How To Use The Free Motion Couching Foot

Created By:

Lillia Whittington

Skill Level: Beginner

Hey sewing besties! Welcome back to the Janome blog. I’m Lillia, and today I am going to share how you can use this amazing presser foot to create custom applique, texture, and more to your projects this summer. The free motion couching foot is a simple to use presser foot that easily attaches to your machine to help you create custom designs from just about any sketch! Using a free motion presser foot may be scary, but today’s post is going to share all the how-to's so you can add your own custom designs to anything!

Janome Supplies Required


  • Janome Free Motion Couching Foot

  • Project you’re applying the applique to

  • Medium to Bulky weight yarn(s) (I find these weights work best for beginners)

  • Stabilizer

  • Thread to match your yarn(s)

  • Scissors or snips

  • Heat disappearing pen for drawing on design

  • Iron

  • Tapestry needle


Design your Decal

This was my favorite part of the process! I used a short throw projector to cast my design onto my fabric. However, you can always print your design and trace it onto your fabric as well. I chose a fun summer ladybug design for my bag. This design gave me the opportunity to use multiple yarns in one project, making for a fun and dimensional design. Using your heat disappearing pen, trace onto your fabric your design. For designs with multiple colors, label your sections with the colors so you won’t forget once you sit on your machine. 


Prep the Machine

For my Skyline S9, I have to change my presser plate from a straight stitch, to a free motion quilting plate. Not all machines may require this, so check your manual to be sure. You’ll want to select quilting, free motion quilting, and drop your feed dogs before beginning. Use your sewing machine key to safely remove your current presser foot and ankle attachment. Replace the whole piece with the new couching presser foot and secure into place with the sewing machine key. Thread your bobbin and machine like normal, then you’ll want to lead your yarn into the  center of the free motion couching foot. Note: Using the appropriate stabilizer for your project will prevent the fabric from puckering around the design


How to thread your Free Motion Couching Foot

In the free motion couching foot, there is a small slit to allow the yarn to slide in to sit in the center of the presser foot. This is where the weight of your yarn can determine the ease of stitching for your presser foot. The bulky yarn will fill up the center of the hole in the presser foot, making it easier to use. The smaller the yarn weight, the more precise you’ll need to be as you sew your design. I used a medium weight wool yarn and a fine crochet yarn. I found the medium weight performed best, but the fine details were drawn on beautifully! The more you practice though, the better you will be able to manage the yarn on your designs. 



How to Draw with your Free Motion Couching Foot

Now that your design is laid down, and your presser foot is loaded, you are ready to begin stitching with the free motion couching foot! Start by outlining your design so you can have a clean edge to draw against with the machine. Make sure your yarn is always coming from the front of the presser foot so the yarn is getting caught in the stitch. Once you outline the shape, work in small circles to fill in the design. Since you are using a free motion presser foot, remember that your hand sets the speed and direction of the stitch. Work from the top of the design down for the best way to fill the design and make sure you are always catching the yarn. 


Remember, using the free motion setting on your machine means you set the speed and determine the direction of your stitch! 


After you finish drawing with your design in a certain area, cut the thread using your machine's automatic cutter or your snips. Pull a tail of yarn that is 4-5 inches long to be left on your design. This will leave you ample room to pull the thread through with a tapestry needle at the end! When you finish each color, change your thread and yarn the same way you threaded your machine to set up the foot. 

Finish Off Your Design

When you go to complete your design after you have applied all your colors, you’ll want to grab your tapestry needle and snips. Thread the yarn through the tapestry needle, then thread the yarn through the design towards the back to create a seamless finish on the front of your design. Tie the ends off in a knot once you finish pulling all the threads to the back of the design. Give your design a final press with lots of steam to help the fibers bond  together. 

Projects to Use the Free Motion Couching Foot On

This is a great way to add a personal touch to a bag or backpack, jackets, pillows and home goods, or personalized design on a stable fabric. This free motion couching foot will work best on woven fabrics, as knit fabrics with high stretch may cause the fabrics to warp and your design to come out funny and bubbly. For this project, I used upholstery fabric I thrifted from Thistle Creative Reuse center here in Denton, TX. Along with medium weight wool yarn and the white fine crochet yarn. Have fun creating your own appliques! Feel free to reach out to me over on Tik Tok or Instagram on @just.lilliaa if you have any questions! 


Happy sewing!


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