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Create a Couched Embroidery Design

The classical lines of ancient architecture have inspired artists and designers for millennia. Take a simple sketch of ancient architecture that inspires you to your computer and digitize it to create a couched embroidery version for a summer satchel.

This embellishment can be embroidered in a snap when you start on the computer. A wide variety of effects can be achieved by manipulating simple built-in outline stitches. To create the appearance of a couched cord, two different stitches are digitized and then combined to stitch one over the other. The first stitch stands in for the "cord," which is then "couched" with a second pass of digitized zigzag stitching. You can make both stitch types by adjusting existing embroidery stitches.

For the look of cording, choose an outline stitch that you can manipulate to achieve a bold look. Most digitizing programs have a few to choose from, such as triple straight stitch or a stemstitch. I used the backstitch outline. This stitch is perfect for creating the look of cord because it's formed from a series of short straight stitches that overlap each other on a slight angle. I've chosen the maximum stitch density with the greatest percentage of overlap to mimic the look of a single thick cord. For the "couching" stitches, work with a satin stitch adjusted to form an open zigzag.

1. Import a JPEG or BMP of an outline motif to digitize. You can draw a design or copy an outline of an image that you want to embroider.


2. Digitize a cord. In embroidery software, choose a stitch, such as the backstitch, that can be manipulated to look
like a heavy cord. Digitize this stitch on all the lines.

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Comments (8)

josephfain josephfain writes: Great techniques
Posted: 8:05 am on July 16th

Ashtonjames Ashtonjames writes: nice design.
Posted: 12:58 pm on January 27th

Susanneroess Susanneroess writes: Beautiful design!!
Posted: 1:00 am on July 22nd

Ashtonjames Ashtonjames writes: i love that design
Posted: 10:48 am on May 12th

Brettlii Brettlii writes: very nice designs
Posted: 2:44 am on July 3rd

KarenGass KarenGass writes: This is pretty, and I do love architectural details, but I think I would also do it 'the hard way'! First of all, because I don't have an embroidery machine but even if I did, I think I prefer the old school. Might even do it by hand! :)
Posted: 9:23 am on August 8th

laceandbits laceandbits writes: I know I'm fussy but as "proper" couching shouldn't look like zig zag over the cord (the stitches should come up and go down as close to the cord as possible), I actually preferred this without the zig zag stage.

As many machines have a foot which will hold a thick cord as you zig zag over it, for a simple design such as this I think that would be the way I would tackle it rather than go down the programme the computer/set up the embroidery unit/hoop the fabric route.

Many thanks for the idea; excellent as usual.
Posted: 2:12 am on August 8th

decorchick decorchick writes: I'm going to do this tonight. I'm desperate for a little inspiration and this is just perfect. Thank you from my creatively empty head.
Posted: 5:10 pm on August 7th

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