Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sewing a Signature

Technique Tuesday
Sharing my tutorial and YouTube video
Sewing a Signature

Craft pick or needle awl
Card stock
Paper trimmer
Blunt needle size 18-22
Wax  Linen Thread [found in jewelry department at your local craft store]
Clothes pins or clips
Scoring tool

Use paper trimmer to cut 9 pages 5 1/2" x 11"
use Martha Stewart scoring board to find center of each page
or use ruler and bone folder
Each folded page measures 5 1/2" x  5 1/2."

Make a Template with a piece of card stock 2" wide and 5 1/2" tall, score, fold and punch a hole down the middle of each X on template. Mark with Top; see example above.
[If you look close, you can see score lines. You don't have to do that, just balance the punches with six holes.
Place the Template over the valley fold of each set of signatures and punch 6 small holes with needle tool or awl. Place a pencil mark on each stack of signature the a T for top near the mountain fold stack. Later it can be erased. Do the same with each stack of signatures. [if you are sewing a large book of signatures, you may find holding the template with clips or clothes pins really helps.]
Make 3 signatures with three papers. If using thin paper you can add more pages, if using watercolor paper you might have to drop down to two pages.
Cut waxed linen thread 19 inches. Waxed linen thread comes in a variety of colors.
Thread your blunt needle with linen wax thread, use single thread and do not knot end.
As a general rule I sew five or more signatures but for this class 3 pages with 3 signatures.
The color of paper used in the video was used just to show the placement sewing the signatures.
Sewing Signatures
Insert threaded needle with single thread into valley fold of one stack of signature, leave a tail of thread 1 1/2." outside of signature, press down and hold thread with other hand. Bring the thread out of the second hole, in the third hole and out the fourth in the 5th hole and then out the 6th hole; you are lacing the first set of signatures together. [It looks like I'm leaving a loop in the example below, it's just an example of how the thread goes in and out.] At the end gentle pull the thread but not too much as it might cut into the paper.

First Signature

Pick up another set of signatures, place it next to the first stack with hole exactly the same; make sure the T marks are the same end. With the threaded needle go straight across from the first signature into valley fold of second signature, come out of the second hole and then into the first signature, come out the third hole in first signature and into the third hold in second signature, come out of the fourth hole in second signature and into the hole on the first signature, out of the fifth hole in the first signature into the fifth hole of second signature, out of the sixth hole and tie with single loop knot using the thread tail you started with, don't cut, and then pick up the third signature, go into valley fold of first hole of third signature and come out the second hole of third signature, go into second signature to valley fold and in and out as you did for the second signature, you should come out at the mountain fold at the third signature and insert the needle into the second stitch with a single over hand knot  or kettle stitch and tie off to finish.
The threads left can be tucked in or cut close. I generally leave the thread about 1" long and press to center of book. With the technique the signatures will not be seen when you add a cover.

Sewing a Signature
I'm working on a cover to share next week! See you then!



  1. Fabulous Tutorial. Thank you for sharing this. I'm going to for sure try this.

  2. Thank you for sharing I was dying to learn how to do that.


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