This year I am participating in Sommerpost (summer mail) a swap project for which I am to make a single signature exercise book, well, 7 in fact, and send them to other participants. I’ll end up with 7 myself, from which we are then binding a book. Because my work will be further used in that way, it has to be a pamphlet bound in the fold.
But, since for the decoration I have quite a lot of Asian inspired imagery, I thought that a stab stitch would look nice. And so I it in my mind to develop a binding that would functionally be a western bound pamphlet but look like an Asian stab bound book.
Ta-Da, here it is:
Asking social media, it looks like no-one has seen this before, so here’s a step-by step:
For a cover material I chose a blue, cotton rich cardstock. I cut them to A4 size, as we are required to submit A5 sized booklets for the swap.
To emphasis this Asian look, I like paper covers with a fabric spine. With paper covers the fabric is indeed needed as a spine re-enforcement. However, if you are using a tougher material for covers, the choice of whether or not to add a fabric strip becomes an aesthetic choice rather than a necessity.
Like with an Asian stab binding, you won’t be able to trip the head and tail after binding, so you have to do it before. I left the front edge uneven, for now, because like in any pamphlet, you can still trim that later.
The next step is to design a punching template. For this I folded a strip of paper the size of the fabric re-enforcement, and first drew my stab-stitch design on to there. You could do any Asian stab design, but I like this fairly simple one.
Punch through the holes on the template where you would drill for an Asian binding. Then fold the strip open. You now have pairs of holes there on either side of the fold. Connect these pairs with a pencil line. I now have 6 (4+2 corners) lines crossing the centre fold. On four of them (I chose the 4 in the middle, but it could be argued, that including the outermost or maybe all of them would be preferable) I punched holes through the centrefold.
I marked all holes for you with a little arrow here:
Next comes the pre-punching of the holes. First punch the holes in the centrefold through the complete booklet. Then put away the inner pages, lay the cover flat, and continue to punch the “Asian” holes into the cover.
And then we can proceed to sewing the first set of stitches. I used a silk thread of a lovely, ever so slightly varigated pink colour.
It is easy to measure the length directly if you really want to. Approximately you’ll need four times the height of the book plus 12 times the width of the fabric strip plus a bit for knotting.
For these first stitches ignore the holes in the centrefold completely. The stitch pattern is essentially the same as for an Asian stitch. Start on one of the two middle holes on the inside of the cover. Now every time you’d normally go around the spine of your text block, switch to the other side of the fold and make sure you mirror the stitches already done on the other side. Make sure your pattern is “complete” both on the inside and the outside.
At this point, this stitching looks purely decorative, but we’ll use the spanning threads to hold our secondary stitches in place, and those in turn will hold these first stitches in place. Be careful for now with moving your cover, because the position of those threads is less secure than you might think.
Put the pages back into the cover. If you all did correctly, the holes in your signature line up with the spanning thread from the first stitching.
Start on one of the outermost holes on the inside. Go through the holes onto the spine, taking care not to pierce any thread as usual.
Then loop the thread around the spanning thread and go back inside the signature and pull tight.
Repeat with all the remaining holes. Now you have an end of thread dangling both head and tail, but the pages are securely in place. All that needs doing is to knot that thread.
The final step now is to trim the front and you are ready and done.
Now you have a booklet sewn throught he centrefold with a decorative Asian stab pattern.
Next I’d like to try with several signatures. It shouldn’t be hard to do the same with a thicker spine. Although it might become a little pointless, not to just simply do an Asian stab binding in that case.
Mhm, the general ethos for that swap seems to be, not to show finished parts before sending off. But just the cover won’t hurt, don’t you think? So what are you thoughts: Top or flop?