One of the first books I made in my 50 Book Project was a Long Stitch Binding with Packing. The packing refers to one thread being wrapped by another. There was a tutorial by Dennis Yuen but his blog is no longer active and I’ve never seen the instructions elsewhere online or in a book. So I thought I would make a quick tutorial on how to make this stitch.
Create a book cover from thick paper or leather and a minimum of four signatures. My signatures measure 7″ high x 5″ wide and the piece of leather is 7.25″ high x 14″ wide.
Create a sewing template using ¼” graph paper. For each signature you plan to sew onto the spine, create one row containing 8 sewing holes. In this book the holes are marked at 0.5″, 1″, 2.5″, 3″, 4″, 4.5″, 6″ and 6.5″. Create your sewing holes on the cover with a Japanese hole punch.
Fold this punching template in half and use it as a guide to make the sewing holes in your signatures. Tip: to make sure the holes are properly aligned, make a small pencil mark at the head of the template, the cover and all the signatures.
Each signature will be sewn independently using a length of thread approximately four times the height of the book. In this case I used four 30″ pieces of waxed linen thread. Thread your needle and start at the bottom of the book with the first signature and the first column of sewing holes in this pattern:
Exit sewing hole 8 from inside to outside
Enter sewing hole 5 from outside to inside (yes, you’re skipping holes 6 & 7).
Exit sewing hole 4 from inside to outside.
Enter sewing hole 1 from outside to inside (skipping holes 2 & 3).
Now for the packing, exit hole 2 from inside the outside and wrap the thread around the long stitch created in previous step until you reach hole 3 and then enter the cover/signature through hole 3 outside to inside.
Tip: Make sure your packing or wrapping goes in the same direction (either clockwise or anti-clockwise) and hold the long stitch taut on the inside to make the packing easier.Repeat the same process with the lower four holes and tie off the thread inside the book.
Repeat this sewing pattern for the remaining signatures.