Couching Stitch – Easy Embroidery Step by Step

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Learn couching stitch embroidery. This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. A legitimate reason to sit back and put your feet up and be couching. Not as the regular couch potato, but as a very industrious sewer using the technique of couching to create some beautiful embroidery.

Couching Stitch Embroidery TutorialPinCouching Stitch Embroidery Tutorial


Couching Stitch Embroidery – What is It?Couching Stitch – SuppliesHow to Do Couching Stitch Step by Step InstructionsStep 1 – Mark the DesignStep 2 – Surface ThreadsStep 3 – Couching Threads Step 4 – Repeat Couching Stitch – Alternative methodCouching Stitch – In ConclusionMORE EMBROIDERY STITCHESCouching Stitch EmbroideryToolsMaterialsInstructions

Couching Stitch Embroidery – What is It?

Couching is an embroidery technique that makes use of two threads at a time. It is comprised of a top thread or surface thread and a stitching thread that holds the surface thread in place. Couching can be a ‘free form’ experience, or it can follow a pattern. It is especially suited to monograms and outlines with texture.

The surface thread can be thicker or textured because it does not enter the fabric but rests on the surface. In fact, the main thread can even be fabric strips or even a cord instead of embroidery floss. Yarn makes a nice couching thread, especially when it is all bobbly and uneven.

In the sample below, I used numerous strands of embroidery floss for the surface threads.

Couching Stitch EmbroideryCouching Stitch EmbroideryPinCouching Stitch Embroidery

In the modern-day variations of traditional embroidery, couching lends itself to using different types of thread, wool, yarn, beaded work, ribbon, and any other medium you could successfully stitch into a design.

Couching Stitch – Supplies

You need two threads and two needles for this technique.

NEEDLES – The needles recommended are tapestry with a bigger eye and a point to enter the fabric. EMBROIDERY FLOSS – If you don`t want the small securing threads to show, then use a matching color thread. For a contrasting look and a pop of color, use 2 different colors. The 2 threads don`t need to be the same thickness or types of material. HOOP – Couching stitch is best done in an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taut. For larger areas, you can move the hoop around.

If you are new to learning embroidery, read my article on how to embroider for more tips and supplies to get you started on your new hobby.

How to Do Couching Stitch Step by Step Instructions

Step 1 – Mark the Design

Draw your couching stitch design on your fabric and set it into your hoop. A hoop is essential to keep the surface thread stable and help you maneuver the other thread as you stitch over the surface thread.

Thread your two needles with different threads. One is the surface thread, and the stitching thread can be a contrasting thread color depending on your design. This technique works well in a shade lighter or even the same color; the choice is yours.

Step 2 – Surface Threads

Bring the surface embroidery thread up through the back of the fabric to your starting point. Here I have used 2 strands of surface thread to get a nice thickness.

When you have started to stitch or couch the thread in place, move it to the side and pin it gently so it does not flap around and get in your way. As you continue to couch the surface thread along the design you can move it gently into place.

Couching StitchCouching StitchPincouching stitch – Step 1 and 2

Step 3 – Couching Threads 

Bring the stitching thread up from the back of the fabric to a place next to the surface thread at the starting point at (1).

Couching StitchCouching StitchPinCouching Stitch – Step 3

Stitch over the surface thread with a small stitch at (2) and pull the needle and thread to the back of the work. (2) should be directly below (1).

Couching StitchCouching StitchPinCouching Stitch – Step 3

Step 4 – Repeat

Return to the right side of the work a bit further along the surface thread, make another small straight stitch that catches the surface thread by stitching over it.

Repeat this process in regular intervals as you follow the line of your design until completion. Then pull both threads to the back and end off by weaving the loose ends into the stitches at the back.

Couching StitchCouching StitchPinCouching Stitch -Step 4

Couching Stitch – Alternative method

There is another way to do couching stitch and get the same effect. Make the little straight stitches in their places along the design first.

When you have mapped out the whole design in straight stitches that resemble little hoops. Take your surface thread and run it along the design by weaving under the little stitches and pulling the surface thread gently along your design.

The result will be the same and using this method can make corners and curves a little easier to complete.

Couching Stitch - CurvesCouching Stitch - CurvesPinCouching Stitch – Curves

Couching Stitch – In Conclusion

Now you know what couching stitch is all about, it is time to try this beautiful facet of embroidery and feel justified to ‘couch’ all afternoon.


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couching stitch embroidery tutorialcouching stitch embroidery tutorialPin

Couching Stitch Embroidery

Learn how to do couching stitch for attractive thick embroidery threads.

4.9/5 – (15 votes)

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Difficulty: Easy Beginner

Keyword: Embroidery and Hand Sewing

Total Time: 10minutes


Embroidery NeedleScissorsEmbroidery Hoop


Embroidery FlossFabric


Thread a needle with your surface thread. Bring the needle up at the start of the design and go back down at the end of the design. couching step 1 surface threadcouching step 1 surface threadPinThread a second needle with the couching thread. Come up at (1) which is just to the side of the surface thread. Couching StitchCouching StitchPinPut the couching needle back down at (2) so it goes over the surface thread. (2) is directly below (1). Couching StitchCouching StitchPinRepeat so you have a series of vertical stitches holding down the surface thread. how to do couchinghow to do couchingPin

4.9/5 – (15 votes)