do that, you make your cut. Some cross stitching people also finish their pattern first on the larger piece of Aida cloth, then cut the material to make sure they do not run out of material to work with.

You have options and you should choose the option that is best for you and your situation. try them all so you can see which one is also the easiest for you to do.

How to Stop Aida Fabric from Fraying

Unfortunately, Aida cloth is not perfect. If it was you would not have to worry about shrinkage, stretching, or fraying. Yes, Aida cloth will fray on you. It is made from cotton fibers and cotton fabrics do fray.

How much this material will fray probably depends on the quality of the fibers used to make it. Because this material frays you have to be careful how you cut it. Pinking shears may not be the best solution if people are going to see your edges after you are finished.

It may be best to hem the material first before you start sewing or you can finish your design first, then cut and then hem. Or you can use one of the many stop fray sprays or tube products that are found everywhere sewing supplies are found.

You could also use fabric glue or any of the other methods that would work well on cotton fibers. Your experience with fraying materials will guide you in what option you pick. If you are a novice, pick a safe method that is easy to apply until you get more experience.

How to Hem Aida Habric

There seem to be lots of options for you to choose between. There are several options when you do not own a sewing machine or want to hand stitch the fabric instead of using your machine. Hand stitching is probably best for small cross stitch efforts.

One method would be to use a simple whip stitch to hold the fibers in place while you work. Another would be to use a basting stitch to accomplish the same thing. These are simple stitch patterns that do not take a lot of time to do.

Or you can use masking tape to cover the edges while you work. Once you are done, it is better to cut the cloth off between your hemstitches and the masking tape. The masking tape holds the threads in place while you decide on the decorative hemstitch you will use once your pattern is completed.

You cut the masking tape off as peeling it leaves behind some of the adhesive which will attract dirt. Then you can serge the edges and make a nice hem while cutting the excess fabric off at the same time.

Then you can go without stitching ahem and simply use a fray stop like product or fabric glue. Which one you use will be up to you and which makes your hard work look its best.

Can Aida Cloth be Washed?


You can wash Aida cloth but it is when you wash that is up to a lot of debate. Some people have said that the lower quality Aida fabrics made in certain South East Asian countries are not worth the time nor the energy to work with. That would include washing them first as their quality may not be as good as the Aida fabric made in other countries.

But you can wash it first if you want, just make sure to iron it before it is totally dry. Some top-quality cloth made by the more famous brands are said to not shrink when you wash them properly.

Basically, this decision is totally up to you. There is no real right or wrong answer here and it will depend on how you feel about the material shrinking after you wash it and after you spent all that time putting the design onto the fabric.

When you go to iron it, put the right side of the stitch pattern down and iron the reverse side. Just do not wash the cloth in water that is too hot.

Does Aida Cloth Shrink?

This is possible as the material is made from cotton fibers. If you wash in above warm water temperatures you may experience some shrinkage. Both before and after your project has been started or completed.

Some people may want a little shrinkage after they finish their cross-stitching. To be more specific, they would want to see an even, natural shrinkage as that will make their pattern look even better.

Some top brands produce great quality Aida cloth materials and those are said to not shrink as long as you wash them according to the care label on the package or in the instructions. The lesser quality products from other cheaper manufacturers may shrink no matter what you do to protect them.

But generally, you may be able to avoid the shrink rate if you are careful and wash the cloth properly. Play this by ear and make a couple of test runs if possible to see what kind of results you get. There is nothing wrong with pre-washing and nothing wrong with waiting to wash until the pattern is done.

Can You Iron Aida Fabric?

Yes, it is possible to iron Aida fabric. The cotton fibers are not afraid of the iron, just make sure to use the right setting before you get started. You will want to iron as this material can get wrinkles in it just like cotton fabrics do.

Also, you can use the steam function on your iron to help you. If you do not have a steam function, use a spray bottle and do some misting as you work. Make sure your iron is set to low heat, and it may be possible to use the cotton setting.

The key to avoiding wrinkles and creases is to not fol the Aida cloth when you are not working on it. Make sure to keep it flat at all times. That way you save yourself some work and do not have to iron the material over and over.

Since the material is made from cotton fibers, treat the Aida cloth gently. You can use a damp pressing cloth to help you if you do not want to use steam or the misting method. It is okay to go back and forth with your iron on this material.

How to Soften Aida Fabric


If you have not stitched yet, you can place the Aida cloth in your dryer with a dryer sheet and a damp cloth or towel. Set the dryer for about 30 to 40 minutes. Once the timer beeps, take the cloth out and smooth the material with your hands. Then let it rest for 5 minutes.

Once that is done, you can start stitching as the cloth should be softer. One reason you have to soften this fabric is that some of the brands that produce lesser quality materials use a lot of starch to stiffen the fabric and make it seem better than it really is.

If you try to pre-wash with hot water, you may remove the starch but you make the fibers a lot stiffer than they should be. To slowly get rid of the stiffness, simple hand stitch for a while without a hoop. The fabric will soften a little and when it does you can add the hoop.

Different cross-stitchers will have their own unique method to soften Aida fabric. You can ask them for additional tips to the ones we provided here.

Finding Aida Fabric by the Yard

The first place to look would be on your computer. Besides Amazon, numerous shops deal strictly with cross stitch supplies and fabrics. There are many of them and they all seem to carry Aida fabric in all sizes and colors.

Normally, you would be able to check out Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn's but they may only carry this material in the pre-cut sizes we have already mentioned. If they have it, it may only be in the cream color and the 14 count size.

You may have to go to the non-national chain stores to see what they have in stock or if they can order some of the material in for you if they don’t. It is going to be a challenge to find Aida fabric by the yard.

Etsy may have some but you would have to look at their website to see if they have the right color, count size, and price for you.

Some Final Words

When you do a hobby like cross-stitch it is good to know that there is a specialty fabric that helps you in more ways than just being there to accept the stitches. You get good help when you use this material for your hobby.

Leave a Comment:

Add Your Reply