Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Text, Part Seven

Six digitally-created versions of cross stitch pride patches, arranged in two rows of three, against a background of a textured partially-translucent aromantic pride flag. Text between the two rows reads Aro Pride Patches in black type. Patches include a rectangular patch in aroflux zigzag stripes, an idemromantic heart, an aro flag text patch reading "aro", a square in quoiromantic stripes, an arrow design in allo-aro colours and a second arrow in nebularomantic colours.

Part seven of my text patch miniseries provides patterns for pride flags with, appropriately, seven horizontal stripes! These patterns suit many aro-ace and aro-ace agender flags as well as some aro, allo-aro, ace and a-spec spectrum flags.

Two cross stitch patches sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. Both feature block-style letters divided into seven horizontal stripes, sewn in the colours of various pride flags. The top patch reads "alloaro" in the colours of the green/aqua/magenta/light blue/white/yellow/gold allo-aro spectrum flag, sewn on a lilac background with a lilac buttonhole-stitch border. The bottom patch reads "aro" in the colours of the green/black/grey/white/grey/black/green aro spectrum flag, sewn on a green background with a variegated green buttonhole-stitch border.

You’ll need familiarity with cross stitch (full crosses and fractional stitches) and backstitch to make unedged patches, along with a buttonhole/closed blanket stitch to make the edged patches shown above. My first patch tutorial demonstrates cross and blanket/buttonhole stitch, while the second covers backstitch.

Notes on Pattern Structure

Full coloured blocks indicate a full cross stitch. Letter outlines indicate backstitch.

Blocks divided on the diagonal, each half a different colour, indicate quarter stitches. Please see my first text tutorial and my pride month pride patch tutorial for more information on backstitching outlines and placing quarter/fractional stitches.

Space for edging your patch is not shown in the patterns below. You’ll need to allow additional blocks for this when cutting your swatch, depending on how narrow or thick you like your edges.

Aro and Ace Patch Patterns

Aro-Spec cross stitch patch pattern with the text Aro in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the green/black/grey/white/grey/black/green aro-spec pride flag, with a teal background. Pattern is set on a violet grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in light green.
Ace-Spec cross stitch patch pattern with the text Ace in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the violet/black/grey/white/grey/black/violet ace-spec pride flag, with a green background. Pattern is set on a light grey grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in mauve.

The seven stripe “aro” and “ace” patterns fit a rectangle 35 stitches wide and 18 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 38 x 21 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Aro-Ace Patch Patterns

Aro-Ace cross stitch patch pattern with the text AroAce in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the black/green/light green/white/light violet/violet/black aro-ace pride flag, with a teal background. Pattern is set on a light cyan grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in grey.
Aro-Ace cross stitch patch pattern with the text AceAro in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the black/green/light green/white/light violet/violet/black aro-ace pride flag, with a teal background. Pattern is set on a light cyan grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in grey.

The seven stripe “aroace” and “acearo” patterns fit a rectangle 68 stitches wide and 18 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 71 x 21 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Allo-Aro Patch Patterns

Allosexual Aro-Spec cross stitch patch pattern with the text AlloAro in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the green/aqua/pink/blue/white/yellow/gold allosexual aro-spec pride flag, with a teal background. Pattern is set on a light grey grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in light cyan.
Allosexual Aro-Spec cross stitch patch pattern with the text AroAllo in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the green/aqua/pink/blue/white/yellow/gold allosexual aro-spec pride flag, with a teal background. Pattern is set on a light grey grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in light cyan.

The seven stripe “alloaro” and “aroallo” patterns fit a rectangle 79 stitches wide and 18 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 82 x 21 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Triple A Patch Pattern

Aro-Ace Agender cross stitch patch pattern with the text Triple A in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the black/green/white/lime/white/violet/black aro-ace agender pride flag, with a dark green background. Pattern is set on a light cyan grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in grey.

The seven stripe “triple a” pattern fits a rectangle 76 stitches wide and 18 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 79 x 21 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Nebula Pattern

Cross stitch pattern with the text nebula in block upper-case lettering, striped in the colours of the maroon/coral/pink/white/cyan/blue/navy nebularomantic flag, on a pastel purple background.

The seven stripe “nebula” pattern fits a rectangle 68 stitches wide and 18 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 71 x 21 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Agender Pattern

Cross stitch pattern with the text agender in block upper-case lettering, striped in the colours of the black/grey/white/mint/white/grey/black agender flag, on an olive green background.

The seven stripe “agender” pattern fits a rectangle 79 stitches wide and 18 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 82 x 21 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Queer Pattern

Queer cross stitch patch pattern with the text queer in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the pastel pink/orange/yellow/whuite/green/blue/violet queer pride flag, with a green background. Pattern is set on a light grey grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in mauve.

The seven stripe “queer” pattern fits a rectangle 57 stitches wide and 18 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 60 x 21 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Sizing, Scale and Fabric

Taller letters mean bigger patches. Even a seven-letter word sewn on 14-count aida takes up a fair amount of space, which may be a problem if attaching this patch to a smaller bag or backpack. Combining patterns for a longer word or term–think “agender aroace”–creates even greater space challenges.

A cross stitch patch sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. It features block-style letters divided into seven horizontal stripes, sewn in the colours of various pride flags. The patch reads "aro" in the colours of the green/black/grey/white/grey/black/green aro spectrum flag, sewn on a green background with a variegated green buttonhole-stitch border.
The aro pattern sewn on 14-count aida.

A change in fabric easily reduces the size of the patch. The larger the aida count (the number of blocks per inch), the smaller the stitches and patch dimensions alike. Except for short words like “aro” or “pride”, I sew seven-stripe patterns on 18-count aida. (16-count aida exists for those who find 18-count too small, but I’m yet to find it at an affordable price.) Remember to change your needle as well: generally, a size 26 tapestry needle works for 16-count and a 28 for 18-count. In my opinion, you can get away with using a size 26 for 18-count aida if you don’t have, can’t find or struggle to thread size 28 needles.

A cross stitch patch sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. It features block-style letters divided into seven horizontal stripes, sewn in the colours of various pride flags. The patch reads "alloaro" in the colours of the green/aqua/magenta/light blue/white/yellow/gold allo-aro spectrum flag, sewn on a lilac background with a lilac buttonhole-stitch border.
The modified “alloaro” pattern sewn on 18-count aida.

You’ll also need to consider the floss used for the lettering, background and backstitch sections of your patch. Thicker, fluffier or twisted strands become more obvious when your stitches shrink. Even small lumps and split or loose stitches stand out more on 18-count than on 14-count! While I also cut shorter threads, untwisted them more often and tried to take my time over stitch placement, using quality floss made the biggest difference in my quest to neaten my work.

Stitching on 18-count uses less floss, especially if you stitch the lettering and background with a single stand. You may need to widen your edging by a block or two if you find it difficult to buttonhole stitch a narrower edge: a two block 18-count edging is much smaller than a two block 14-count edging. It is possible to sew a nice-looking edge over two 18-count blocks, but I find it easier to maintain even tension and stitch placement when I leave myself at least three blocks … which I didn’t do above due to a momentary (and embarrassing) inability to count!

Allosexual Aro-Spec cross stitch patch pattern with the text AlloAro in upper-case block lettering, striped in the colours of the green/aqua/pink/blue/white/yellow/gold allosexual aro-spec pride flag, with a teal background. Pattern is set on a light grey grid. Letters are outlined, indicating backstitch, in light cyan.

Other space-savers include removing the background stitches above, below and beside the letters. When doing this, I use the same floss for my background and my edging, as shown on my “alloaro” patch, and only fill in the gaps between letters. It’s easier to sew the backstitching and filling-in of quarter stitches after the edging, not before. This avoids accidentally covering the backstitch letter outlines with the buttonhole-stitched edge.

Pattern Modifications

More identities can be stitched in flag colours by adding and subtracting letters from different patterns:

  • Agender aroace can be made in a single patch by combining the “agender” and “aroace” patterns.
  • Nebula aroace or nebularoace can be made in a single patch by combining the “nebula” and “aroace” patterns.
  • Nebula aro or nebularo can be made by combining the “nebula” and “aro” patterns; nebula ace can be made by combining the “nebula” and “ace” patterns.
  • Alloace or aceallo is easily made by taking the “alloaro” pattern and swapping the “aro” for the “ace” pattern.
  • An apl (abbreviation for “aplatonic”) patch using the seven-stripe aplatonic-spectrum flags can be made using the ace or aro patterns as a base and swapping in “l” from the “alloaro” and “p” from my “triple a” or “pride” patterns.
  • Aplatonic, using the same flags, can be made using letters from the “agender”, “aroace” and “triple a” patterns. Both apl and aplatonic can then be added to the “aro”, “ace” and “aroace” patterns. You can even make a (very!) long agender aplatonic aroace patch or banner this way!
  • A cupiro patch pattern using the seven-stripe cupiroflux flag can be composed with letters from the “aroace”, “queer” and “triple a” patterns.
  • A procul patch using the seven-stripe proculromantic and proculsexual flags can made with letters taken from the “aroace”, “queer” and “triple a” patterns.

Final Notes

Unfortunately, these patches take time to stitch: larger letters and more stripes increase the complexity. I thread each colour of floss on its own needle, to limit fussing about with rethreading, but stitching the allo-aro patch still took me ten hours or so spread over several days. I think the results are worth it, especially if you’re after a craft to keep your hands occupied, but these patterns are no longer quick to sew.

Folks wishing a simpler patch may like to stitch only a single letter, akin to my letter icon designs.

My next tutorial is something I’m quite excited about: a full lower-case alphabet designed for flags with three, four, six and twelve horizontal stripes–plus an assortment of letter icon patterns!

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