Saddle-Stitching Your Booklet with Needle and Thread

7 Jul

Hello, you!

I’m going to pick right up where we left off yesterday with a way to bind your booklet with needle and thread. Though both of the methods I’m showing you are called a saddle-stitch, this way is the genuine item that has just fallen by the wayside. We’re bringing it back, though, right?

So here we go. You still have your paper and cover so let’s fold it together nice and tight to get ready. Now, you should probably buy a big, sturdy needle with a nice-sized eye. For mine, I used a tapestry needle to pierce the card stock and notebook pages. If you can find it, waxed thread is the absolute best for this project. It doesn’t fray, resists tearing on the rough paper, and the knot/bow will last forever. However, if your local craft store doesn’t stock it (and most don’t) just pick a thick thread in a color/style that matches your cover. I had some golden, rope-y thread leftover from the booklet I made this weekend so I’m reusing it again here. Thread your needle and make sure you have some spare trailing. There will a bow or knot in the middle of your binding when all is said and done so also decide if you want that bow on the outside (on the spine) or inside (in the gutter).

Now open your booklet to the very middle page. Nothing else has to be precise but you’ll need to start this process from the middle every time or some of your pages won’t stay in place. Poke your first hole somewhere in the middle. (Note: There are actual hole-pokers available for threading books and they look like little screwdrivers with a sharp point but I haven’t seen them in craft stores and you would probably have to order one. If you’re having trouble with the needle, grab a thimble or use some other way to shield your finger while you push it through. I just used a blanket.)

The picture above starts the hole from the inside and that’s what you want to do if you want your bow on the inside too. If you want it on the outside, poke your hole from the outside in and follow my instructions in the same way, just on the reverse side.

Now pull your thread through and go up and to one side. Make a second hole and pull through.

You don't have to make your holes symmetrical for this method so make it anywhere you like.

For your third hole, go all the way down to the other end and punch through. If you’re following me correctly, this will pull one long thread down the length of the book either on the inside or outside.

Okay, this picture is before it’s pulled tight but it shows you where to poke on the other end from your second hole.When it’s pulled all the way through, it’ll give you that long string in the middle I was talking about.

Now you’re back on the side you didn’t start with and for your fourth and final hole, you’re going to push the needle back through your middle hole and pull tight. So in the end, one side will have the look of one long string and the other will look like two sections interrupted somewhere in the middle.

See? Now you should have two ends of your string coming from the middle hole on the side you started with.

Cut both ends to an appropriate size depending on if you want a bow or knot and just tie them.

And you’re all done! So you’ll have some kind of tie in the middle of your book but on all the other pages, you’ll just see little dents where the string runs through.

And this is actually a pretty sturdy way to bind your booklet and looks infinitely more personal than staples.

Give it a crack! I swear it’s addicting.


2 Responses to “Saddle-Stitching Your Booklet with Needle and Thread”

  1. One Second Needle July 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    Thank you for sharing how to create this kind of stitch. Does this create a good template for an invitation over a booklet?

    • Intrepid Girl July 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi, there! Do you mean stitching an invitation as the cover to a booklet? Or are you asking if this would better used for an invitation than for a booklet?
      I think that either are possible as long as you’re mindful of your page dimensions and layout. If you were to use an invitation of some kind simply as the cover and the pages inside were unrelated, I would think the usual portrait orientation would work for the booklet. If you wanted to stitch together an entire invitation and associated pages (like directions, details, itineraries) you could also format the pages to a landscape orientation and they would be tent-style booklets. The great thing about stitching by hand is that not all your pages need to be the same size. If you wanted to create a cascade effect (with the largest page being the first and the smallest being the first when opened to the center) you would just align your holes with the smallest pages to ensure that all pages had three holes.
      Really, this stitching method is very versatile and can be used on a variety of projects with equally effective (and cute!) results.

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