|The Coptic stitch is
incredibly versatile and is useful for those books which aren’t
cased-in or sewn through a leather (or other material) spine. To
prevent the holes in the metal from tearing the sewing thread,
eyelets are used.
Mark, center punch and drill 4 1/8”
holes in each piece of metal. (See images 1 and 2)
If you are making the soldered ‘Peter Pan’ project, the procedure is
the same as follows, but you are also drilling through layers of
copper foil tape and solder (NOT glass). I make up a template so
that I’m sure of the placement and then can use the same template to
poke holes in the text sections.
Use the eyelet tool and a heavy poly
hammer to install eyelets in each hole in both pieces of metal.
(See image 3) This should be done
with care, as it’s easy to break the glass. Several small taps are
better than a few hard ones. Also, support the metal on a ruler (or
some other 1/8” thick surface) and leave the glass hanging off. This
prevents the metal from bending as you hammer.
Now fold all the page of your book.
If you are using a book-in-sheets be sure to keep them in order and
oriented in the same direction. Nest them into sections. Between 4
and 6 pages per section is a good amount. Number your sections in
the top, right corner to help keep them in order and oriented.
Use the 4 holes in the book covers as
a guide to poke holes in the sections of the pages using a hole
punching cradle and an awl.
While sewing a multiple needle Coptic
stitch book you will repeat each step with each needle one at a time
before continuing on to the next step. Each thread (with 2 needles)
is used to sew 2 sewing stations. In this book you’ll use one thread
for 2 holes and then the other thread for the other 2 holes.
On each step, it’s important to drop
your needle to either the left or the right of the hole consistently
each time. It doesn’t matter if you choose the left or the right. It
only matters that you are consistent. It will make your stitches
look a lot more uniform.
Thread each of your 4 needles onto
the 2 pieces of thread so that you have 1 needle at each end of each
piece of thread. It is important that you have the needles an even
distance from each end of thread and that the tails are the same
From the inside to the outside of
section 1, pull each of the needles out each hole.
(See image 4) The thread should be centered between the 2
holes. From now on these directions will refer to one piece of
thread. Remember to complete each step with each needle before
moving on to the next step.
After coming out both holes sew
through the eyelets in the metal cover from the outside to the
inside (the needles will emerge between the cover and section 1).
Wrap the thread once around itself to
lock the stitch and then carefully tighten everything up.
Add section number 2 by sewing into
the holes immediately below the holes from which you initially
emerged. (See image 5)
Once inside section 2, cross the
needles and pull them out of each others’ holes (the needle that
originally went into hole 1 will now come out hole 2).
Lift 2 text sections and wrap the
thread around the link directly above the one you just came out.
Enter the holes directly below in
section 3. (See image 6)
Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 until you
have added all the sections.
Adding the back cover is similar to
adding the front cover. When you come out the holes in section 8 go
through the holes in the back cover metal from the outside to the
inside so that your needles emerge between the last section and the
Lock the stitch by wrapping around
the thread once.
Drop down and wrap the thread around
the stitch in the previous section (this is easier to do if you lift
2 sections rather than trying to force the needles between.
Re-enter the same hole you initially
came out in the final section. This will be a tight fit. Be patient
and do not force it.
Tie each thread on the inside of the
section to its mate on the opposite end of the same thread.
Cut the threads to about 1/2” or cut
them even closer and secure with a dab of Super Glue or
to compute thread length for a Coptic stitch book
This method isn’t foolproof but it’s a
reliable way to compute how much thread you need for sewing a
multi-needle Coptic stitch.
Measure the distance between 2 holes
Multiply the resulting number by the number of sections in the book
Measure the height of the spine (from the front cover to the back
Multiply the resulting number X 2
Add the results of steps 2 and 4 above
Multiply that number by 3
Add 6” for knots and comfort
For this 4-needle sewing, you’ll need
2 pieces of thread cut to the calculated length.
Image 1: Center punch where you want to drill (note use of template
Image 2: Drilling holes
Image 3: Setting eyelets
Image 4: Sew from the inside to the outside so that the needles hang
on the outside.
Image 5: Lock the stitch and add another text section
Image 6: After linking, add section 3.
Issue # 16
Christine Cox was a regular
contributor to ARTitude Zine. This article originally appeared
and is reprinted here with permission. Unfortunately ARTitude is no longer