Underside Couching

Unlike the surface couching, where the couching thread sits on the surface of the fabric, the underside couching technique allows it to pass through the fabric and hide under the fabric.

Visually, it might end up looking like the backstitch. Now, underside couching was used during medieval times in Ecclesiastical embroidery or church embroidery, where metallic threads were used often. Since it was tricky to pull the metallic threads in and out of the fabric, it was probably much easier to couch it down and hide the couching thread on the reverse of the fabric. The technique is pretty much similar to what a machine does when stitching.

This stitch can be used to fill up portions of the pattern, as it was used to in various medieval embroideries. I will use simple cotton floss to illustrate this stitch and work over a curved line to show how easily this stitch can meander.

Fig 1: Start by bringing out a thread (brown in the illustration) for laying from one end of the stitch line. Keep it open.
Now, bring another thread (red in the illustration) out, on the stitch line, as shown.
Fig 2: Now, keep the laid thread over the stitch line and roll it over to the side slightly. Anchor the laid thread down with the couching thread, but pass the needle through the point that you brought it out from, as shown.
Fig 3: Now, pull the couching thread from the reverse side till the laid thread is fastened as shown. Fig 4: Now, with a slight tension, keep pulling the couching thread till it disappears into the fabric, pulling the laid thread with it.
Fig 5: Continue with this method for the entire stitch line. A finished underside couching row would look like this. Fig 6: The reverse side of the fabric would look like this- more like a surface couching!
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7 Responses

  1. Lindsay United Kingdom Safari iPhone says:

    Thank you so much for your tutorials. As a complete beginner, they have been so helpful. It is a hobby I know I am going to love and appreciate how easy your tutorials are to follow.

  2. eli Germany Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    Hi Sara,
    thank you for your tutorials. I very much appreciate your page.
    Best regards

  3. sushmita Canada Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    hi,can i do this embroideries in suits or garments…..
    Thank You 4 the tutorial…

  4. I used to embroidery with my grandmother as a child and now that I’ve retired I have taken it up again. Unfortunately it is not like riding a bicycle and my grandmother is no longer here to show me. I was thrilled when I found your tutorial on Pinterest. Not only is my memory refreshed, but there are hundreds of new stitches to try. Thank you again.

  5. Saparya India Google Chrome  MotoG3 Build/MPI24.107-55) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/54.0.2840.85 Mobile Safari/537.36 says:

    Hi Sarah’s

    I would like to subscribe for ur embroidery tutorials , how to do it and how to join your tutorial.

    • Janet White Tidwell, jwt United States Netscape Navigator iPad says:

      Hello, I would like to subscribe to your Hand Embroidery Tutorials. If you click the link on the top of the Home page all
      you get is a page of numbers and letters. I think the link is
      broken. Thank you, jwt

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