Friday, March 5, 2010

Secret Belgian Binding




Secret Belgian Binding

  1. Cut paper for your text block-make it twice as wide as your actual book since you will be folding it in half.

2.Make your sewing stations--there will be six in your signatures (3 near top & 3 near the bottom) and eight on your cover. Make sure they all match up from text block to cover. You will need to pieces of tape (not sticky tape).


  1. Starting with your last signature start from the mountain and go to the valley in the bottom hole leaving a tail. Go to next hole and bring the needle back to the mountain. Place your tape between the 2 and 3 hold and sew over it. Continue on, placing the next tape between the 4 and 5 hole. Needle should end on the mountain side.

  2. Add next signature. Sew into the first hole and then up through the next hole. Make a linking stitch (refer to 1st column of images below) over the running stitch from the previous signature. Take your needle to the valley at the next hole. Travel to the next hole and bring your needle to the mountain and make the same linking stitch.
  3. Add the rest of the signatures in the same way. When making the linking stitches, catch the part of the stitch closest to the needle. Also use kettle stitches at the top and bottom of every new signature. (refer to 1st column of images again)
  4. Cut bookboard for covers to fit size of text block. Stack text block and covers together and using medium pressure, measure thickness of spine and cut a piece of bookboard to match.
  5. Cover front and back and spine piece with paper or bookcloth and let dry.
  6. Make your sewing stations in the front and back cover for the book, making sure they line up with those of the text block, and adding the 2 extras in the center. Add them 1/2 to 3/4 inches in from the spine side.
  7. cut thread that is long enough to sew entire book- thread length= [(3 x # of holes) x (distance between top holes)] + (2 x height) + ~7 inches.
  8. Lay out front cover, spine and back cover, insides facing up. (refer to 2nd column of images below)
  9. Take needle from the top hole of the inside of the back cover leaving a short tail. thread over the spine and under the front cover and back inside through the top hole. Weave the thread under the spine piece and over to the tail on the back cover and tie them together with a square knot. Take needle back to the outside by going through the top back hole again. Weave it over the spine and under front cover and back inside the top hole again. {same pattern will be used for the rest of the sewing}
  10. travel from top hole of front cover down to the 2nd hole and to the outside. weave over the spine and under the back cover, coming up through the 2nd hole in the back cover. Weave thread under the spine and back down through 2nd hole of front cover. Bring needle up as if you'll weave over the spine. Pick up text block and line it up on spine--thread needle under the linking stitches on the text block from the front signature to the back signature. Go under the back cover and bring needle back up through hole 2.
  11. Travel down to 3nrd hole on back cover. Again, bring needle up as if you were going to weave over the spine. Slide needle through the linking stitches again, go under front cover and come up through 3rd hole in front cover. Weave thread under spine and down through 3rd hole on back cover. Weave thread over spine under front cover and back up through 3rd hole on front cover.
  12. Travel down to 4th hole on front cover. (refer to 3rd column of images below--shows sewing pattern and only tapes from sewing block to be able to see what it should look like) Continue in the same pattern, attaching the text block in the same manner on the 3rd pass in the 6th hole, and the 1st pass on the 7th hole.
  13. Check the tension on all your sewing to make sure it is tight. Tie off the end of the thread and enjoy!



Directions for this book were taken from Books with Girth, found in the printmaking lab, pages 190-197. The books can be bought from Hollanders for $50.

Allison Bailey

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