Handmade Book Tutorial – Long Stitch with Packing

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 There was a tutorial by Dennis Yuen but his blog is no longer active and I’ve never seen the instructions elsewhere online or in a book.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.

Long stitch with packing

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.

Long Stitch with Packing Cover

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.

Long stitch with packing 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).

Long stitch with packing

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.

Long stitch with packing

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.Long stitch with packingLong stitch with packingRepeat the same process with the lower four holes and tie off the thread inside the book.

Long stitch with packing

Repeat this sewing pattern for the remaining signatures.

Long stitch with packing

Finish the cover as desired.
Long Stitch with Packing
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.

16 Thoughts on “Handmade Book Tutorial – Long Stitch with Packing

  1. Ellen Young on January 25, 2018 at 10:50 am said:

    Thanks for sharing such a unique binding!

  2. Lightbulb moment! You’ve taken the mystery out of this binding. Never occurred to me that the wrapping would happen through their own holes. Brilliant!

  3. Grata por compartilhar 🙂 !!!

  4. Joyce Cook on February 4, 2018 at 12:19 pm said:

    Thanks so much. It is so nice of you to share this.

  5. Barbara Lemme on February 6, 2018 at 5:52 pm said:

    Thanks so much. The directions with pictures are most helpful.

  6. Janet M on February 21, 2018 at 3:47 pm said:

    About how thick are the signatures if using 1/4″ graph paper?

  7. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Linda on May 18, 2018 at 2:27 pm said:

    I look forward to trying this. Instructions look easy and thank you for sharing.

  9. tree on June 3, 2018 at 12:32 pm said:

    What an amazing book. I am approaching my first hand made journal. More accurately, i’m sneaking up on it in a way that i hope is discrete. I have an image in my mind and yesterday i cut two boards from packing material. I plan to bind visual journals and would like a format that will expand to accommodate the layers of paint and collage material. Honestly, Ali, I feel like my goal is attainable since i’ve joined the FB group and been receiving your posts in my inbox. Thank you so much.

    • Ali Manning on June 13, 2018 at 4:10 pm said:

      Hi Tree, thanks for your kind words. I’m so glad you’re encouraged to make handmade books since you joined the FB group. I can’t wait to see what you make!

  10. Linda R. on August 11, 2018 at 4:39 pm said:

    Excellent instructions and very easy to follow. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I’m so thrilled to have found your website. I purchased the August paper club paper and it is so beautiful!! I’m in the process of making the concertina. Can’t wait to start on the above book. I know just who I’ll give it to. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Pingback: long stitch with packing – gemtactics

  13. Ali, thank you for this tutorial. I have two questions please: 1) on the inside, how much of a gap is there on the spine between signatures. 2) if you wanted to make this book using book board instead of leather, how far apart should you space the front and back cover board from the center board formthe spine when covering the board? Thanks!

  14. Judith Favia on April 14, 2019 at 2:10 pm said:

    Using a Japanese screw punch was a lifesaver. Perfect little holes, easy to sew through. I used the 1 mm punch and the holes were 2 1/2 mm apart.

  15. Thank you very much for this tutorial! I look forward to trying it!

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