Couched in Glory

A simple way to add color and texture to the surface of fabrics, couching started as a hand sewing technique that stitches cord and fibers to fabric.

Adapted to machine sewing, it is one of the most versatile embellishment methods available because of the limitless combinations of fabric, fibers, stitches and colors.

Rows of Couching

Bernina takes it to another level by offering several presser feet to make the task easier and more fun! Five of our favorite examples are discussed here.

Bulky Overlock Foot 12/12C

#12/12C Bulky Overlock Foot

The BERNINA Bulky overlock foot #12 has a wide groove in the sole, making it ideal for sewing bulky knitted fabrics or for attaching leather strips. One side of the sole is longer than the other, allowing even thick and uneven fabrics to travel under it smoothly. The presser foot also has a guide hole for sewing over piping cord. Furthermore, the Bulky overlock foot #12 is also a popular presser foot for attaching thick cords and sequins, enabling you to create stylish embellishments on garments, needlework and home furnishings.

Braiding Foot #21#21 Braiding Foot

Braiding foot #21 makes quick work of couching thin ribbons, cords and rickrack, and is also ideal for projects with passementerie, braids and couched-cord patterns. Braiding foot #21’s beveled hole for cords and yarns up to 3 mm in diameter ensures neat, even couching. The result: high-quality, attractive sewing projects.

3-Groove Cording Foot #22#22 Three-Groove Cording Foot

The 3-Groove cording foot is ideal for the simultaneous couching of several yarns, woolen thread or cording, producing a decorative trim or braid effect on garments and home furnishings in no time flat. The swing-out latch on top of 3-Groove cording foot # 22 holds the yarn or cords securely in place and prevents them from tangling during the sewing process. The result is a neat, consistently stitched braid-like embellishment.

5-Grooove Cording foor #25#25 Five-Groove Cording Foot

The 5-Groove cording foot is a practical aid for the simultaneous couching of several parallel strands of yarn or cording. The cords are fed into the special grooves, which guide them securely. They are also held in place by a swing-out latch which prevents them tangling during the sewing process. In this way, the 5-Groove cording foot lets you create glamorous trim appliqués and braid for home furnishings and garments.

Free-Motion Couching Foot #42#43 Free-Motion Couching Foot

The free-motion couching foot is a specialist when it comes to appliquéing with cords, yarn and ribbon. The cords are fed directly to the needle through a hole in the sole, and can be sewn on in any direction you desire with the feed dog lowered – letting you create imaginative lines, patterns and shapes in no time flat. Free-motion couching foot # 43 also features a practical cord guide that can be attached next to the thread cutter on your machine.

Learn More

Bernina has published a free eBook teaching everything you need to know about couching. It discusses fibers, cords, and yarns suitable for this technique along with foot tips and five specific couching methods. Get your copy here.

The ABCs of Couching

Here’s a short video detailing the basics of couching with your sewing machine:

The following video shows how you can use your embroidery machine for couching: