Lesson 1: Cross-stitch and appliqué

The children review sewing skills and learning two new techniques: cross-stitch and appliqué

Before the lesson


  • Teacher video: Cross-stitch and appliqué
  • Pupil video: Cross-stitch and appliqu​é 
Teacher video: Cross-stitch and appliqué

Pupil video: Cross-stitch and appliqu​é 

Have ready

Learning objective

  • To know how to sew cross-stitch and appliqué

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks

Success criteria

  • I can use cross stitch
  • I know how to appliqué
  • I can reflect on techniques used

Cross-curricular links

  • Nothing relevant to this lesson

Attention grabber

Discuss the purpose of textiles. Textiles often balance functionality with pleasing aesthetics. For example, the items created in our Years 1 and 2 textiles topics had practical functions, but the overall design was adapted to make it attractive.

The children will learn about appliqué, which simply means ‘applied’. Appliqué was a patch used to cover a hole in a piece of material, but it is now often used purely as decoration.

Share these examples:

Link: ‘Etsy – Cross-stitch Snowman’

Link: ‘Wikipedia – Appliqué’


Main event

Demonstrate cross-stitch and applique. Show the children Pupil video: Cross-stitch and appliqu​é on your interactive whiteboard for further demonstration. You could leave the video running for the children to refer to as they work independently on the stitches (the video is looped so will play continuously).

Pupil video: Cross-stitch and appliqu​é

Cross-stitch (15 minutes)

1. Thread the needle (see ‘Year 2, Textiles: Pouches, Lesson 1’ for more information).

2. Decide which side is the bottom.

3. Starting from the bottom, press the needle through to the top, making a small stitch (0.5cm).

4. Press the needle back down to the underside.

5. Repeat steps three and four, this time the stitch will cross the last stitch at a right angle, making a cross.

This stitch is stronger than the running stitch as it works in several directions.


Appliqué (15 minutes)

1. Neatly cut out a shape from one material and lay it on top of the other material (contrasting materials and colours work well).

2. Use cross-stitch or running stitch to sew around the edge of the patch material – the stitches will reinforce the shape cut so keep that in mind.

For pupils working at greater depth, encourage them to try reverse appliqué – putting the patch on the underside then sewing the edges as normal before cutting the top fabric out (inside the stitches) to reveal the patch below.


Key questions

  • What is this called?
  • How do I thread it?
  • What can I do if I have trouble?
  • Which direction am I sewing in?
  • What is the name of the stitch?


Pupils needing extra support: May need support threading the needle and knotting the thread.



Pupils working at greater depth: Should ensure that their stitches support the shape of the patch and can try using reverse appliqué technique.

Wrapping up

Ask the children to look at their experiments from the lesson, showcasing the more successful versions. Discuss useful tips and tricks learned today and record them on the board.

Explain to the children that in Lesson 2 they will be using these skills in a design of their own.

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

  • Did children thread the needle independently?
  • Did they knot the thread independently?
  • Are children able to sew consistently sized stitches?


Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Their ability to use a cross-stitch to join two pieces of fabric together.


Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Their ability to use a neat and considered cross stitch to join an appliqué patch to another fabric and attempt reverse appliqué.


  • Applique

  • Cross-stitch

  • Design

  • Equipment

  • Fabric

  • Patch

  • Running stitch

  • Thread

Created by:
Tom Turnham,  
Design & Technology specialist
Tom has been a teacher for seven years and, as Head of Upper School at The Belham Primary School, he has a keen interest in young people and good causes. For the past seventeen years he has volunteered with various…
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