Instructions: Coptic with Single Sheets (or Boards) & Paired Needles

A student wanted to know how he could make a book with wood pages, so I got out Keith Smith's Non-Adhesive Binding, Vol. 4: Smith's Sewing Single Sheets to study and see if I could finally figure out the sewing pattern. It took several hours to understand it well enough to teach it. The version I show is a chain across the spine with four needles. I first painted book boards with a dry brush and a small amount of acrylic paint.

One of my earlier binding attempts. You can use different color threads by cutting the lengths in half and tying them together.

Measure two long lengths of thread that are equivalent to the number of boards. Put a needle  on each of the four ends. Center the thread, adjusting the needles, so that you have what looks like a stitch on the underside of the second board. Sew up through the second board with each needle.

Take the threads around the first board and sew down into the corresponding holes with each needle (you will always do the same action with each needle from here on out).

Take the threads out from under the first board and out around the second board. They will begin to look like figure 8s.

Pull the threads to tighten and align the boards.

Sew up into the second board.

From the inside to the outside,  take the needles between the two boards and back out under the stitches.

Pull the threads to tighten and align the boards.

Drop down and sew into the third board.

Pull threads to tighten and align the boards.

Take the needles under the preceding stitches. You will start to see the chains forming.

Repeat for all the stitches.

Drop down into the fourth board and sew into those holes.

Pull threads to tighten and align the boards.

Sew under the preceding stitches.

Tighten the stitches and align the boards.

Continue the pattern of dropping down, sewing under the stitches and tightening and aligning the boards until the last board. Sew in as usual.

Sew under, as usual.

This time, sew back into the last board, same holes.

You'll have  double stitches on the back.

Open to the last page and tie off inside.

You can tie two threads together and make the knot over the holes.

It is kind of surprising to see the variation of the stitching inside. But it can add an element of color, variation, or texture, and work well with certain aesthetic, more painterly styles.


Monica said…
many uses for this beyond boards.
Thanks you