XYZZX Creations is the home of Joan Beiriger's counted cross-stitch and blackwork needlework designs. Joan specializes in counted cross-stitch flowers, dinosaurs, and landmarks (including San Francisco).


Tear-Away Canvas Instructions

Tear-away Canvas

By using tear-away canvas (waste canvas), a design can be cross-stitched directly onto any type of fabric such as T-shirts and sweatshirts. Tear-away canvas comes in many stitch counts and looks like pettipoint canvas (type of needlepoint canvas) except every fifth thread set (one direction only) is colored blue. Tear-away canvas is not woven like needlepoint canvas but is held together with sizing (water-soluble glue). The canvas is basted (temporarily stitched) onto the fabric. The counted cross-stitch design is stitched over the tear-away canvas and the fabric. Once the counted cross-stitch stitching is completed, the basting is removed, the fabric is soaked in water to remove the sizing, and each strand of the tear-away canvas is pulled out. Only the counted cross-stitch
design remains on the front surface of the fabric.

Supplies Needed:
1. tear-away canvas
2. interfacing or a thin piece of solid-colored cloth that does not fray. The interface will help stabilize the cross-stitch on the fabric (especially stretchable fabrics such as T-shirts and sweaters). The interface is not necessary on heavy fabrics such as denim jeans.
3. counted cross-stitch chart
4. thread
5. needle
6. scissors
7. tweezers (optional)


1. Determine the size of the counted cross-stitch design, add at least a one inch border (two inches is better), and cut the correct size of tear-away canvas. You will need the extra canvas thread of the tear-away canvas border to help remove the canvas after the stitching is finished.

2. Mark the center of the design on the chart and on the tear-away canvas.

3. Cut a piece of interfacing the same size as the tear-away canvas.

4. Place the canvas on the front surface of the fabric to be embellished with counted cross-stitch. Place the interfacing on the backside of the fabric. The fabric is between the interfacing and the canvas.

5. Sew large running stitches (basting) around the outside edges to temporarily hold the interfacing, fabric, and canvas together.

6. By using the chart, find the nearest cross-stitch to the center of the design. Begin to stitch the design.

7. Once the cross-stitch is done, remove the basting stitches.

8. Gently pull up the excess interfacing from around the stitching and trim the interfacing. Do not trim the tear-away canvas. 8. Soak the fabric in water to remove the sizing from the canvas.

9. Pull out the canvas strands one at a time. A pair of tweezers will help with stubborn to remove strands. Hint: On stiff or bulky fabric, the canvas strands may be very difficult to remove. A gentle back and forth motion of the strands with the tweezers or picking at the strands through the cross-stitches with a pin will help to remove the canvas.

10. Launder the clothing to remove any remaining sizing residue.

XYZZX Creations - Dept. Needlecraft - 5222 Roxanne Ct - Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 443-5769; e-mail: