Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along, Part 9: Binding the Book

This is Part Nine 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.

Finally, you’ve arrived at the last step of this project!  (And finally, I’m telling you how to do it.  Sorry it took me so long!)  Thankfully, this is the simplest step and your book will soon be finished.

1.  Gather your supplies. You’ll need the three pages of your book, white embroidery floss, scissors, needles (preferably a thin one and a thick one), and needle-nose pliers.  The pliers are optional but your fingers will be quite sore by the end if you don’t use them.  At the edges, it’s really difficult to get the needle through if you don’t have pliers.

004 (800x533)

By two sizes of needle, I mean that you’ll want a thin embroidery needle for step 2.  After that, for actually sewing the book together, it will be easier (i.e. you’ll bend/break fewer needles) if you use a slightly thicker, stronger needle.  You can get away with just one needle if you don’t have both sizes but if you’re using a thin needle for binding, be prepared to ruin a needle or two in the process.

005 (800x533)thin needle on right, thicker needles in middle and on left

2.  Close the turning hole on each page, using a ladder stitch so that the stitches will be invisible.  I forgot to take pictures of this step.  (Sorry!  You would think I would have remembered, having had to sew nine pages together.  Oh well.)  Essentially, this is the same as sewing a quilt binding onto the back of a quilt, if you’ve done that before.  If you haven’t, here are several tutorials to help you figure out how to use a ladder stitch if you haven’t used one before:  Ladder Stitch Video, How to Sew A Pillow Closed By Hand, and/or Invisible Ladder Stitch for Quilt Binding.  (All three are about the same thing but I figured I’d give you several options to choose from, hoping that one makes sense.)  I usually use my knot-less start when doing this stitch.  (See the bonus tip at the bottom of this post for how to do a knot-less start.)

3.  Take out the red/pink/blue/brown page.  Anchor your thread at the top of the spine on the red/pink side, using a knot-less start.  Then put your needle through the spine seam, being careful not to catch the fabric on either side so that the needle is on the blue/brown side.  You may need to use the pliers to get the needle all the way through the seam.

007 (800x534)

4.  Take out the cover page and put it with the red/blue page.

006 (800x534)Black and red should be touching.

Place them together, lining up the spine seams and the top edges of the pages.  If you chose Option A, your outside edges will also be aligned.  If you chose Option B, your second page will be slightly narrower than your front page, like this:

001 (800x534) (2)

5.  A bit of preliminary explanation:  For the rest of the process, you are going to be essentially doing a zigzag stitch through the spine of the book.  Your goal is to have tiny stitches which do not show.  However, if you did tiny straight up and down stitches, it would take far too many stitches to finish!  So on each side, you’ll take just a small stitch but angle your needle down through the spine to come out further along on the other side.  In addition, your goal is to put your needle between the two pieces of fabric that make up your spine seam, not catching the fabric on either side.  The stitches will NOT look like zigzags when viewed from the top (ideally, they won’t show at all).  They would only look like a zigzag if somehow you could look at them from the side, through all the layers of fabric.  It’s potentially a bit confusing, I know, but I hope it will make sense as you start to sew. 

With your needle and thread (which is already anchored), put your needle through the both pages in the spine seam at the very top of the book.  This is when you may need to use your pliers! Come out of the spine seam on the cover page side.  This can be a bit tricky to do.  You’ll get better at it as you go but it will involve repositioning the needle a lot.

Flip the book over and sew your next stitch by putting your needle in at an angle like this:

008 (800x533)Obviously not my very first stitch but you get the idea.

Your goal is to make a very tiny stitch that gets buried in the seam.  It should be invisible, or almost so, like this: stitch - invisibleHere, you can just barely see the stitch in the red but it’s not obvious at all.

Continue sewing the “zigzag” through the first two pages of the book until you reach the end.  Tie off your thread and hide the knot in the seam between the black and red pages.

6.  Repeat the process, using a new piece of thread (as in step #3) at the spine seam of the orange/green side.  Line up the spine seams (as in step #4) and repeat Step 5.

002 (800x533) (2)Orange should be touching blue.

When you reach the bottom of the book, hide the knot between the orange and blue pages.

**You can just sew all three pages together at once.  Although it’s not strictly necessary to sew the first two pages together and then add the second one, I found it much easier to keep them aligned perfectly if I was only sewing two together at a time.  The double sewing also strengthens the binding seam.  Strength is a desired quality in a toy for children. 🙂

You’re finished!  Hip Hip Hooray!

If anyone out there actually made one of these (or ever does in the future), please let me know!  Send me a picture or a link to your blog post!

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3 Responses to Color Book Tutorial/Sew-Along, Part 9: Binding the Book

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

  2. Christi says:

    This is such a great idea! It also looks adorable. 🙂

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