Islamic bindings – instructions part 1

Islamic Headband Feature

These instructions are to coincide with the Islamic binding lessons that we have been having with Kristine Rose from the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Sewing and spine preparation

The two sewing stations must be prepared in advance of sewing as the paper is not good enough quality to work blind on the book, this can be done by piercing the paper or by scoring the stations with a knife. Commonly sewing was in yellow silk.

Islamic Binding Sewing two stations
Sewing two stations

Sew the first two sections twice as it is not initially sewn off, then continue to sew using link stitches. For sewing off, make the final stitch a kettle stitch, so that it is secured.

Knock sections up between boards and put into a laying press.

Stipple a small amount of paste into the sections to stick initially, then repaste with stippling and put spine lining on and bone folder down. The spine lining should be an evenweave linen, commonly mauve was used.

Islamic Binding Pasting up the spine
Pasting up the spine

Excess linen is to be trimmed and pasted to the book block. This will be hidden by the board attachments. The linen should only be a couple of millimetres either side of the spine.

Islamic Binding lining the spine
Lining the spine

Endbands:

End band cores should be the same material as covering, cut 3mm and just wider than the text block, these are to be glued up on the flesh side of the leather and moulded so that no fibres stick out. The cores should then be stuck onto the spine, adjacent to the spine and just hanging over either side.

Each section centre should then be marked.

Islamic Binding The end band core
The end band core

Sewing of the endbands is done using three threads:

Primary thread – this should be a bright colour, often a gold, so that it can be seen in contrast to the other two. This is sewn through every section and over the cores, which creates the basis for the second two threads.

Islamic Binding Working the primary
Working the primary
Islamic Binding working the first two rows
working the first two rows

Secondary thread – this is woven over and under the primary thread at the middle of the core and left at the other end

Islamic Binding Locking the secondary with the tertiary
Locking the secondary with the tertiary

Tertiary thread – this follows the secondary thread on each row, going ‘under the overs’ and ‘over the unders’ meaning that every time a secondary thread goes over the primary, the tertiary will go under both, and when a secondary thread goes under a primary, the tertiary goes over both.

Islamic Binding Starting the tertiary
Starting the tertiary

The tertiary then anchors the secondary at the other end, allowing the secondary to weave back through the primaries to the starting point. Once the tertiary has come back and two rows are complete, there should be a chevron pattern starting. These two rows are then shuffled along the primaries to sit on the text block, before the next row is started.

Islamic Binding Chevron
Shuffling the chevron down the primary
Islamic Headband The finished end bands
The finished end bands

To finish text block:

Tie down end band knots within the text block.

Trim decorative end papers just smaller than first sheet and wet before pasting. Paste just over the fabric on the spine and press. Once pressed, trim any excess decorative papers.

Pair endband cores very slightly and paste down onto book cover.

Paste and fan out text block threads onto spine.

Boards:

Three boards are used per cover, which should be lightly wetted prior to pasting.

Boards are exactly the same size of text block in height, though not in width – Square up one corner of board and measure against cover of book, leaving a joint space at the spine, about the same size as the endbands, trim the boards to this size once pasted.

Islamic Binding trimming boards
Measuring up the board for trimming

Leave boards sharp without back cornering them.

The foredge flap will only be the thickness of one board not three, and will be done when covering the book.

The foredge envelope will be as the covers and three board thicknesses. It should be the same height for the boards and measured to exactly half the width of the boards. The point is central and the depth of the angle is half the width of the envelope.

A Final Book for Becca

This is the last book in the series of Books for Becca’s wedding, it is the all important guest book! As I am writing this, it is the day before the big event, and I shall take more pictures of the book when it has been fully used by the guests – I might have had a little fizz by then, so we will see how those pictures turn out!

It is in the same style as the previous two books, though much smaller, the pages are a landscape A5 size, rather than the previous A4 and bigger. It is still bound in a simple coptic style and has the crumpled paper and ribbon on the front. Again it is in pink as this is the theme of the wedding!

 

 

Hen-Do Memory Book – Coptic Binding

I made this particular volume some years back for a friend’s hen-do. It is a fantastic little binding, designed to be a keepsake of memories from friends, and would make the prize gift of any hen party. The best part of this book is the contents – lovingly and individually made by the girls together, so the hen will always have a cherished book to remind them of the night and all their closest friends.

ORDER YOUR OWN HEN-DO MEMORY BOOK

  • I will send you sheets of paper for the girls to write/draw/collage on in what ever form they like.
  • I will include some simple printed instructions, including what direction the writing should be in so that the contents are consistent.
  • You give a sheet or more to each of your girls for them to personalise.
  • You send the completed pages back to me a minimum of two weeks before your hen-do for me to create the book.

SUGGESTIONS OF CONTENT

  • Photographs of you together
  • Past memories of school, college and work days
  • Drawings and collage cuttings of things to make her laugh.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Coptic binding, fully bound in coloured paper, with additional crushed decorative paper on the cover and ribbon.
  • Guards for each folio are in the same paper as the cover.
  • Single folios with guards created each signature, the paper stock was thick to provide bulk and hold photographs.
  • Each individual is given a landscape folded folio to be written/drawn/collaged on as they choose. It should be noted that each folio will have guards wrapped at the spine.

For other examples of bespoke bindings, have a look at the bookbinding page of this website.


This particular book was made for my oldest and best friend, who go married some years ago. Well the weekend was her hen-do – a raucous event of karaoke and champagne amongst other things! And, as many hen-do’s do – this one required a hen-do memory book! This duty obviously came my way and I endeavoured to make it well and appealing. The best part of this book was that all the chicks (is that the term??) had a huge input into it, each making their own pages for the book, as apposed to giving me their pictures and notes and me putting it all together. It worked really well as each page had real individuality of that person, and the bride was amazed and thrilled by everyone’s effort.

Bookbinding Update | Week 36

How very sad – our course has now ended and no longer will I be spending Tuesday evenings at the City Lit, enjoying the company of our small group of bookbinders (I’d like to call ourselves that as we have now completed the course), perhaps more affectionately known now as the Montague Binders following our visit to the mythical Montague Arms pub (otherwise known as the Prince of Wales – sorry about that!)

Yesterday we did manage to complete all sorts of bits and bobs and I am fairly sure we all came away with our final project 2 books – so well done to everyone on that!

I also managed to complete my phase box, which I must admit is pretty much just as bad as the coptic binding it is encasing – I think perhaps a smaller book would have been better to start with, so I think I will try that again.

Here are some more pictures of the evening, including our class in full and Nesta receiving her apron from us

I have added some more pictures onto Facebook, in our new group page that Katherine has kindly set up called ‘Bookbinding 2010‘, which I think we should rally to change to the ‘Montague Binders’!!

And finally, thank you very much Nesta for such an enjoyable year, I really have had a fantastic time!

Bookbinding Update | Week 33

So I’m going to try and make these shorter and more snappy and keep everyone more excited! Last night was a manic array of different projects all fighting to be completed. Some people were ploughing, others like myself, were working on their coptic bindings and some on their rounded backs!
I managed to complete my coptic binding and cover it and start the phase box for it, but due to the manicness, I have no pictures. We will be continuing the phase box next week, so I’ll take some photos then. Its not a slip case, more of a very fancy protective envelope, which at the moment isn’t going too badly. Sadly the actual binding itself is still pretty rubbish, but I will have to practice the technique more.
I do have the attached picture to interest you, which is a little snippet my lovely sister sent me, which she found whilst researching for her studies. It’s from the London Journal Ladies Supplement and she thinks dates back to around the 1880’s – I rather like it!

Bookbinding Update | Week 32

Afternoon All! Yesterday I nearly completed my coptic binding, which I have to say, is an atrocious contribution to such a nice form of binding. I managed to rip several sheets whilst trying to tighten the threads, which needless to say, failed anyway! I also found that I have been linking the sections using a kettle stitch instead of a chain stitch, which looks extremely messy – the chain stitch being much more attractive and simple, in addition, my kettle stitches were messy anyway – as I say – a poor contribution

This is the final article without a cover


My mid lesson apple was interestingly decorated!