Long Stitch Binding Tutorial

long stitch binding tutorialLong Stitch Binding allows you to create books or notebooks with long, beautiful patterned stitches along the book spine. These books may be completed with a leather cover.

Leather is preferred as a book cover material for this form of binding as the book signatures are sewn directly onto the book cover, and leather can withstand the multiple stitches done in the long stitch binding method. Another material that most people use is the heavy weight paper (like the packing on the foolscap pads that you have). Regular paper will tear easily and thus will not be durable as a book cover in this case.

Leather can be expensive to obtain in Singapore, but it does provide bookbinders with a wide range of book cover designs to experiment with. Alternatively, you can check out Maketh Project for leather supplies and other leather art projects.

This bookbinding technique requires more skill and may not be suitable for bookbinding beginners.


long stitch bookbinding sample

Do-It-Yourself Guide To Long Stitch Binding

With Long Stitch Binding, there are many sewing patterns that can allow bookbinders to create unique book spines and book covers.

All you have to do is to search for long stitch binding on Google or Pinterest and you’ll get tons of fresh ideas that you can try.

But before you jump into the complex patterns, let’s get you started with a basic and easy project.

The tutorial here will cover the most basic Long Stitch Binding sewing pattern.

Materials and Tools

  • 20 pieces of A5 Paper
  • 1 piece of leather (large enough to cover your entire book)
  • 1 piece of recycled paper (has to be the same length as your book signature)
  • Ruler
  • Cutting Mat (find long lasting ones on Amazon, like this one)
  • Awl or Hole Puncher
  • Needle
  • Thread (Linen is recommended)
  • Wax (Bee’s Wax or Candle)

Explore your bookbinding options with our Bookbinding Essential Kits.

Long Stitch Bound Bookbinding Tutorial

I. Preparing Your Book Pages

In this Long Stitch Bookbinding tutorial, we will make a book with 4 book signatures, each containing 5 pieces of paper.

  1. Fold each A5 paper into 2 equal halves.
  2. Use your bone scorer (or ruler) to make the folds.
  3. Gather 5 pieces of folded A5 paper to make 1 book signature.
  4. Repeat this with all the paper.
  5. You should have 4 book signatures at the end.

II. Making A Template For Your Book Spine

Use the piece of recycled paper to make the template. This template will be used to mark the binding spots on your actual book signatures later. Make sure that the recycled paper is of the same length as your book spine.

  1. Fold the recycled paper into half along its width. 
  2. All markings will be done along the folded line.
  3. Leaving a 1.5cm distance from each end of the template, mark a spot.
  4. Mark another spot in the middle of the 2 extreme spots.
  5. You should have 3 spots marked out on your template.

III. Preparing Your Book Signatures and Book Cover for Binding

  1. Place the template into the inner side of each book signature.
  2. Use your Awl to make holes using the markings on your template as a guide
  3. Repeat this for all book signatures.
  4. Stack all your book signatures together and use them to mark the locations of the holes on the inner side of your book cover.
  5. Use your Awl to make holes along the spine of your book cover.

IV. Binding Your Book

We will start the sewing process from the middle hole of your first book signature.

  1. Wax the thread slightly and put the thread through a needle.
  2. Start sewing from the inside of the 1st book signature, putting your needle through the middle hole.
  3. Bring your needle through the book signature as well as the corresponding hole on the book cover.
  4. Leave a small length of thread after pulling the thread through. (do NOT pull the entire thread through the hole-.-)
  5. Bring the needle through the holes to the left and pull the thread through tightly.
  6. Bring the needle back through the middle holes and pull the thread through tightly.
  7. Repeat step 5 for the holes to the right.
  8. Bring the needle back through the middle hole. This time, do NOT bring the needle through the book cover, only bring it through the book signature. Pull the thread through tightly.
  9. Use the excess thread from the start to tie a knot at the threads going through the middle hole.
  10. Cut off the excess thread.
  11. Start on your 2nd book signature. Start the sewing from the outer side of the spine, again from the middle hole.
  12. Bring the needle through the left holes on both the book signature and the book cover.
  13. Repeat steps #5 to 8 for the 2nd book signature.
  14. Move onto the next book signature.
  15. Repeat the sewing for the remaining book signatures.
  16. End the sewing at the middle hole of the last book signature (follow step 9)
  17. Cut off the excess thread.

Photos coming soon.