An interesting way to add color, texture and dimension to your sewn items, is to add couching. Couching is derived from the French word couchier and is the art of embroidering by laying threads flat on a surface and sewing them down by stitches sewn at regular intervals.
In centuries past, couching was a very popular form of decoration for the upper-class clothing of the time. People of means would often wear items which were covered in couched and embroidered designs.
The couching of today is generally done by laying a length of yarn, cord, or ribbon down on a piece of fabric, and then sewing it in place with a zigzag or other decorative stitch. Today, couching is used to sew on many of the more decorative fibers and trims available to those who sew at their local craft stores.
Applying any type of trim or embellishment to fabric can very drastically alter its appearance. Couching can be used to embellish and it can also be used to hide unsightly mistakes or damage on a fabric. If your garment has a stain on it, you can apply something over the stain by couching and have a renewed garment in no time.
Couching By Machine – The Presser Feet, Needles and Thread Options
Couching by sewing machine can easily be accomplished with the help of the correct presser foot, needles, and threads. There are five different types of presser feet which are used with couching. They are:
A Cording Foot – Has a small loop attached to the foot which you feed in a small braid, yarn or ribbon. This can be used to help you position your trim so that it is right-side facing up.
An Open-Toe Embroidery Presser Foot – Is the basic presser foot used for couching because it can handle all types of materials and allows you to see them while they are guided and sewing into position on your project.
A Multi-Cord Presser Foot – This presser foot allows you to couch with multiple cords at the same time.
A Blind-Hem Presser Foot – Allows you to sew on thicker trims and near the edge of your fabric.
A Beading Presser Foot – Allows you to easily apply strands of beads which can be wider than normal couching materials.
In addition to using a special presser foot for couching you will want to use a larger than normal sewing needle. This is especially true when you are couching using denser fabrics or trims.
When you select the thread for your sewing machine and bobbin you need to take into account if you want the thread to blend in or be visible. Using metallic threads can give your couching a whole new dimension. You will want your bobbin thread to match your sewing thread for couching.
In addition, if you are using a light weight fabric to couch on, you will want to use a fabric stabilizer. You can stabilize your fabric by either sewing in a light knit interfacing or by using a tear-away stabilizing product.
AS you can see, by using a couple special items and your sewing machine you can use couching to embellish you sewing projects. While couching is not difficult, it does take a bit of time to learn how to do. By taking the time and using the right items, your couching will be looking professional in no time.