couching stitch
'How To' Tutorials,  Embroidery Stitches

Stitch Fun – Couching

Stitch this Fabulous Sampler

stitch sampler for hand embroidery

If you want to stitch this wonderful sampler and learn over 30 Hand Embroidery stitches then head over to this page for all the information.

Couching Stitch

This is an incredibly simple way of adding texture to your design and a great way to use thicker threads that are difficult to take through the fabric.

We are going to add a few different shapes with couching stitch to your sampler so you can see how versatile it is.

If you have purchased the Pre Printed Fabric Panel or have tranferred the Template to your fabric – scroll down to the ‘Start Stitching’ section to get started straight away.

Let’s start with a simple straight line…

Start by marking a line about 0.5cm from the pekinese stitch in the left top quarter of the circle.

Start Stitching…

Couching is basically a thick thread on the surface of your work which you then tack down with a contrasting thread to attach it to the surface – a bit like applique.

I used an Anchor Soft Embroidery thread which is quite thick (similar to wool) for the thread to be couched on to the surface…

Bring your thick thread up on the start of the line – ready to be couched (tacked) down.

This thread is just laid on the surface.

Using a second thread (I used 2 strands of DMC) – start at point 1 – come up just on the top of the line and then go down at point 2 – directly opposite 1 creating a tiny vertical stitch that holds the thick thread in place.

Continue doing this – come up at 3, down at 4 – making the gaps inbetween the tacking stitches an equal distance apart…

When you have tacked the thread down all the way along the line (step 3)

Take the thick surface thread to the back to complete. (step 4).

Now you know how to couch a simple line – you can adapt this same technique for different shapes…

Couching a circle…

Draw a circle 2cm in diameter on the lower left half of the sampler just below the Catherine Wheel.

Keep it to the edge like I have done (ignore the other 2 circles – they are for another weeks stitch!)

Bring the thread that you want to keep on the surface up in the centre of the circle and then with your contrasting thread, begin to couch the surface thread down as you did in the straight line. This time, curl the surface thread around as you couch it down.

Try to keep the tacking stitches an equal distance apart but also intermittent to the previous round so they don’t all end up in a line (unless that is what you are intending to do which is ok too!)

When the whole circle is complete, take the surface thread to the back to complete.

Finally, Free Play with some Couching…

In the lower right quarter of your sampler – free style a few lines of curved couching just like I did in this photo (area indicated with red arrow)…

Don’t extend over the area to the right as this is needed for something else. Try and keep it in line with the edge of the fly stitch and no further down than the edge of the turkey rug square…

And that’s all there is to it – looks like a lot but couching is really quick to do and great fun once you get going.

Show us your sampler so far… #stitchdoodlesdesign on Instagram, post in the Happy stitching FB Group, or email your pics and I’ll add them here.

Happy Stitching!

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