How to do Couching Stitch

couching sample 3Couching is wonderful technique that many embroiderers forget about but it is easy to do and a wonderful way to use interesting textured novelty threads in your embroidery. You can create wonderful surfaces by couching down threads and then embroidering over the top of them. Combined with beads and textured stitches in interesting threads you can make your embroidery pop. It is quick to work, easy to do, a heap of fun, and opens many doors. Couching is used in Laidwork and also known as convent stitch and kloster stitch.

How to work Couching Stitch

With couching, a surface thread is laid on the fabric, and anchored using a second thread. I have used a contrasting thread so the couching can be seen but normally you would match the colour. Use a large eyed needle to bring the heavy thread through the fabric.

Using a finer needle and thread at regular intervals make small, straight stitches over the thick thread to secure it to the fabric. Work in this way until you have completed the line or filled the area.

Instructions on how to do couching stitch step 1

Take the end of heavy thread to the back of the fabric using a large eyed needle. Secure both ends with small stitches using the fine thread. Do not clip the heavy thread too close, otherwise it will pop up to the surface.

Instructions on how to do couching stitch step 2There are many ways to use couching. You can create patterns of the thread itself. In this case I have used a metallic thread to couch chenille thread in a spiral pattern.

couching sample 1Couching is ideal  for attaching highly textured or thick threads the foundation fabric building up rich complex decorative surfaces in a freeform manner. In the sample below I couched a blue chenille yarn and novelty knitting yarn to  a hand painted fabric and then covered it with textured embroidery and beads.

couching sample 5This example of couching is used  to create a pattern along a crazy quilt seam. The metallic yarn was too thick to stitch with so I couched it down in  zig zag pattern before adding beads.

couching sample 2Here is another example of couching used on a crazy quilt block. The seaweed is made up of novelty threads couched tot he surface and the tendrils of the jelly fish is also made of couched threads. This is a block on my I dropped the Button Box Quilt. You can read more about block 81 here.

Couching on crazy quilt blockThis last example of couching is a small scene of summer grasses. It is mainly made up of couching, straight stitch worked in free form manner, French knots  and wooden beads.

couching sample 4I hope I have given you a few ideas on how to use couching in a contemporary way.

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99 Responses to How to do Couching Stitch

  1. Laura says:

    Week 10: Couching metallic floss turned out to be easier than stitching with it!

  2. Pingback: TAST 2012 #9: Couching - Studio Paars: embroidery couching

  3. Pingback: 1 Year’s stitches – Days 26-31 | CrazyQstitcher

  4. Pingback: 1 Year of Stitches day 4 | CrazyQstitcher

  5. My project challenge is stitching onto paper.
    Couching stitch (with chain and the next 3) are found here.
    Sandy in the UK

  6. Sherrie says:

    I’ve posted about the Couching Stitch at my place.
    Have a great day!

  7. Linda says:

    Hi Sharon,
    Here is my couching sample :)

  8. Not finished yet, but I posted my turtle tuesday on my blog:

  9. made it a day late but i am glad i persevered, as i liked the end result.

  10. Bernice O says:

    My first try at Couching stitch… I liked this stitch.

  11. chitra gangadharan says:

    HI sharon,
    I am trying some spirals with this couching technique on my blog-
    thank you,

  12. Dianne says:

    My couched piece called Forest is now posted to my blog here:

  13. Here is this week's couching :

    Hope you'll all stop by for a visit!!

    Linda H

  14. Christina says:

    I made some progress on my February work, and I blogged about it here: And posted a bigger image of my heart in couching technique here:

  15. Here's my blog post about my couching sample:

  16. Nat Uhing says:

    Not completely done, but I've missed so many stitches on my holidays, I didn't want to miss yet another! My couching sample blogged about at

  17. shirley says:

    I forgot to put this link to my photos on stitchinfingers.of my second couching attempt. My photos page is here

  18. Anna Kousi says:

    I hane never done any coyching stitch before! At first, I didn't know how to use it and what to do with it… but finally it turned out ok ( I think!)

  19. Barb Suess says:

    Couching on Japanese. Here's a bit of cross culture for you – Celtic design on a Japanese temari ball with a Medieval (English?) technique of couching!

  20. Liz Adams says:

    Sharon, your challenge program has been such a support to my work toward my June exhibit, thank you so much! my latest adventure, in couching, on handmade paper, is here:

  21. I'm catching up this week, two weeks in one post over on my blog:
    Chain Stitch and Couching. Enjoy!

  22. Marie-Claude says:

    Hi everyone ,I just post on my blog exemples for the challenge of this week,I like use non conventional matérials(other than threads),exemples in "pink and blue" in
    and in brown in
    See you soon!

  23. Sorry I think I have forgotten to give a link to my trial of couching….:)

  24. Queeniepatch says:

    What a lot of wonderful work the TAST project is generating. It is such an inspiration to read the comments and learn from others. Thank you all for sharing.
    This is what I added to my sampler:

  25. Diane says:

    Did anyone couch a couch yet? I figured Luis would have done that.
    I enjoy seeing both the meticulous samplers and the pieces that tell a story. It's all great.

  26. Julie Castle says:

    You can find my sample of couching in this post:

    I have used couching in previous samples/posts. See if you can spot where!

  27. Maureen bond says:

    My samples new and old are at

  28. libbyQ says:

    thank you so much Sharon for creating this wonderful format to learn, experiment and share the love of stitching~!!~

    i've had fun with couching. if you would like to see what i've done please visit me at:


  29. Petra Weiler says:

    Couching was a real challenge to me as I don´t practice it too much. So I looked for a new block and experimented on different threats. The result can be seen on

    Best Petra

  30. Romilly says:

    Well. I found some couching that I've done previously. Too busy fighting with car problems to stitch this week at all! 🙁

  31. Hi,
    Here is the link for my trials of couching..

  32. Annet says:

    Just a sneak peek on my blog of the project I'm working on. This stitch was just what it needed!

  33. Now I have updated my page on coating.
    This is all from me this week.

    Next week I will attend a spinning cours at Sätergläntan, Dalecalia, Sweden. (if you ever come to Sweden put Sätergläntan on your wish-to-see-list). I am sure we will make some intresting yarn, suitable for coaching, but i doubt there will be time for stitching the new TAST-task.

  34. Nathalie L says:

    My Couching for the week. Thank you Sharon

  35. Debbie says:

    No stitching for me this week, but I have some past machine couching to show. I hope it counts!

  36. Kerry says:

    My sample for TAST 9 is here on my blog:

    (If you scroll down the post there is a second photo which also includes my TAST 8)

  37. Valerie L says:

    I finished my picture using the couching stitch. I like the results. You can view it here:

    Thanks a bunch.

    Valerie L

  38. Lucy Landry says:

    My couching sample is from a sketch of a wood grain pattern. This weekly challenge is making me stretch my stitching boundaries.

  39. My February sitich pages are complete and worth a look. I had so much fun with the couching, which was good, because there was still a lot of space to fill in after the chevron and chain stitches. The photos are on my flikr photostream here: (there are three of them)

  40. Hi,
    I thought I had added a comment here but I must have hit the wrong button.
    I have posted to my blog:
    and to the Flikr group
    Had fun with this one.


  41. shirley says:

    I like couching although am not proficient at it. Have worked another sample called Dancing in the Dark which I have put on SF and it will appear on my blog at

  42. Arlene says:

    I've added some couching to some of my current works in progress.

  43. isabelle says:

    As I promised earlier, here is a little bit special application of the couching stitch :

  44. Hi Sharon, I've had such fun with couching………my creative juices are overflowing……….Thank you Sharon, I am learning so much
    chris R

    This is my sample for week 9 COUCHING ! You can find it here……………

  45. Pippa Price says:

    Hi Sharon
    Here is my couching sample and posted on my blog. It is so good to make sure I post every week it keeps me on my toes. Still so much fun.

    Thank you

  46. I have posted my couching design on my website at:
    I really enjoyed doing this. I had fun!

  47. Christine says:

    Couching is a stitch I love! Here my Tast page and an old work I stitched for a online class. And now, I will visit the other blogs ….

  48. margb says:

    I have done only one small couching exercise. My combined work for the month is on my blog.

  49. Luiz Vaz says:

    Hi Sharon & Everyone.

    My second attempt for couching. with a especial participation of Photoshop's extrude filter!

  50. Ms Sharma says:

    Thanks Sharon for giving us this wonderful opportunity to explore so many stitches. Here are my first attempts:

    Ms Sharma

  51. Christina says:

    A very new stitch and concept for me this week, I gave it a go at: I also uses all 5 stitches of january on a little naive freehand work, and blogged about it on: Tonight I start working an the four stitches of february, hope to mention that work here in a month.

  52. I had given my hands into couching. I uploaded in my blog.
    I like to stitch varity of stitches and happy watching others.

  53. Penny says:

    On my blog,
    both this weeks and last weeks TAST a bit of comination of the chain and couching and also detached chain and chain. Not a lot as the arthritis in my wrist is not letting me do too much at the moment.

  54. Shami Immanuel says:

    Here is my post for this week.
    Shami Immanuel

  55. Susan McGowan says:

    Hi Everyone, enjoy TAST very much. Here is my little fish ( about 8 inches long) with couching and chain stitch. thank you all for the interest and encouragement.. It enriches my life. Hugs

    Just put my stitch photo on flickr group. I love couching! Perfect for crazy quilts.

  57. Cyndi L says:

    Because I was out of town for a couple of Tuesdays, I allowed myself to get behind. But I'm proud to say that I am now caught back up! It may be \\\"cheating\\\", but I did small samples of all of the stitches that I missed on my quilt over the last few days, and added couching stitch this morning. The post is on Beading Arts:

  58. Heather M. says:

    I love couching. One can do such interesting things with it. I am watching the TAST challenge closely and it makes me wish that I had the time for it. Very fun.

  59. Angela says:

    Perfect timing for the couching stitch! I just bought a lovely knitting fibre to use with couching. You can see it here

  60. isabelle says:

    Here is a first example of couching used for Christmas ornements

    I will return soon with a very special use of this technique

  61. This week I will show tangle thread coaching, and coaching on knit. Later there will also be some oc my usual denim swatches.

  62. maneki says:

    I've been thinking about experimenting some more with couching so this was a good encouragement. Earlier this month I tested couching ball chain: (and as a beader I've of cause made bead embroideries with couched beads, this being my first try back in 2008: )

    In fact, couching thread or yarn — as I will do this week — will be pretty much a new thing for me, having just couched jewellery supplies before…

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