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Couching Stitch

| This stitch is best for: Outlines

The Couching Stitch is a decorative embroidery technique that involves laying a thread on top of the fabric (“couching thread”) and stitching it in place with another thread (“stitching thread”). It can be used to create a variety of patterns and textures, and is commonly used for outlining or filling in shapes.

How to do the Couching Stitch

  1. Prepare your threads: Choose a thread to be laid on top of the fabric (the “couching thread”), and a second thread to stitch it in place (the “stitching thread”). Thread your needle with the stitching thread and knot the end.
  2. Lay the couching thread: Bring the needle of the couching thread up through the fabric where you want to start couching and lay it on top of the fabric. Hold it in place with your non-dominant hand. You can also choose to bring the needle of the couching thread down through the fabric at the end of the line you are making but make sure there is enough thread on the fabric to follow the contours of your design.
  3. Start the stitch: Bring the needle of the stitching thread up through the fabric where you want to secure the couching thread. You should bring up the stitching thread just next to the couching thread along the design.
  4. Secure the couching thread: Stitch over the couching stitch and insert the needle back through the fabric to secure it.
  5. (Optional) Stitch backward: When you reach the end of the section you are couching, turn your work around and stitch back over the same area in the opposite direction. This will help to secure the couching thread in place.
  6. Repeat: Continue couching in this way using Steps 3-5, following the shape of your design.
  7. End the stitch: To end the couching stitch, take a small stitch through the fabric without catching the couching thread, and then tie off your stitching thread on the back of the fabric.


  • Use a thread that contrasts with the couching thread to create a bold, graphic effect.
  • Vary the thickness of the couching thread to create texture and dimension.
  • You can vary the spacing and angle of the securing stitches (stitching thread) to create different effects.
  • If the couching thread is particularly thick or difficult to work with, you can use a thicker needle or a thimble to help push it through the fabric.