I made a gift for someone special. Even though I haven't mailed it yet, I think it will be safe to tell you all about it here. One of the skills I am trying to learn is book making. I like store-bought sketchbooks, but there is something very special about stitching one yourself to keep or gift. For this book, I tried out a case binding stitch that I learned from Little Book of Book Making by Charlotte Rivers. Although it is a traditional stitch found in many other books on book making, the directions here were easier for me to follow and understand.
I went against the rules a little bit and stitched the pages together through a paper cover (as opposed to stitching together a stack of pages and then attaching a cover). I don't really recommend it, though, because it is too difficult to get the needle under the previous stitches without damaging the cover. That being said, it was a fun experiment. The stitch was actually easier than I thought it would be, and quite fun. Plus, it's a fast way to bind pages together.
I can't help myself when it comes to little details. For this book I tore all the exposed edges to get a more interesting, old-world look, but with a bright yellow cover that feels more modern.
And no sketchbook is complete without a leather case to hold the book and store pens, pencils, and eraser. The cover is a split veg tan hide that I got for another project (which failed miserably). The dark leather is brown suede from a pair of boots I cut apart some years ago. All the pieces were sewn together by hand with a sewing awl. It's a great tool, but very, very sharp.
As a final detail, I added the initials of the recipient (shhh, don't tell him!). The art-deco-style letters were burned into the leather using a wood burning tool. I considered covering up the stitching on the outside cover, but decided the subtle, rustic look was better than any facade I could put on.
Have you ever tried your hand at making a book? Are there any tools that you you have found particularly helpful or essential to the process?