When cross stitching, most all chargs will show the number of stitches in width and height. There are many cross stitch calculators avalable online. I use the one from Yarn Tree.
Before starting any project, I plug the numbers into the stitch calculator to see (1) what size the finished piece will be and (2) what size fabric I should use. The standard margin seems to be 3″ per side, though I would recommend contacting your framer to be sure of their requirements. Since I’m framing mine myself, I’m fine with a 2″ or even a 1-1/2″ margin on either side.
This shows the calculations done for a 135 x 131 chart using 32 count fabric, and a 3″ margin on all sides. The fabric should be 14.5 x 14″.
I can only inlcude whole numbers so a 2″ margin on all sides would require a fabric that is 10.5″ x 11″. So, for 2.5″ on all sides, I’ll add 1″ and that means I need 11.5″ x 12″.
Here’s where the quilter in me says . . measure twice/cut (or stitch) once.
You can see in the photo below
You can see from the label that the piece I want to use is 13 x 18, which should be plenty large enough for what I want to make but if you look closely, there’s about a 3/8″ selvedge on the left, which I will cut off before framing and once I pulled a thread on the right side to be sure the count was equal all the way across the piece, I ended up with 12-1/2″. Because I only need 11.5″ on the shortest side, with a 2-1/2″ margin, I’m fine with that. The piece is 18″ long, which gives me 3″ on top and bottom so I won’t have to be cutting it close there. I’ll pull a thread at the top, then start about 2-1/2 down so I should have almost 3-1/2″ at the bottom.
It’s just like with quilting. Whatever the fabric width says is selvedge to selvedge – not alway usable space. The shops don’t have time to pull a thread to get it straight so they do the best they can and, so long as I’ve ordered from shops with good ratings, I’ve not had any problems.
When I was longarm quilting for others, I always asked for 6″ extra fabric length and width, which was 3 inches on all sides. I can’t tell you how many times someone would measure fabric on one side and it was 6 inches longer but the other side was only 4″ longer so if the left side. By the time I straightened the fabric, I sometimes didn’t even have enough fabric to cover the back to the top, and certainly not enough fabric to pin to the leaders or sew to zippers.
It’s a whole lot easier to take a few extra precautions to be sure things are going to work out right before starting to stitch but I guess that’s how it is in life with lots of things.
Just for fun, you can see that the same number of stitches that will finish at 8.5 x 8.25 using 32 count will finish at 6.75 x 6.5 using 40 count. I find it so interesting that the same chart can be larger or smaller depending on the count fabric used. This works great when there’s a frame you really want to use and need to manipulate the size of the stitched piece.