Couching Stitch hand embroidery

Couching Stitch

Couching Stitch is a hand embroidery technique where one thread attaches another thread (or a group of threads) to the fabric’s surface. The couching thread is often thinner, and the laid thread is thicker. The stitch’s name has French origins and means to lay down (coucher).

Other names of the stitch

The couching technique is also called Basic Couching, Plain Couching, or Simple Couching. Besides that, the Couching stitch can be called Laid embroidery, Convent stitch, or Kloster stitch.

Couching Stitch embroidery - front side
Couching Stitch embroidery – front side
Rear side of the Couching technique
Rear side of the Couching technique

Applications of the Couching Stitch

The couching technique has been used in many parts of the world for centuries. People in Europe, India, Indonesia, Japan, and the Middle East used the Couching technique for embellishing their garments, home textiles, and religious objects.

Couching stitch is indispensable in modern surface embroidery, crewelwork, goldwork, stumpwork, ribbonwork, and other hand embroidery styles and techniques.

This hand embroidery stitch works on straight lines, curves, and angles. Therefore, Couching technique is an excellent choice for outlines, borders, and lettering. Besides that, you can apply the Couching technique for filling and combine it with other decorative stitches.

There are many options for combining different laid threads and couching threads. Mix different textures, colors, thicknesses, shear, and materials for various visual effects.

More stitches from the Couching stitch family

  • Burden Stitch
  • Torocko Stitch
  • Underside Couching
Couching stitch embroidery with green threads

How To Embroider Couching Stitch

Step-by-step hand embroidery tutorial


1. Mark the shape or line for your Couching Stitch. Take the needle with a laid thread up to the surface.

Laid thread

2. Thread your needle with a couching thread. Take the needle to the surface one stitch away from the starting point on the marked line.

Couching stitch Step 2

3. Make a tiny vertical stitch and tackle the laid thread to the surface with your couching thread. Pull all the thread to the back side of the fabric.

Couching stitch Step 3

4. Take the needle up one stitch away on the marked line, make a tiny stitch to anchor the laid thread, and pull the thread to the back.

Couching stitch Step 4

5. Continue making tiny stitches to secure the laid thread to the surface.

Continue making tiny stitches

6. After the last couching stitch is done, push the needle of the laid thread to the back of the surface and secure the laid thread on the back.

Pass the laid thread to the back

Video tutorial

Recommended Products

Disclaimer. To cover the cost of creating free embroidery patterns and video tutorials for this blog, I do sometimes link to products. Please assume these links are affiliate links. If you choose to buy through my links then THANK YOU! – it will make it possible for me to keep doing this.

Beechwood embroidery hoops Etsy
Embroidery hoop
Embroidery Scissors Etsy
Embroidery Scissors
Bohin Embroidery Needles Etsy
Bohin Embroidery Needles
Friction Pens Etsy
Friction pens
Cotton canvas embroidery fabric on Etsy
Cotton canvas
DMC Embroidery Floss Etsy
DMC Embroidery Floss

What’s next?

If you’re in the mood to explore more hand embroidery stitches, check out the Stitches and Techniques page for the list of other fantastic stitches available on my blog. From timeless classics to modern twists, a whole world of stitches is waiting for you to explore and master. So, grab your hoop and needle, and let’s stitch our way to creative bliss!

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Need More Guidance?

The top 10 hand embroidery stitches to learn is a free online course created for beginners.

White sashiko stitches on purple fabric