Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along, Part 8: Assembling the Pages of the Book

This is Part Eight of my Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along.  For an introduction to this tutorial, the finished book and links to all the other parts of this tutorial, see this post.

These instructions are to finish the book so that it will look like the books in this post.  If you want it to look like my older version (as seen in the original color book post), then DON’T FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS!!  Email me and I can fairly easily type out some instructions for how to do it.  I won’t have step-by-step pictures but the other way is pretty easy.  The finish is much less polished (with some raw edges visible at the spine) but it does feel slightly more like a book.  So let me know if you want those instructions. 

We are very nearly finished with the book!  All that’s left is to assemble the pages and then bind it.  For the next two posts, I’m going to be referring to the “spine” of the book quite often.  Similar to a paper book, the spine means the part of the book at the center, where all the pages meet.

SPINE1.  Pair your pages and lay them out like this, as pictured (first one listed on the left, second one on the right, with the spine in the middle):

  • back cover/front cover
  • black/grey
  • green/orange
  • purple/yellow
  • blue/brown
  • pink/red

For all pairs (excluding the cover), make sure that the solid quarter circles are on the top outside edges, opposite the spine.

055 (800x800) 056 (800x800)053 (800x800)My pages were already pinned at this point, yours will still be lying flat.

2.  Separate out three pairs: green/orange, pink/red, and black/grey.  On all six pages, sew a row of stitching at 1/8″ along the spine, to lock those seams into place.  Lay out the pairs correctly again, as in #1 above.

3.  Pin all six pairs along the spine.  Three pins are sufficient (beginning, middle, end) for these pairs:  purple/yellow, blue/brown, and back page/front page.  The other three pairs need four pins: green/orange, pink/red, and black/grey.  Place one pin at the beginning and the end and then one pin at about two inches from the top and another at about two inches from the bottom.  You will be leaving a turning hole in the middle of these three pairs.  The middle pins are to remind you where to leave the hole.

054 (799x800)Here are the four pins for the pairs with the turning hole.  My pins are not exactly in the right place.  I never really measure but just eye it.  Feel free to do so, too! 🙂

4.  At this point, you have to decide how you want your final product to look.  Due to the nature of fabric book binding (at least as far as I’ve figured it out), you can either have the pages look perfectly aligned when the book is open or perfectly aligned when the book is closed, but not both.

Option A: Sew the center seams the same.  The book will look perfect when open but the pages will not align when the book is closed.

009 (799x800) 010 (800x534) 014 (800x533)

Option B:  Sew the center seams as directed below.  The book will look perfectly aligned when closed but the pages will be slightly off when the book is open.

012 (800x800) 013 (800x535)011 (800x533)

I ended up sewing one book with Option A, realizing what was happening and then sewing two more using Option B.  It’s your choice what’s more important to you – the outside or the inside.  In the end, it’s fabric, it shifts around, and it’s never going to look “perfect” regardless of which option you choose.  So don’t worry about the choice too much!

5.  For Option A (skip if you doing Option B):  Sew all the spines with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Use your pins to help you remember to leave a 4″ turning hole in these three pairs: green/orange, pink/red, and black/grey.  The other three pairs should be sewn with a complete seam.

5.  For Option B (skip if you are doing Option A):  Sort your pairs into three piles and sew the spines as directed:

  • Pile #1 – back page/front page and black/grey – a 1/4″ seam allowance
  • Pile #2 – blue/brown and pink/red – a 3/8″ seam allowance
  • Pile #3 – purple/yellow and green/orange – a 1/2″ seam allowance

Use your pins to help you remember to leave a 4″ hole for turning in these three pairs: green/orange, pink/red, and black/grey.  The other three pairs should be sewn with a complete seam.

6.  For all pairs, iron both seams to one side.  Press from the front, to make sure that each seam is lying completely flat.  I almost always press all of my seams open but pressing to the side is important for binding the book – to ensure structural integrity.

7.  Now you should have six double pages.  Placing them right sides together, combine two double pages to make three pairs:  

  • back page/front page with black/grey
  • red/pink with blue/brown
  • purple/yellow with orange/green

To double check the combinations, make sure that the following pages will be sewn to each other, verifying that the solid corners are touching each other correctly:

  • back cover to grey
  • front cover to black
  • red to blue
  • pink to brown
  • purple to orange
  • green to yellow

Additionally, confirm that your front and back pages are oriented correctly, so that the top of each page is touching the top of the black and grey pages (i.e. the top of the page where the solid quarter circle is).

All of this may seem a bit excessive but it’s far easier to to obsessively check the order now rather than pick out a whole lot of stitches later on.  (Don’t ask me how I know.)

8.  Pin the pairs, first at the center (spine) seams and second at both sides of the quarter-circle.  Your pages may not line up correctly (probably due to a bit of wonkiness from curve sewing).  The bottom corners should line up perfectly though so line up the whole bottom edge and then do the top edge.  Prioritize perfection on the spine and do your best to get the sides of the quarter circles to line up also.  Then finish pinning all the way around.  Sew the entire perimeter of the page with a 1/4″ seam allowance, securing your stitches at the beginning and end.  No need to leave a turning hole – we did that already in the spine.

059 (800x534)

9.  Trim all corners and then turn the pages right-side out through the turning hole. You’ll notice that the pages will be quite wrinkled and puffy.  Use a chopstick or another implement to help you completely push out the corners.  This will be a bit difficult because of the interfacing on the solids.  Do your best to get the corners to look square.

061 (800x533)

060 (800x800)062 (800x534)10.  Carefully and thoroughly press each page, paying particular attention to the solid quarter-circles.  Due to the interfacing, then tend to get more wrinkled.  Make sure to pull out the edges completely so that they meet perfectly at the edge, ensuring that you won’t see the other side’s color.  Also, pay careful attention to the fabric at the turning hole, pressing it so that it’s straight again.  At this point, all three pages should be flat.

063 (800x533)Congratulate yourself on being almost finished!

Next week (and the final post): binding the book!

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2 Responses to Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along, Part 8: Assembling the Pages of the Book

  1. Pingback: Color Book Sew-Along/Tutorial | Salmon and Souvlaki

  2. Pingback: Handmade Christmas 2014: Mark’s Color Book | Salmon and Souvlaki

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