sewn boards binding

Inspired by a Peter Baumgartner tutorial that was doing the rounds on geeky bookbinding social media a few weeks ago, I decided to try my hand at a sewn boards binding.

Developed by Gary Frost, this structure relies on stiffened outer signatures that are sewn as part of the text block and function as the book boards.  There are some other really useful tutorials out there, the best of which is probably Karen Hanmer’s ‘Variations on the Drum Leaf and Sewn Boards Bindings’.  Look on Pinterest and you’ll find others.

once complete, this structure allows the pages to open flat which make it a good option for sketching and painting


the slim spine of book cloth gives this structure a modern look
more examples with variations on cover treatments


In the green example above, the cover paper was wrapped over additional board that creates a ‘dimensional panel’ to the covers.  How to do this is described in detail in Karen Hanmer’s paper.

One of the features of this structure is that the pages lie flat when the book is opened, and because the boards are not hard boards, the structure has a satisfying squashy feel as well as being lightweight.  Best of all, this structure doesn’t use the traditional casing in of the text block.  If you’re anything like me, that is the moment where everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

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