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No-Sew Embroidery

Martha Stewart Living, September 2007

You don't need a seamstress to give linens a makeover. Our simplified approach to couching, which traditionally involves hand-stitching, doesn't require the labor of a needle and thread -- just cording, fabric glue, and a disappearing-ink pen, plus a marker and graph paper to map out a design. Once you learn the basic technique, use it to embellish bed skirts, drapes, and more.




Couching How-To
With a dark marker, draw your design on graph paper, using the grid to make the pattern uniform. Place graph paper under the fabric surface; with a disappearing-ink pen, trace the design onto fabric. Working in small sections, go over traced lines with fabric glue; carefully arrange cording over glue. To prevent fraying, treat all cut ends of cording with a dab of fabric glue.

Comments (7)

  • acollins23 3 Oct, 2011

    Would be great to have a 'print page' button for this project.

  • SherriWilliams 23 Mar, 2011

    I would imagine that if you wanted it to last longer, you could go back over the design and hand-stitch the cording to the pillow using the same color thread as the cording. Using the fabric glue would ensure the cording doesn't move around while you are sewing it down.

  • m_w 18 Apr, 2008

    This is a fast, fabulous idea! The INSTRUCTIONS recommends fabric glue so, no, the cording won't fall off. I like Fabri-Tac (Wal-Mart, Hancock Fabrics, JoAnn's, etc.). Note that some home dec trims are NOT washable, so test first if it matters. Besides, pillow covers and such don't usually have to be washed often. Maybe hand wash, or wash inside-out in a lingerie bag. Also, use a quick spray of ScothGard to lengthen time between washes.

  • Autsom 1 Mar, 2008

    Thanks for the idea. I will use this to decorate some pillows. My husband will be proud to see his letters on the pillow.

  • PhyllisJ 29 Feb, 2008

    I would not think that this would be an heirloom, but for something different it may be worth a try.

  • gracylou 29 Feb, 2008

    What about washing these articles that are couched? Once wash and the cording is off.

  • snoopbeckybeck 28 Feb, 2008

    This sounds so clever! I'll have to try it!