Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Tried & Tested Tip Number 16 [Stab Stitch Tutorial]


When I first wanted to learn how to make a book using stab stitch (also sometimes called five stitch book binding) I searched the internet for tutorials (such as this and this). They were good for basics, but I wanted to make something a bit more special...


This tutorial adds in some extra steps and advice to make a more advanced book, with extra depth between pages, different sized pages etc. I have used it to create books filled with wedding photos as special gifts, but you really could use it for anything!

So, let's get to it!


You will need:
Card/paper for cover and pages
Cutting mat and scalpel (optional: guillotene)
Metal ruler
Pencil
A piece of scrap board/wood
Clean nail
Hammer
Thread (anything from string and wool, to embroidery floss and fancy cottons will work)
Needle
Scissors
Pritt Stick/double sided sticky tape
Pegs (or bull dog clips)
PVA glue

Note: Here you can see the piece of board I used for this project:


However, on smaller projects (if you're not heavy handed with the hammer!) you can get away using tiny scraps of wood, like these which come with canvasses:



1. Begin by cutting your card to size. I used a pearl cream card for the cover, which I made 20cm x 20cm - you need to cut two, one for the front and one for the back. I used a plain white card for my pages, cut to 19cm high and 19.5cm wide, so it would sit flush with the left hand binding, but be indented on the other edges. I had 22 pages.
(If you want your inner pages the same size as your covers, then simply cut them the same size. You can make your covers and pages any size you want.)


2. Score your front cover on the left hand side. For this 20cm x 20cm book, I scored 2cm in down the left hand side. This will about right for most books, but smaller books may need less. Don't score the back cover.


3. Now you need to mark the holes through which you will sew the book together. Mark these along the score mark.
Mark your first hole at the mid point along the score.
Mark your second hole an equal distance in from the top edge as your score is from the left edge. 
Similarly, mark your third hole an equal distance from the bottom edge as your score is from the left edge. 
Mark your fourth hole between the middle hole and the top hole; and your fifth hole midway between your middle hole and the bottom hole. 
Make sense?! On my 20cm x 20cm book, I marked the holes at 2cm, 6cm, 10cm, 14cm and 18cm. You also want to mark these holes on your back cover, so they align with the front cover.


4. Place your piece of scrap board on your work surface, and place your front cover on top, front side up, so you can see your marks. Hold the nail on your first mark, and hammer a few times - you should make your first hole! Continue with your other four holes. Repeat with your back cover, again hammering from your external side to internal side.
 

(To clarify, you want to hammer from the front of the front cover, to the inside of the front cover. And from the back of the back cover, to the inside of the back cover. This keeps your covers neat and tidy.)


5. Now score your internal pages. As with the covers, I am scoring 2cm in from the left on every page.


6. Now you need your hammer, nail and board again. Mark holes along the score line of your first inside page. You need these holes to line up with covers - remembering your inside pages are smaller than your covers. For me, this makes my hole placement 1.5cm, 5.5cm, 9.5cm, 13.5cm and 17.5cm along the scored line. Now, punch your holes as before.

It can take a while to do it one at a time, and you will need to mark every page. However, do too many at once and the holes can look quite ugly. So... I begin by punching holes on the first page, the one we just marked. I then use pegs to hold the next two pages perfectly aligned underneath the first page, and hammer through. I unpeg, and take the bottom page to use as the guide to punch through the next 2 pages, and so on. This stops any page being over hammered, and keeps things aligned. Your holes should always be on the score line.


Feel free to stack your pages and covers together at the point to take a look - your book is beginning to take shape!


7. Because I am using this book as a display book for photographs, I want to add extra depth to each page to compensate.


23 of my pages will have contents (the 22 inside, and I am also using the back cover), therefore I want 23 strips of card. Each strip for me is 1.5cm wide (just less than the depth of the score from the edge) and 19cm long (the height of my inner pages). If your lucky, your offcuts from earlier will be exactly the right size!

8. Attach these strips to each of your pages (and your back cover, if you wish) within the score line. I used Pritt Stick because it is repositionable, but you could use good ol' double sided sticky tape. You want to stick each strip on the front of every page, between your left hand edge and the score line, preferably flush to the left edge.

9. If you are planning to use this as a notebook/generally fill at a later date, go straight to step 10, and enjoy seeing your book come together!


If you are planning to use this as a scrapbook/presentation book, you may prefer to fill your pages now, before assembly. Remember, this book won't open as wide as a "standard" book, so you may wish to position your contents slightly to the right of the page.


10. Now you're ready to assemble! Make sure you are happy wih how your pages look and are ordered. (You can always undo your stitching to make changes, but it's more work!) Stack them neatly and so the holes and edges line up. (If your book is small enough you may wish to peg it again!)

11. Cut a length of thread at 4 - 5 times the height of your book. (Because I am using quite a delicate thread, I folded it in half for double strength.) Thread your needle - you want it big enough to hold your thread, but small enough to pass through your holes without too much difficulty.


12. Now, to stitch! And this is when you realise just how important it is that your holes DO line up! Looking at the front of your book, you want to imagine the holes numbered like this:


Every stitch is going to pass through every layer of your book. Pull the thread tight to hold it all together, but not so tight you break the thread! This is fiddlier with more delicate thread, with more pages, and with different sized pages, but it is also very much worth your effort!

A. Begin by passing your thread from back to front through Hole 3, leaving a few inches of thread behind at the back.


B. Pass your thread back down through Hole 2.



C. Wrap around your left edge, and go back down through Hole 2.


 D. Pass your thread up through Hole 1.


E. Wrap around your left edge, and go back up through Hole 1.

F. Now wrap around your top edge, and go back up through Hole 1.



G. Go back down through Hole 2.


H. Pass your thread up through Hole 4, skipping Hole 3. (I like to make sure the end I left at the beginning is to the "stitching" side as the thread passes down, ready to tie your knot later.)


I. Wrap around your left edge, and go back down through Hole 4.

 
J. Go down through Hole 5.

 
K. Wrap around your left edge, and go back down through Hole 5.

 
L. Now wrap around your bottom edge, and go back down through Hole 5.

M. Pass your thread back up through Hole 4.


N. And back down through Hole 3, staying on the "book" side of the strand from step H.

O. Wrap around your left edge, and go back down through Hole 3, again staying on the "book" side of the strand from step H.


P. Remove your needle and knot your ends, making sure your stitches are straight and taut. If you are using fine thread, be careful not to pull too tight and break it, but you do want it secure. I added a drop of PVA glue to help secure it.

Note: If you are finding it difficult to pull your needle through, try resting the book on it's edge and passing the needle through a page or two at a time:


And that's it, you've made it! I just added a small placard to the front of mine:


Please don't hesitate to ask any questions or clarification :) And keep an eye out over the next few days for more stab stitch inspiration!

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