Book Review – Do-It-Yourself Stitch People

Mr X Stitch Book Review

Do-It-Yourself Stitch People (2nd Edition) by Elisabeth Dabczynski

Well, the title does give some of the content away…this book is all about the people.  Prepare for mind blowing variety and ideas for all your Cross Stitch characters you have in your head to create.  It is all about the personal, how you can adapt the patterns yourself to create likenesses of your own family members.  In this time period, so much attention is given to the ‘personalised’; whether it is our jewellery gifts or our daily coffee order.  This book does that in a Cross Stitch way…….

(Bear in mind that the copy we are reviewing here is the second edition, which is apparently much larger and more detailed than the first!)

Who is it for?

Those interested in Cross Stitch and more specifically those wanting to work a little outside the box, to create personal work, with the focus on people over places and scenery.

About the author

Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean loves cross-stitching and helping people create new family heirlooms with modern cross-stitch patterns and portraits.  This book grew from this love and she has not designed and stitched for families all over the world.  She manages all the design, stitching and customer service of her brand.  She welcomes emails…. [email protected]  You can find out more via her website too.


The whole book is so well laid out.  It acts really as a manual more than an ‘art’ piece, but this is so practical and does not detract from its value.

We get the feeling that this author really cares. It is as if she has put her heart into making sure every detail is covered for the reader.

If you are not familiar to Cross Stitch or if you are used to following an exact pattern; on first glance you may find the content overwhelming.  However if you just turn to the beginning, you will see that there is a whole section on how the book is designed to work, why it has been created and how it can work for you.  We personally found this really helpful.

The whole philosophy behind the book is explained.
Bean encourages any reader who is stuck or confused to get in touch. There is even an online Facebook community which you can turn to for help!

What makes it special?

There is simply nothing like it – its niche in that it focuses just on Cross Stitching people, yet it gets even more honed, dealing with portraits.  With the authors guidance, we can have hope of being able to get a likeness of our friends, family…grandads…..

Even the family pets are covered!

We loved Bean’s attention to detail, even down to hair colour and styles!

This is literally the Stitch version of the painted portrait!

Priceless….who else would have thought of all this detail!


The explanations are well recorded via careful use of step by step photography.

This image may seem basic to some, but its a lifeline for those who are less confident.
There is a great gallery of examples….how any family can be given a Cross Stitch ,makeover. It seems like this is a modern version of the wall mounted Tapestry.

What is wrong with the book?

If you are a traditionalist and don’t feel inclined to personalise your Cross Stitch projects, then this may go over your head.  However for those who are maybe a little bored of stitching to the pattern and want to try their own, this is a brilliant start.


Whether you are keen on Cross Stitch or not, you cannot help but be impressed by this book.  The care and time taken by the author goes above and beyond the standard information which is usually divulged.  Her open handed invitation to contact her is also a plus.  As a book, this is a great gift for the young and old alike – we imagine this would encourage even grandchildren to have a go.  I mean come on, there is even a page dedicated to tattoos!

Fancy a copy?

Get your copy of Do-It-Yourself Stitch People (2nd Edition) right now!

Ailish Henderson

Freelance artist, designer, lecturer and tutor and, as if that wasn't enough, Editor in Chief of Mr X Stitch.

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