Introduction: Couching Yarn, Cool Embellishments :)
Have some clothes that are on the plain side? You can become the designer and use this technique to add some unique embellishments to them. My youngest girl who is 3, loves everything pink and won't wear anything that isn't "Cute," lol. We have a lot of her sister's hand me downs that are well plain because her sister didn't care what she wore. So, I tried this and well my 3 year old loves them because she loves hearts, butterflies and flowers :) But you can use this for any sort of embellishment you can think of :)
Couching is a simple embroidery technique that uses very basic sewing
stitches over yarn to create a BRILLIANT embellishment :) You are simply laying the yarn on the surface of the fabric - using the needle and thread to anchor it to the fabric.
Using yarn makes this quick, too. I love the texture that the yarn adds to the clothes :)
It's easy and only requires some simple sewing steps. If you can design an idea and thread a needle - you can do this!
Step 1: Supplies...
Thicker Weight Yarn (In the examples I used a 4 weight yarn but you could go thicker - it's just easier to use)
Thread to match yarn or you could use a contrasting thread
A regular Sewing needle
A garment you want to embellish
Step 2: Prep Work
Make sure your garment is clean.
Start playing with the yarn and lay out your design of what you would like to do. You can use tape to keep the yarn in place and an extra inch of yarn at the ends before cutting. Take your time and let your imagination explore. If your yarn is kinky and won't lay straight. Just get it slightly damp and squeeze out the moisture with a towel. It should behave better then.
If this is your first time, you might want to try a simple shape with the yarn so you can get the hang of it. Something you can easily see if the shape is off or not.
When you are ready, thread the needle with about 2-3 yards of thread. This shorter length is easier to handle and doesn't tangle as much. Knot the ends of the thread together.
You are ready to start :)
Step 3: Couching Yarn Work - It's Easier Than It Sounds...
Start at the end of the yarn and fold under the end about 1/2" hold with left hand. With your right hand holding the needle under the working surface push the needle through the folded end of yarn. This is to anchor the yarn from moving. Now push the needle back down through the yarn folded end, but angle the needle towards the side of the yarn about 1/4" from anchor position.
Now move needle directly across yarn and insert needle under fabric, then angle needle down towards opposite side of yarn but 1/4" down from above stitch where you'll make the new stitch. You are essentially creating a bar stitch over the yarn that is about 1/4" apart. Keep your left hand under the fabric as you work. You repeat this stitch until you reach the other end of the yarn or you need to get more thread. Try to be consistent with the spacing of the stitches but don't fret if your off a bit here and there - that's part of the charm and character of this project.
*If you start working and you don't like how it looks - no worries. Just snip the knot of the thread on the underside of your work. Use the needle to undo the bar stitches by lifting them up and it will come out. Reset your yarn and begin again.
*If you are running out of thread before you have finished your design. You want to knot your work there by making the next bar stitch over the yarn but not angling the needle to the next stitch just go straight across. (see pic) Slowly pull the needle through and you'll see a small loop forming, put your needle through that loop and then pull through. You have just made a small knot. Now, before cutting the thread we are going to weave the needle and thread back through the yarn about an inch by inserting the needle under the work you just did, inside the yarn like a tunnel. (see pic) Poke the needle out after about an inch or more and gently pull needle out, cut thread. It is now neatly hidden inside your work.
*You are nearing the end of the yarn, before working the end, you want to fold under the end about a 1/2" or so. Hold with the left hand and continue working the bar stitches as usual. When you are at the end, push needle down the center of the end, angle the needle back to the side of the yarn at the previous stitch. Work that stitch again and work knot and weave in thread as instructed above.
Yay!!! You did it :)
Continue in this way until you are happy with your garment :)
Step 4: Examples I Did...
The pink butterfly I did freehand by shaping the yarn as I worked.
The grey sweatshirt jacket is my oldest daughter who is a teen and didn't want hearts or butterflies on it for some reason, lol. I did some lines freehand again shaping the yarn as I worked but next time I would use a ruler as a guide and then tape the lines of yarn in place.
The grey toddler shirt I tried my hand at doing a word and then added some hearts on the little pockets.
Then I worked on a plain white toddler shirt and added a heart :)
It was fun and a quick result.
After working these you will need to use the gentle cycle to wash them and then dry on low or air dry.
Happy Yarning! That's what my little boy calls anything I do with yarn, lol :)