Couching is one of the more sculptural techniques that we use to embellish garments at Alabama Chanin. The effect adds a unique texture and visual appeal.

Traditional couching is a very old technique where yarn (or another material) is laid across fabric and sewn into place, creating shapes and patterns. Our process of couching involves stitching cotton jersey ropes to an stenciled base fabric.

The concept is simple in theory, but takes practice to execute. The technique requires a bit of dexterity when manipulating the various fabrics, but your efforts are obvious in your completed piece. Instructions for couching are available in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Couching is stunning on our Camisole or Tank Dresses, but can be easily adapted to smaller, easier-to-finish projects like our Poncho or Market Bag.

With our Custom DIY options, you can select fabrics, stencils, and appliqué techniques to suit your taste or choice of project. You can use complimentary, tone-on-tone color choices, as you see here, or select the colors that best suit your personal style. Keep in mind that elaborately embellished techniques, like the one seen above, can be heavier than less detailed garments. This can affect the cotton jersey’s ability to stretch. In these cases, we suggest choosing one pattern size larger than your regular size. View the Custom DIY Guide as a reference for your pattern size.


Fabric weight – 100% medium-weight organic cotton jersey
Base fabric color – Midnight
Appliqué fabric color – Midnight
Stencil – Anna’s Garden
Embroidery technique – couching
Button Craft thread – Slate #26
Stitch – Parallel whipstitch

See our Custom DIY page to customize your project and select from 20 available projects. Review the Custom DIY Guide to view options for each piece.


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