The Coptic format allows for a wonderful variety of pages, such as envelopes and fold-outs. The exposed links on the spine are as beautiful to look at as they are to touch.

The Coptic format allows for a wonderful variety of pages, such as envelopes and fold-outs. The exposed links on the spine are as beautiful to look at as they are to touch.

 

Coptic stitch 2 ways

Bookmaking workshop

EXPOSED STITCHING gives these books instant curb appeal. You will not find an example of Coptic stitch binding at your local bookstore or on a library shelf, unless you're in a rare books and special collections room. Yet this binding style is popular today for good reasons. This workshop explores two of the dozens of variations: single needle sewing along the spine and double needle sewing across the spine.

  • For 2 to 6 people, age 10 and better
  • $120 each
  • 6 working hours over 2 evenings
  • All materials included
  • Completing this workshop gives you access to Workspace Rental and tools associated with bookmaking.
  • Click here for the current workshop calendar, or to request a date, email us.

Wear comfortable shoes and work clothing. Dress for the weather: we are not air-conditioned and in winter much of the heat rises to the top of our 20-foot ceiling. Bring questions, your camera and a notebook to record your process.

What is Coptic sewing?

A NUMBER OF FORMS of this binding date back to the 4th Century. The sewing is exposed on the book spine in a chain pattern of tear-drop-shaped links, which makes it visually appealing to bookmakers and book users alike.

Because these spines are unsupported (no added tapes, mull, glue or other materials), they are flexible, which allows the inside pages to lie open perfectly flat. Covers are made flush so the book block will not sag when it is stored upright on a shelf.

Good to know

BECAUSE THEY OPEN FLAT, Coptic format books are especially useful as albums, as sketchbooks, and for recording recipes and assembly directions–any time you need both hands while keeping an eye on the page. Coptic stitch books are ideal as artists books and perfect for one-of-a-kind, made-with-you-in-mind gift books, either blank or pre-filled with memorabilia.

Taking this workshop grants you the opportunity to rent workspace and helpful tools and equipment for your own bookmaking work. You must supply your own paper, bookboard and binding materials. Click here for Workspace Rental options.

The covers of these Coptic stitch books feature a variety of exotic woods and embellishments such as beads, leather and fringed thread.

The covers of these Coptic stitch books feature a variety of exotic woods and embellishments such as beads, leather and fringed thread.

Since cover boards are built separately, they are often made of unusual materials like wood, metal, plastic, polymer clay, and so on. The text pages themselves can also be made of any combination of those same materials, as well as different colors, weights and types of paper.

Workshop content

  • Showcase of examples of single- and double-needle Coptic stitching
  • Discuss characteristics of the format, sewing materials and station placement
  • Fold text pages and create punching pattern
  • Prepare covers and drill or punch for binding
  • Measure thread and thread needle(s)
  • Hands-on stitching, adjustments to thread tension and tying off at start & finish.