Sewing Multiple Signature Pamphlets Into Binders
A multiple-signature pamphlet that is side sewn or side stapled can be punched or drilled and sewn into a binder using the 3 or 5 hole pamphlet stitch above. Also, the staples can be removed and the signatures sewn individually.
Multiple signature pamphlets that are sewn through the fold may be attached to a pamphlet binder with a secondary sewing to retain the ability of the pamphlet to open flat.
Check the original sewing to make sure it is sound. If the sewing needs to be repaired or the signatures are loose, follow the directions for sewing with link stitch prior to attaching the pamphlet to the binder.
Attach the sewn multiple-signature pamphlet into a binder using either the three hole or five hole pamphlet stitch as outlined in previous posts. Sew and knot each sewn signature separately so the sewing threads will be tight.
- For a 2 signature pamphlet – punch and sew each signature to the binder.
- For a 3 – 4 signature pamphlet – punch and sew the 1st and 3rd signatures to the binder.
- For a 5 signature pamphlet – punch and sew the lst, 3rd and 5th signatures to the binder.
THE FIVE HOLE PAMPHLET STITCH
The instructions for the five hole pamphlet stitch use a one signature pamphlet. The same sewing pattern can be used for items published as individual sheets of folded paper.
Sewing multiple signature materials into pamphlet binders is discussed in a separate post. Detailed instructions for placing and punching sewing holes are given in previous posts.
Measure a length of thread that is two times the height of the book plus 4 – 6”. Preparing the thread and needle is discussed in an earlier post.
- Starting on the inside of the pamphlet, insert the needle in sewing station number 3 and pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet, leaving a 2” tail inside the pamphlet.
- Proceed to sewing station number 2 on the outside of the pamphlet, and insert the needle into sewing station 2.
- Pull the thread to the inside of the pamphlet at sewing station 2.
- Be careful not to pull the tail out of the pamphlet at station 3.
- On the inside of the pamphlet, insert the needle at sewing station 1, and pull the thread to the outside. Be careful to pull the thread in the direction of sewing so it will not tear the paper.
- On the outside of the pamphlet, insert the needle in sewing station number 2, and pull the thread to the inside of the pamphlet.
- Go past sewing station 3 to sewing station 4 on the inside of the pamphlet. Insert the needle in sewing station 4, and . pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet.
- Proceed to sewing station 5 on the outside of the pamphlet. Insert the needle into station 5, and pull the thread to the inside of the pamphlet.
- Gently tighten the thread by pulling the thread in the direction of sewing.
- On the inside of the pamphlet, insert the needle in sewing station number 4, and pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet.
- Return to station 3 on the outside of the pamphlet, and insert the needle into sewing station 3.
Be careful not to pierce the thread already in sewing station number 3. The two loose ends of sewing thread should straddle the thread in the fold of the pamphlet.
If the sewing thread has been pierced, as the pamphlet is sewn, it will be difficult or impossible to tighten the threads before tying the knot.
- Tighten the sewing thread in the direction of sewing to remove any slack, and tie off the two loose ends with a square knot.
- Clip the threads to about l/2”.
THE THREE HOLE PAMPHLET STITCH
Choose the three hole stitch for fairly thin material that is less than 7” tall. A taller, heavier booklet should be sewn with the five-hole stitch. These instructions for the three hole pamphlet stitch using a one signature pamphlet. The same sewing pattern can be used for items published as individual sheets or side stapled.
Sewing multiple signature materials into pamphlet binders is discussed in a separate post. Instructions for placing and punching sewing holes can be found in previous posts.
Measure a length of thread that is two times the height of the book plus 4 – 6”. Choosing, waxing and locking thread onto a needle is discussed in the post on Preparing Thread for Book Repairs.
- Starting on the inside of the pamphlet, insert the needle into sewing station 2.
- Pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet, leaving a 2” tail inside the pamphlet.
- On the outside of the pamphlet, insert the needle into station number 1.
- Pull the thread through sewing station 1, being careful not to pull the tail out of the pamphlet at station 2.
- On the inside of the pamphlet, proceed to sewing station number 3, going past sewing station number 2.
- Insert the needle into sewing station 3 and pull the thread to the outside of the pamphlet.
- Gently pull the thread snug being careful to pull in the direction of the sewing so as not to tear the paper.
- Return to station 2 on the outside of the pamphlet. Insert the needle into sewing station 2.
- The two ends of sewing thread should straddle the sewing thread that runs the height of the booklet.
Be careful not to pierce the thread already in sewing station number 2. If the center thread is pierced, it will be difficult or impossible to tighten the threads when the sewing is complete.
- Pulling in the direction of sewing, take up any slack in the sewing thread and tie off the two loose ends with a square knot.
- Clip the threads to about l/2”.
Punching Sewing Holes in Pamphlet Materials
Center Folded Materials
For items that are center folded, a punching jig and signature cradle can be used. If a sewing cradle is not being used or if the material is loose pages, binder or bulldog clips can be used to hold the punching jig in place when the holes are punched.
To punch the sewing stations in a booklet and a pamphlet binder at the same time, position the booklet inside the binder and hold both in place with binder or bulldog clips.
Side-Stapled or Individual Sheets of Paper
NOTE: Pamphlet materials can be constructed of folded signatures, then side-stapled through the folds. It can be advantageous to remove the staples and sew the signatures together using the link stitch so they will open completely flat.
To punch sewing holes in individual sheets of paper or side-stapled materials, position the booklet in the binder and hold it in place with binder or bulldog clips.
Using a needle-in-a-stick or awl, punch the holes as close to the spine edge as possible making sure there is enough margin to hold the booklet securely in the pamphlet binder.
If the needle or awl will not punch the materials easily, try twisting while pressing down. Too much pressure can bend or break the tool.
When punching by hand, it can be convenient to punch into a piece of 1” styrofoam, available in most craft stores.
If the material is too thick to punch by hand, drilling is a possibility.
Remember to protect the work surface with a sheet of wood when drilling. When drilling materials, use a small drill bit, about the same size as the sewing needle. Small drill bits are available in hardware, hobby or jewelry supply stores. The drill chuck jaws of a standard drill may not hold small drill bits. Check the jaws of the drill chuck to see if all three jaws meet when it is completely closed. If they do not, the drill will not hold the smaller drill bits.
The Dremel Company markets a tool with a very small drill chuck to hold small drill bits. There are several models including one speed and multi-speed, drill chuck jaws that close tight or close loose. One model, a single speed drill, can be attached to a variable speed foot control (similar to a sewing machine foot control) so the operation and speed of the drill is regulated by the foot control and both hands are free to maneuver the tool. Dremel also sells a drill press which holds the drill in place.
Over the next few posts I will talk about methods of binding pamphlets, booklets or single pages of information into a solid covering.
Pamphlets or booklets are unbound material l/2” or thinner in spine width. These materials can be individual sheets or single or multiple signatures and can be sewn or stapled into a pamphlet binder.
The three or five hole pamphlet stitch is used to sew individual sheets or signatures into a pamphlet binder. Either sewing stitch works well on most center sewn or stapled materials and on side-sewn or stapled items up to 3″ thick.
Choose the three hole stitch for fairly thin materials less than 7” tall. A taller, heavier booklet should be sewn with the five-hole stitch. When in doubt, it’s better to use the five-hole pamphlet stitch.
Regardless of which stitch is chosen or the size of the pamphlet, the first and last sewing stations (1 & 3 or 1 & 5) should be no more than 3/4” from the top or bottom edge of the booklet and the center sewing station (2 or 3) should be in the center of the booklet.This placement of sewing stations gives the most support to the entire booklet.
Use the technique in a previous post for removing staples and use the original staple holes for sewing if possible so as not to punch additional holes in the fold of the booklet.
Spiral bindings can be reinforced for longer life. This technique was developed at the University of Michigan Library and uses a special product called Tyvek. Tyvek is strong, lightweight polyester “paper” that will not tear. Tyvek and PVA have a similar chemical makeup and bond very tightly.
Tyvek can be purchased through library, art supply and camping/bushwalking sources. When using recycled Tyvek, glue the print side down.
- Photocopy any information on the inside of the front or back covers.
- Trim the photocopies and hinge (click here for instructions) onto the text block.
- Cut two pieces of board: Height = exact height of the cover, Width = distance from the spirals to the fore edge minus l/4”
- Use a pair of utility scissors to slip three or more rings from the spiral binding: top, middle and bottom. The number depends on the size and weight of the book.
- Cut three strips of Tyvek a little narrower than the space left by the cut spirals, apply PVA, and thread the strips into the book.
- Apply PVA to both pieces of board, and attach to the inside of the front and back covers.
- Line up the board with the top, bottom and fore edge of each cover.
- A pastedown endpaper can be added to the board if desired.
- Cut the endpaper the same dimension as the board and glue to the board.
- Dry under weight.
Reinforcing Paperback Books With Commercial Clear Plastic Covers
Many library supply companies sell self-adhesive clear plastic cover
protectors to protect and reinforce paperback books. These plastic cover protectors may be a good solution for maintaining a paperback collection.
Remember that these covers are basically large pieces of plastic tape and should not be used on materials that cannot be replaced. The book cover cannot be bound into the volume at a bindery once a plastic protector has been applied.
Look for cover protectors that are very flexible. This is very important as the added stiffness of the cover can put a great deal of stress on the glue between the spine and the text block. Too much stress at the hinge can cause the cover to separate from the text block.
Many of these manufactured covers come with special tape used to reinforce the attachment of the cover to the text block. Again, any material used to reinforce the cover hinge needs to be very flexible. If this tape is not flexible, the first page of the book will not turn freely. If that page doesn’t turn freely, the page will crease along the edge of the tape and fall out.
How to Reinforce Paperback Books With Board and Japanese Tissue
- Open the book cover to its natural fold line and crease with a folder.
- Photocopy any information on the inside of the front or back covers.
- Trim the photocopies and tip (click here for instructions) onto the text block.
- Reinforce the cover hinge fold with a 1” strip of Japanese tissue. l/4” of the tissue should extend onto the text with 3/4” on the cover.
- Dry with the covers open under weight.
- Cut two pieces of thin board. The boards should be the exact height of the cover and the width should be the width of the cover minus l/4”.
- Apply PVA to one piece of board and lay it onto the text block GLUE SIDE UP.
- Line up the board with the top, bottom and fore edge and carefully close the cover. The board will be l/4” less wide than the text block so it will not sit flush with the cover hinge.
- Use a folder or a book press to press the board onto the cover.
- Repeat on the second cover and dry under weight.
Many of us have an abundance of paperback books. Unfortunately, many paperback books are not well constructed so they are often in need of repair.
It can be a poor use of your time, as well as extremely frustrating, to attempt to repair a paperback book that was not constructed to be repaired.
Paperback books that are constructed in single pages glued together can pose quite a problem for repair. Unlike the techniques used by library binders (double-fan binding with flexible glue), mass produced paperback books are not constructed for multiple use. They are not usually fan bound, and the glues that are used in their construction tend to be with fast drying, brittle glue.
Higher quality paperback books are constructed with sewn signatures that can be repaired just as hard cover books with signatures.
There are several options for those of us with large collections of paperback books.
- Small, thin paperback books can be housed in pamphlet binders.
- If a paperback book is considered part of a permanent collection, such as a reference book, reinforce it before shelving it or send it to a library binder before use.
- If a paperback book is projected to have a great deal of immediate use, but is not seen as part of a long-term permanent collection, give it minimal reinforcement and repair as possible. When the book has been repaired once or twice, either discard it or buy a replacement copy and reinforce or bind it for use.
- If a PB book is projected to have minimal use, give it minimal reinforcement and repair if possible.
Do not attempt to continually repair a book that is not constructed so that it can be repaired.