Vintage zodiac cross-stitch designs to make astrological needlework patterns (1950)

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Vintage zodiac cross-stitch designs from 1950

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

These vintage zodiac cross-stitch designs could be used as-is, interspersed and contrasted with plain squares, or the designs may be adapted to many other uses — such as cross-stitch embroidery for table linens.
Zodiac cross-stitch designs from 1950

The signs of the zodiac, originated by some ingenious stargazer thousands of years ago, have persisted through the ages — not only as astrological and astronomical symbols, but also in many forms of art.

Mr Leonard Shortall, whose illustrations have often enlivened the pages of Woman’s Day, adapted the signs to cross-stitch, and his wife incorporated the motifs in making the rug shown here.

Mrs Shortall has introduced a personal touch by having each square commemorate the birth date of a member of the family. Two were born under the sign of Gemini — hence the divided twins in the left and right front corners.

The zodiac squares might also be used to great effect interspersed and contrasted with plain squares, or the designs could be adapted to many other uses — such as cross-stitch embroidery for table linens.

Charts for all twelve signs of the zodiac, as well as directions for making the rug, are in the How To Section [below].

ALSO SEE: Retro-style Granny squares are easy to crochet & can be used in so many ways

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch designs to make astrological needlework (1950)


How to make it – how to do it – how to fix it

Transferring a design – new method

Materials needed

  • Old automatic pencil and No. 20 tapestry needle (to make stylus)
  • Typewriter or dressmaker’s carbon paper
  • Graph paper in size and scale desired (paper with 10, 8, or 4 squares to 1″ is usually available in stationery stores)
  • Smooth surface, such as drawing board or breadboard, into which thumbtacks can be driven
  • Blotting paper or cardboard

Preparing design

Copy a design, drawing each X of design on a square of graph paper.

Count stitches carefully, but draw Xs roughly with crayons to indicate colors, if you wish. Squares of paper will keep embroidery uniform.

Making stylus

Remove lead from automatic pencil; in its place, push eye end of needle; adjust pencil so about 1/8″ or 1/4″ of needle point protrudes.

Transferring design

Cover an area of drawing board with blotting paper or cardboard; over it place fabric to be embroidered, then penciled design.

Be sure lines of graph paper are parallel to threads of fabric. Thumbtack to board at top. Slip carbon paper between design and fabric; tack at bottom.

Holding stylus as nearly vertical as possible, push the point accurately through design and carbon paper at four points of each cross-stitch to be worked, to distinguish between squares to be worked and those which fall between the Xs.

Your design is now transferred to fabric, just as machine-stamped cross-stitch is, and is ready to be embroidered.

ALSO SEE: Vintage Patterns Adult Coloring Book: Embroidery designs from the Victorian & Edwardian eras

Thread-count method

This can be used only on round-thread linens of which the threads can be counted easily.

The weave should be even, with the same number of threads in each direction. Work each cross-stitch over 2 or more threads, depending on the size stitch you wish.

Be sure to follow threads of fabric exactly so work will be even. Threads must be counted also for any spaces between groups of cross-stitches.

Cross-stitch-canvas method

This is the method used on very fine linen, or any material where the threads cannot be counted easily.

Cross-stitch or Penelope canvas is placed over linen temporarily, and serves as a guide for the stitches. It can be bought in a number of different size meshes.

Cut canvas 1″ larger all around than fabric. Place fabric on smooth surface; lay canvas over it, carefully lining up threads of canvas with threads of fabric.

Baste together, working from middle out to center of each of the four sides, then from middle to corners. Baste all outer edges. Crease edges of fabric, to keep fabric from fraying, and baste.

When working, be careful not to catch stitches in threads of canvas or to embroider through the folded edges.

Work embroidery; snip canvas between groups of cross-stitches; pull out canvas and basting threads with tweezers.

MORE: Americana quilts you can make of pieced patchwork


Aries the ram cross-stitch pattern: March 21 to April 19

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Aries the ram


Taurus the bull: April 20 to May 20

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Taurus the bull


Gemini the twins cross-stitch pattern: May 21 to June 21

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Gemini the twins


Cancer the crab: June 22 to July 22

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Cancer the crab pattern


Leo the lion vintage cross-stitch pattern: July 23 to August 22

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Leo the lion pattern


Virgo the virgin: August 23 to September 22

Vintage 1950s zodiac cross-stitch design - Virgo the virgin pattern


Libra the balance: September 23 to October 23

Vintage 1950s zodiac cross-stitch design - LIbra the balance pattern


Scorpio the scorpion: October 24 to November 21

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Scorpio the scorpion


Sagittarius the archer cross-stitch pattern: November 22 to December 21

Vintage 1950s zodiac cross-stitch design - Sagittarius the archer


Capricorn the goat: December 22 to January 19

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Capricorn the goat


Aquarius the water-bearer cross-stitch pattern: January 20 to February 18

MORE: Cute vintage Valentine’s Day heart cross-stitch how-to from 1955

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Aquarius the water-bearer


Pisces the fish: February 19 to March 20

Vintage zodiac cross-stitch design - Pisces the fish pattern

DON’T MISS: Vintage needlepoint: Designs & dozens of ideas from the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s

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