Our final class in The WonderCraft bookmaking series was all about bookbinding and different spine stitches. We focused on the Japanese side stitch and coptic binding, which sounds really fancy because it’s really difficult at first.
The Japanese side stitch, also called “stab binding,” is very simple and can be modified to make really elaborate and intricate spine patterns. I’m not going to write out the instructions because diagrams are usually more helpful. Check out this wonderful wikibook for detailed instructions. All you need for this style of binding is a needle, thread, and something to punch holes with.
The Japanese side stitch is very sturdy, but prevents the book from opening too far. This makes it difficult to write or draw on the pages after the spine has already been stitched.
Coptic binding was a lot more difficult because the stitching process was slightly more complex, but it gets easier with more practice and repetition. You have to sew on each signature, which is just each section of paper, individually to the covers. For coptic binding you just need your covers, paper, thread, a curved needle, and a 1/8” hole punch. Here is a remarkable tutorial on coptic binding, or the “single needle chain stitch.”
I really like this style of stitching because it allows the book to lay down flat, making it easier to write or draw on the pages.
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