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It's a stitch! binding tutorial

Calendar © 2009 Cameron Blazer / Cottage IndustrialistWhen I posted the school-year calendar pages at the end of August, I said I'd post a binding tutorial later that week. Yes, well. Real life sort of inserted itself, and it's taken me until today to take photos and write it up. The good news is that this binding works for more than just calendars, so if you've already printed yours out and put it together, you can still try this out.

The premise is quite simple: when you sew paper together, it puts little holes in the paper. So, as you sew, you create perforations. This is perfect for a calendar, no? Well, for the tutorial I'm demonstrating it on a little notepad.*

Sewing Machine
Heavy-duty thread
Glue stick (or Xyron)

  1. Line up your pages (I've done as many as 16 pieces of text-weight paper with no problem) and use a binder clip or two to hold them in place. If you are using scrap paper, turn all the already-used pages in the same direction first. And if you have odd-sized pages, don't worry. Just line up one straight edge. If you want a sturdier notebook, use a piece of card stock for the last page.

  2. Using your binder clips to hold things in place, trim your pages to whatever size you want your notebook to be. If you have a rotary cutter with snazzy blades, you could trim the bottom edge with a deckle or scallop blade for a little extra pizazz.

  3. See? These are scraps from my patternmaking obsession. I am happy to finally be putting them to use. But you could use any kind of spent or plain paper, really, so long as it didn't have weird personal data on it.

  4. Now, with the binder clip still holding the pages together, you're ready to sew! My best results have been with a ver sharp needle and heavy-duty upholstery thread. You want to make sure that you start the sewing as close to the edge of your notebook as possible—this makes the perforation part work better. And until you know how your sewing maching will handle the pages, it's probably easiest to use your wheel to manually move the needle. There's no need to backstitch at the beginning or end--you're going to take care of that later. I used a 1/2" seam allowance, but you could do a larger one—whatever floats your boat.

  5. The bound notebook ready for embellishing.

  6. Now, trim a piece of pretty paper to the width of your notebook. It doesn't really matter how long it is unless you want to get all perfection-y. You just need it to be long enough to wrap from the edge of the seam over the top of the notebook over the seam on the back.

    I used my Xyron machine to put a thin layer of adhesive all over the back of my piece of paper, but you could do this with a glue stick or sticky dots, too.

  7. Here, I have already pasted the paper to the front of my notebook.

    Before folding the paper over to the back, gather the loose ends of your threads with one hand and hold them in place as you smooth the paper over them—see, no loose ends!

  8. Voilà! Admire your finished notebook.
  9. Write yourself a little note, tear it off, and go!

Seriously, putting one of these together takes all of 10 minutes. And there is something soooo satisfying about perforation, n'est-ce pas? And if you take a stab at these, how's about join the new cottage industrialist flickr group, and upload some pictures?! Yes? Swell.

*As an insomniac, I lie awake night after night making mental lists of all the things I need to do, but I'm thinking that if I can jot them on a little scrap of paper, and tear it off in the morning to take with me, it might help me chill out.

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Reader Comments (5)

My Teacher Cadets will be using this shortly for Teacher Appreciation gifts. Thanks!

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJAM

Oooh that's great! Perfect for all those fabulous printables. Thanks SO much! I'll be linking to this.

September 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

love the idea. perfect for all those pesky ideas that keep us up at night.

September 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbecky

My note reads: Cameron needs dishsoap!

September 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

Thanks for idea. Now I can reuse my scrap things

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThings

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