Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Embroidery How To: Couching

Today is my final embroidery tutorial, and as previously mentioned it is on couching. Couching is basically using one thread the sew another thread into place, so to do it you will need two lengths of thread.

I start, as usual, by drawing my pattern onto my fabric. Since Valentine's Day is coming up, and I haven't really done any Valentine's projects yet (How is it February already?) I decided to go with this little heart.

Next, you will need a length of thread long enough to go all the way around your pattern. Thread your needle, tie a knot in the end and pull it through wherever you would like to start your pattern. I'm starting at the bottom of my heart.

Then, thread your second needle, knot the end and pull it through slightly ahead of where you started your first. This thread is going to be used to sew your first thread into place along your pattern lines. I try to space my stitches with this second thread as evenly as possible. To go around curves, you may need to make your stitches a bit more closely together to keep a smooth curve.

Simply pull your needle up through your fabric, then sew it back through with your first thread ending up wrapped neatly by your second.

Continue on, spacing your stitches as evenly as possible. If you come to a space in your pattern that has a sharp angle, like the top of my heart, make sure that you place a holding stitch on that point. Couching makes it very easy to do embroidery in a single line that can make very tight turns because of the anchoring stitches that hold your actual line in place.

Once finished, you will sew your original thread back to the back of your fabric at your ending point, and tie it off. I generally tie the ends of my first and second threads together into a knot on the back. Voila! Your finished heart!

For those who are curious, the back of your project will look a bit like this:

I hope you enjoyed my mini series on embroidery! This month will be filled with lots of new projects like more paper flowers, some cute crafts for babies, a couple more Valentine's and much more!


  1. I embroider A LOT, but it's been ages since I used this stitch. Thanks for reminding me :-)

  2. Gracias mil por compartir el tutorial.

  3. Thank you for this! Do you find this or back stitch to be better for projects?

    1. For me, it always depends on the project. If I have something with lots of curves (or spirals) I love to use couching, I think it ends up looking a little smoother. I have been known to use only 3 strands of floss from the 6 thread count variety as my top stitch so it isn't as noticeable as well.

      Granted, sometimes I just really like the look of all the tiny individual stitches that the back stitch provides. I'm actually working on a gorgeous line-drawing of a Pug puppy right now, I'll post it later. The little guy begged me to back stitch.