Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hand Sewn Headband (for books)

I'm thinking of changing the way I post things on the blog. I have lots of projects in the works, and quite a few that are done and need to be posted, the biggest impediment being that there are lots of photos that need to be edited. I'm thinking that maybe if I made smaller posts I could make them more often. More frequent posts should mean more return visitors. Also, breaking a project down into smaller chunks and posting the progress shots as they are made might be easier than waiting for a project to be finished and then editing and collating all the pics and doing a big write up, then waiting for the next project to be finished. If you have an opinion as to which is better, bigger posts about completed projects, or smaller posts of projects in progress that come up more frequently, please leave a comment.

So, to try out the new posting format, here is a little snip of a project that is currently in production and almost complete.

I have two copies of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, by Scott Cunningham, that were misprinted and unsellable, so I am re-covering them with a custom hard case to showcase some covering and materials options for potential customers who may want me to re-cover their books for them. As the original book was a paperback, it did not have a headband (that little tab of cloth wrapped with colored thread at the top and bottom of the spine). I have no sources for bookbinding materials in my area, and the pre-fabricated headband I found for sale over the internet is a bit expensive, so I decided to make my own.

I started with a technique that I have seen mentioned on several websites and in a few YouTube videos (yes, people actually make YouTube videos about bookbinding techniques, and I thank them for it). I took a piece of black cloth, about 1.5 inches wide by 4 inches long, and coated one side with white glue. Then I laid a piece of black hemp cord (the kind hippies make bracelets out of) and laid it lengthwise across the middle of the strip of cloth, on the glued side. Then I folded the cloth over at the cord, and smoothed it down, using a bone folder to snug up the seal along the edge of the cord.

Now, the websites and videos I saw just leave it there, and I could have too. You just wait for the glue to dry, cut a piece off of the strip to the length needed and glue it into place at the spine of the book before it is cased in. But this time I decided to go the extra mile. I decided to hand wrap the headband in colored thread to make it look nicer and more authentic. I used a forest green embroidery floss, which I had to thin by a few strands, and using a needle, I hand sewed the headband, piercing just below the cord and wrapping the thread around the cord for the length of the strip (or until I ran out of thread). It was basically simple embroidery, just like my mother taught me when I was 7. A little tedious and a little time consuming, but not difficult at all.

After I had sewn as far as I could, making sure my stitches were evenly spaced and tight, I ran a very small bead of superglue along the bottom edge of the embroidery, so that it would not unravel when the headband was cut to length. I think in the future I might try putting a light coat of white glue along the cord edge and wrap/sew the floss over it. That would do a better job, but it might be too messy. I don't want to gum up the floss with glue as I sew.

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