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Couching in a circle (goldwork) icon
Couching in a circle (goldwork)

​Couching is the most commonly used way of filling areas of your chosen design with metal thread in goldwork embroidery. Couching in a circle is one such way of doing this. A single waxed machine thread of strand of stranded cotton is the most common choice of sewing thread with which to make the couching stitches. However, any thread that is relatively stable and even in width can be used.

Couching in a circle (goldwork) is generously sponsored by Joanna Hart


Couching in a circle (goldwork) method stage 1 photograph

Create a fold in the centre of your length of gold and using a single waxed thread stitch over it to secure. (Usually a closely matched in colour). This will be the centre of the circle.

Couching in a circle (goldwork) method stage 2 photograph

Bring the needle up through the fabric at the edge of the gold, approximately 3-4mm away from the first stitch
and stitch over both threads, then bend the gold back on itself to form a tight curve.

Couching in a circle (goldwork) method stage 3 photograph

Continue stitching the gold in a tight circle, by bringing the needle up on the outside of the circle in towards the centre and angling the needle underneath the previously worked gold threads. Try to maintain evenly spaced stitches.

Couching in a circle (goldwork) method stage 4 photograph

As you continue to increase the circle, ensure the gold threads lie flat and parallel without crossing or untwisting.

Couching in a circle (goldwork) method stage 5 photograph

When the circle is the desired size, plunge the gold threads through to the back of the base fabric .

Couching in a circle (goldwork) method stage 6 photograph

On the underside; bend the gold threads back on themselves and secure by oversewing them with a curved needle. Trim off any excess gold threads on the back to finish.

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Couching in a circle (goldwork)

​A circular spiral of densely worked couched metal thread.


  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.231

Examples of Couching in a circle (goldwork) from the RSN Collection

RSN Training School Sampler, RSN Collection No. 96

Triptych 2, RSN Collection No. 587