Couching threads is a simple technique that produces beautiful results. Learn how by watching this video.

October 13, 2016


Hi, I'm Jennifer with today's Machine Minute brought to you by Baby Lock and the Symphony machine. Today's topic is couching. Couching is simply applying an embellishment such as a yarn or a ribbon to your fabric by laying it on the surface and stitching it in place. If you're like me, perhaps you fall in love with the beautiful fibers, the yarns, the ribbons, things you see at the quilt shop but don't really know what to do with them when you get them home. Couching is a great solution. Now you can couch on things to add embellishments to home d?cor, you can spruce up a garment with a little bit of couching embellishments, or you can also place them on a finished quilt if you'd like some freeform design or maybe on top of an applique if you want to add some veins to a leaf applique or something like that. It's super simple to do. The first thing you'll want to know is whether or not your machine has a couching stitch. The Symphony does have one and it looks like this. The needle swings from left to right and it takes a couple of stitches in between. I stitched out a row here so you can see what the couching stitch looks like. If you don't have a couching stitch, you can also just adapt by using the zigzag stitch on your machine. The most important thing to remember: you can couch anything that you can pierce a needle through. And you want to choose thread that matches your embellishment, not your foundation or your background fabric. That way, it will hide the thread almost completely. So in this case, all I did to sew the straight line of couching here was to line up the yarn as it went underneath the foot of my machine so that it went right under the center mark on the foot. I'll show you. I'm feeding the yarn in this way and it comes up to the needle. I just follow that center mark on the foot. But you don't always have to couch in a straight line; you can also couch in a circular fashion as I did here. And in this case rather than pinning your embellishment in place, what I would suggest you do is use some type of water or air erasable marker to put a design down if you have a specific area you want to go in. I started in the center and just did a couple of back stitches to hold it in place, and then as I worked my way around the circle I would stop with my needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, pivot my fabric slightly, and continue stitching. It takes a little more time when you're couching something along a curve or a shape that you're trying to make as opposed to a straight line, but the results are definitely worth it and it's easier to do than by hand. Finally if you have a lot of ribbon trims, such as this one, you can either couch it down by sewing down the center of the ribbon, or as I've done up here. I simply twisted the ribbon as it got closer to the needle so that I could couch it on and give myself a different effect as well. Couching is a great way to use wonderful embellishments in your sewing and quilting. I hope you enjoy it and see how easy it is to do it. Have fun couching!