How to do Couching Stitch

This month we look at how to use couching stitch. Transfer a simple outline of yours and your family’s hands and trace the line with stitches with our step-by-step guide.

How to do couching stitch

We chose a different coloured thread for each of the hands for this family keepsake embroidery hoop – it’s the perfect way to practise versatile couching stitch. Read on to find out how.

Embroidery template design, stitching & instructions by Zoe Patching.

Free couching embroidery pattern (PDF)


Step 1

Start by placing the couching thread over your outline. We used four strands of stranded cotton here. Leave a 4cm tail of thread beyond the pencil line. 

How to sew couching stitch step 1

Step 2

Thread a sharp embroidery needle with a knotted thread, and bring the needle up on your pencil line. Make a stitch over your couching threads, and take the needle down on your pencil line. Move the couching threads a little to prevent them from being snagged with the needle.

How to sew couching stitch step 2

Step 3

Continue working along the couching thread making couching stitches at even intervals, every 4mm or so. Keep the couching threads firm with one hand as each couching stitch is worked. This will keep them taut and prevent them from sagging as you stitch.

How to sew couching stitch step 3

Step 4

Once the outline is complete, take the starting tail ends through to the back of your fabric using a needle. Repeat this to your finishing threads too.


Step 5

Use  sewing thread anda sharp needle to over sew the tail ends to the back of the fabric (don’t let stitches show through).


Use couching stitch to embellish an outfit!

Stitch a geometric pattern on canvas to make a belt! Use your new-found stitching skills to make a funky belt! We’ve shown you how to sew couching stitch, with our fun idea of family hands in a hoop. Here, we use the same stitch, worked in a geometric Aztec-type pattern. Download the templates here to sew this Free couching embroidery pattern

To make the belt, we used 4cm width webbing and two D-rings, available from good haberdashers. Experiment with different colours and thread (metallic anyone?) or stitch onto wider webbing to make into fashionable fabric cuffs.  

How to embroider a belt