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How to Couch Yarn to Fabric with Your Sewing Machine

Eyelash yarn couched to a skirt is an interesting embellishment you can sew quickly.
Skirt views couched eyelash yarn
Create a new textile look by couching yarn to fabric.

Eyelash yarn couched to fabric is an interesting embellishment, like fraying stripes. Here’s a method to couch yarn to fabric with your sewing machine. You “couch,” or sew, it with a specialty presser foot. The couching foot enables you to accurately stitch through the yarn, securing it to your base fabric. The result is a fancy custom embellishment that only looks expensive.
For more examples of fun treatments you can sew with this technique, check out Contributing Editor Kenneth D. King’s method to couch narrow trim to the edge of delicate fabric, or read about how to couch a variety of delicate trims.

Model in a white skirt with black eyelash yarn embellishment.
Black eyelash yarn couched to white fabric is a playful and inexpensive embellishment.

What is eyelash yarn?

Eyelash yarn has a thread base, usually polyester, with strands that spring free from the main strand. The strands, which are reminiscent of eyelashes, come in a plethora of textures, lengths, colors, and finishes. Eyelash yarn is inexpensive compared with traditional sewing trims; a single skein may contain more than 30 yards.

Four samples of eyelash yarn strands
Eyelash yarn comes in different textures and every color imaginable.

Couch the yarn

1. Use a couching foot to sew on the eyelash yarn. A couching foot has a hole that keeps the yarn aligned with the needle and thread. Feed the yarn through the foot. Use a straight stitch through the eyelash yarn’s center fiber. You may be tempted to use a zigzag stitch to securely apply the yarn; however, zigzag stitches trap the eyelash fibers. Test the technique first on a fabric scrap; many eyelash yarns have a nap, and you’ll want to decide which way the fibers should flow.

Close up photo of the couching presser foot on a sewing machine
The couching foot has a center hole that guides trim directly under the needle.

2. Stitch on the yarn. Couch the yarn to the fabric with your sewing machine and sew all the way to the fabric edge. Raise the presser foot. Pull the work away. Snip the threads and yarn a few inches from the fabric edge, and keep the yarn threaded through the couching foot in preparation for the next application.


Eyelash yarn feeding into a couching presser foot.
Use a straight stitch to sew eyelash yarn to the fabric. The couching foot will guide the yarn and keep it in the stitching path.

3. Instead of a traditional hem, try a serged hem. This is an easy, lightweight hem finish that trims the embellishment at the same time. With an air-soluble fabric marker, mark the hemline on your project. Thread the serger with a thread that matches the embellishment yarn. Serge along the marked line, neatly trimming the hem allowance and embellishment yarn at the same time.

Serged hem on an embellished skirt.
A serged hem is a swift and neat way to finish the embellished garment, whatever style you decide to make.

Have you tried couching trims or yarns with your sewing machine? Let us see your results in the Gallery at ThreadsMagazine.com.



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