Have you ever admired a couching project and wished you knew how to create your own projects using this technique? Well look no further, here’s our complete guide on how to couch on your sewing machine!
You can watch our YouTube video on this subject here:
Couching is when you stitch down a thicker strand of thread using a thinner strand of thread. This is how you can use heavy threads, and even yarns and cording that won’t fit through the eye of your needle, in your sewing machine. It’s an easy and beautiful way to create texture and embellishment patterns in any project! Here’s everything you’ll need to create your own beautifully couched project.
1. A Couching Foot
The first thing is a couching foot. This handy tool will keep your couching threads straight and tidy while you stitch them down. If you don’t have one already, they can be picked up at most sewing centers.
2. A Thread Tamer™
We also highly recommend using what we call a Thread Tamer™. This awesome thread stand holds up to three couching threads, which is something most thread stands don’t include. It has three slots along the base that you put your couching thread through, which will keep your thread from twisting and tangling, and allows for an even draw. It’s an awesome accessory for the sewing room and we love using it for any type of sewing project.
You can find the Thread Tamer™ in a shop near you, or online here: https://shopwonderfil.co.nz/product/thread-tamer/
3. The perfect threads to couch with
We’re going to use these three lines of thread by WonderFil™ that are gorgeous for machine couching. Razzle™ is an 8wt rayon thread with a beautiful shine. Comparable to #8 perle cotton thread, Razzle™’s natural bright lustre and silky feel make it the perfect choice for couching on home décor projects such as throw pillows or decorative throws.
You can find Razzle™ in a shop near you or online here: https://shopwonderfil.co.nz/product-category/razzle/
Dazzle™ is a rayon thread woven with one strand of metallic for a touch of sparkle, and Sizzle™ is a rayon thread woven with three strands of metallic for a really intense sparkle that will give your projects a little bit of extra pizzaz.
You can find Dazzle™ in a shop near you, or online here: https://shopwonderfil.co.nz/product-category/dazzle/
For our top thread which will be stitching the 8wt thread down, we’re going to show you a few different options because they will all have a different effect. If you don’t want the top thread to show, you’ll want to use 100wt InvisaFil™, which is a cottonized polyester thread, and choose a color that matches your couching thread. Because it’s so fine, it will blend right in and disappear. We recommend that you pair this thread with a size 70 microtex needle.
You can find InvisaFil™ in a shop near you, or online here: https://shopwonderfil.co.nz/product-category/invisafil/
We’ll also be demoing Spotlite, which is a 40wt metallic thread. Spotlite is great for standing out and giving that metallic shimmer, which is what you want to choose when you want to further embellish your couching by adding contrast. We recommend a size 90 topstitch or metallic needle for this thread.
You can find Spotlite™ in a store near you, or online here: https://shopwonderfil.co.nz/product-category/spotlite/
Another choice for adding contrast to your couching is using Mirage™ in the top. It’s a 30wt random dyed embroidery thread with colour variegations. This has a wonderful effect that adds depth and movement to your embellishment. Use a size 90 topstitch needle with this thread.
You can find Mirage™ in a store near you, or in our online shop here: https://shopwonderfil.co.nz/product-category/mirage/
If you’re new to sewing and aren’t sure what thread weight is the best for your project, you can check out this super helpful video to help clear up what thread weights mean! You can watch that video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXBZJ6TWbkk
4. The perfect fabric
When picking our fabric, we chose something that wouldn’t compete with the thread for attention. Since you want the couching to show off the most, choose a fabric with minimal to no pattern. You can find a variety of beautiful fabrics on Sue Spargo’s website with some beautiful plain fabrics, and fun patterns for other projects you might be working on. You can visit her website to shop fabrics here: https://www.suespargo.com/store.php?cat=27
You’ll also want a heavy stabilizer to prevent your fabric from puckering. You can find the perfect stabilizer in a sewing or craft store near you, or you can find a wide variety of them online. You can find a tear away stabilizer that you can use on most all of your projects from couching, to machine embroidery here: https://amzn.to/3q3YNbB
Let’s get started! To begin, we’re going to load our threads onto our thread tamer and thread the machine.
Insert your couching thread into the couching foot.
Once you’ve done that, we can go ahead and sew. The simplest way to couch is to go in a straight line. Keep your feed dogs up and set your stitch to a zig zag wide enough to clear either side of your couching thread. The couching foot will guide your couching thread for you.
You can couch using two, or even three couching threads! If you’d like to try this make sure to insert your couching threads one at a time into the couching foot in a separate group.
Once again, make sure your topstitch is set wide enough to clear either edge of your couching threads.
Look how easy that was! We can also do curves by turning the fabric Let’s give it a try. Sew slowly, and guide your thread into a gradual curve as you stitch over it.
You can also make sharp turns to create a squared off edge to your couching. Simply stop with the needle in the down position on the inside of the corner, that what when you pivot your fabric and take your next stitch you won’t miss that couching thread.
Through this technique you can create a beautiful throw pillow, a piece of art for your wall, you can even do some incredible quilting. The options are limitless!
If you’re going to try couching out for yourself on your next project, be sure to tag us on social media using the hashtag #wonderfil so that we can share it! You can find these threads and more in a shop near you, or on our online shop by visiting www.shopwonderfil.co.nz. You can also sign up for our free newsletter to receive more educational sewing tips, tutorials, and free patterns. Register by clicking here! We’ll see you again next time!