Couching is an embellishment technique that lets you add color and texture to the surface of fabric, stitching cords, yarns, and other fibers in a variety of ways. It is a versatile way to add personality to almost any type of project from clothing to purses to quilts. This post is the first of three, starting with information about BERNINA presser feet that can be used for a variety of couching techniques. In this post I’ve included links to videos that give you a short introduction to each presser foot below.
Couching with BERNINA Presser Feet – Part 1: Couching Presser Feet
Couching with BERNINA Presser Feet – Part 2: Couching Supplies
Couching with BERNINA Presser Feet – Part 3: Couching Techniques
Couching Presser Feet
BERNINA has a variety of presser feet that work well for couching. Interestingly enough, only one of them has the word, “couching” in its name. Many of the others were designed for other technique but have become primarily used for couching. The ones I am discussing in this post are seven BERNINA presser feet most often used for various couching techniques.
There are two things to look for in a couching presser foot. It must have room under the foot to allow cords, yarns, and fibers to easily move as the fabric goes under the needle. Look at the sole of the foot and see if it has an indentation, grooves, or a tunnel that will hold or cradle fibers. The second feature is that it usually, but not always, has a way to hold cord or yarn in place as it goes under the needle so you do not have to manage it.
Bulky Overlock Foot #12/12C and Braiding Foot #21
Even though Bulky Overlock Foot #12/12C is most often used for piping, the tunnel on the sole makes it perfect for stitching over cords that can be as large as ¼” in diameter. It will also couch strands of pearls and beads to fabric. Foot #21 has a large hole in the top of the sole to hold and manage cords and yarns as they go under the needle. If a yarn or cord fits into the hole and moves easily, it can be used with this foot. Foot #12C is a hybrid that has the tunnel of Foot #12 and the same hole on top of the foot as Braiding Foot #21.
Click here for a Bulky Overlock Foot 12/12C and Braiding Foot #21 video.
Cording Feet #22 and #25
Cording Feet #22 and #25 have grooves on top of the foot to hold heavy decorative threads or narrow cords. The foot holds the cords side-by-side and creates a beautiful tiny braid-like trim. Foot #23 has three grooves and Foot #25 has five smaller grooves so you can add additional cords for a more varied look.
Click here for a Cording Foot #22/25 video.
Embroidery Foot #6 and Clear Embroidery Foot #39/39C
Designed for stitching heavy decorative stitches, Foot #6 and Foot #39/39C each has a large wedge-shaped indentation on the sole to allow the thread build-up of these stiches to easily slide under the needle. The feet also have a tiny holes at the center of the foot that designates the center of the foot. Feed decorative threads or narrow cords into the hole for couching with a delicate look.
Click here for an Embroidery F0ot video.
Free-Motion Couching Foot #43 /Adjustable Ruler Foot #72
When you hear the name of Foot #43, you know exactly what it is going to do. It only does one thing, and it does it well. Free-motion couching is fun, and it gives a look to your projects that you can’t do any other way. It holds a 2mm decorative cord and stitches down the center of it as you move the fabric to create any type of motif or design you want. Foot #43 also works with BERNINA embroidery modules to stitch straight line designs with cord, creating beautiful dimensional designs.
Foot #73 is a second free-motion couching presser foot and it combines couching with rulerwork. You can add a unique look to your quilts and other projects with this foot. Adjustable Ruler Foot #72 is a free-motion quilting foot designed for creating beautifully precise, stitched lines, curves, and shapes. You do this by guiding the presser foot along the edges of a shaped ruler as you stitch.
A set of three Couching Inserts are available as an accessory option that adapts Foot #72 for couching. The inserts snap onto the bottom of the foot. The holes in the centers of the inserts hold different size cords in place for stitching.
Click here for a Free-Motion Couching Foot #43 video.
Click here for an Adjustable Ruler Foot #72 video.
Click here for a Rulerwork Couching Insert video.
For more information on BERNINA presser feet and accessories, see The Big Book of Feet at your local BERNINA store. Click here to find a BERNINA dealer near you.