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Coptic sewing



David,

Here are a couple of tips you might like to consider regarding your coptic
sewing. I do agree with Paula that it might be worth considering a more
supported sewing because of the physical properties of the book. But, just
in case you may find this of use:

You didn't mention the height of the sections, but if the book is very large
(tall?) you may want to add more sewing station pairs. It would give more
support if there is not more than 5 cm between the sewing stations. Coptic
bindings generally consist of two sewing station pairs, I believe, but you
may want to consider having three for example, even four is the spine's
height allows.
As to the thread, for the binding to look visually 'in balance' (with heavy
wooden boards and all) I would myself, use as thickish thread - how porous
is the paper? If the paper is on the 'soft' side, this will swallow much of
the thread's thickness. However, a good way to add support to the sewing is
that when you come to do the link under the previous section, you actually
do it two section down, so not the previous section but the one before that.
This means there is more thread linking each section and also produces a
thicker linkstitch pattern on the spine without swelling the spine from
inside. (Does this make sense in words?)
If you are making the coptic (Ethiopian, I think) headband from the book you
mentioned, you may want to add a strip of leather to run on the spine side,
under the tie-in stitches as this holds the sections nicely together in
addition to the headband thread itself. The leather strip is held in
position by the headband stitching on the wooden boards. This may not be
'original' coptic, but it's very discreet and gives a kind of neat visual
finish to the headband.

If my wordy explanation doesn't make sense, drop me a line and I'll scan in
some drawings that may show it better, and can send them as jpeg-files to
you.
Good luck!

Mia Leijonstedt

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