Ernst's Book - Part 1: Book binding

So, sometime back, around November I was asked to create an embroidered book cover as a commission project for Baron Ernst. I was given the instructions of it had to have an "E" on it and it couldn't be earlier than 13th century.

The supplies used in making this book are:
1/2 yard of silk burgandy dupioni
Silk Splendor twisted floss
1/2 yard of burgandy linen (for backing and strength)
Linen paper (a commercial brand readily available in stationary stores...or Walmart)
Linen thread (for the sewing of the signatures)
Book board
Decorative end papers
Coats and Clarks burgandy sewing thread
Binding tape

Tools used:
Exacto blade
Cutting pad
Sewing needles
Scroll stretcher frame (for embroidery)
Book press
Bone folder

Since my book binding experience is limited to soft leather bound books such as very early period styles, I turned to my friend Christine (Lady Markessa de Carvalhal) who is well versed and studied in this area. She was kind enough to instruct me. It was best to start with creating the text block for the book first.

After deciding on a size of 4x6 inches, I began measuring and cutting the pages for the signatures using an exacto knife and a ruler.

Folded the pages in half and made the crease sharp with a bone folder
Each signature is 10 pages and there are 11 signatures total in the book.

Viewed here is one completed signature.
All the signatures completed and together, ready for pressing.

Markessa, who has a wonderful book press made by her husband, placed it within the press and tightened it to get a nice flat text block.

Once out of the press, I could commence with sewing the signatures together. I used a kettle stitch.

When the stitching went over the folded edge of the paper, I stitched over the binding tape. When all signatures were sewn together, I glued down the tape to the outer pages and again, placed in the book press.

Next entry...starting the embroidery.


  1. This is WONDERFUL! I love how well-documented it is for pictures and such! I've always wanted to do a project like this and this is totally an inspiration. - Aneleda


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