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Button closures

One of my favorite closures uses a button and a ribbon.  It is so simple
that probably many of you already do it, but I decided to send it in anyway
because like Camellia I like an easy to operate closure and find ties way
too fiddly for something that will be used frequently.

The basic idea is a ribbon which wraps around the back of the book, comes
back around to the front and then crosses beneath the button on top and just
pulls down.  It is not necessary to wrap the ribbon around the button, just
slip it under and pull it snug.  To open the book you pull the ribbon up to
the left and out from under the button.  (Oh, for a picture!)

Sometimes I use antique buttons or buttons I make out of antlers, but often
I make buttons out of a bit of matboard and paper scraps.  On the back I
mark an X to find the center and then use a biology probe to make the holes.
They will come out neater if you start them from the back to get the
location but then flip the button over to finish so the extra board gets
pushed to the backside of the button.  Be sure when you glue on the paper to
do a tidy job of mitering the corners so you don't have little bumps that
will hang up the ribbon.  If it will be carried around a lot use a paper
that will stand up to abrasion.

Set the button in place on the front cover and mark the location of the
holes.  (Do this before you attach the endsheets if you don't want the knot
to show on the inside cover.)  Using a strong thread, sew the ribbon in
place, extending out to the left with enough to go around the back, across
the front to the button, and extend downward enough to grab on to.  I
generally use grosgrain ribbon which wears well.  Sometimes I use colored
weaving or crochet threads.  In that case I double them and sew through the
loop and also make a few wraps around the doubled theads to keep them
together before sewing the botton on.  Use your bone folder on the inside to
flatten the knot.  Sometimes I even put a bit of Japanese tissue over the
knot so it won't make as big a bump under the endsheet.

For a book with an exposed spine sewing you can sew over the ribbon where it
crosses the spine.  That looks really nice and it holds the ribbon in place
but still allows it to adjust.  Usually I make two slits in the back cover
and weave the ribbon through them to control it a little more.  Of course
you could also just sew the button on the front and attach the ribbon to the
back cover rather than having it go all the way around the book.  The end of
the ribbon is a natural for beads and a good sized bead with a nice feel
makes it even easier to grab onto the ribbon when opening the book.

There are some very clever buttons and button hole arrangements that are
used in clothing, but I found they mostly don't work well for books because
there is no flexibility to the covers to manipulate the fastenings the way
there is in clothes.

What a long description of a very simple technique!  Incidently, this really
does keep the book closed.  I use it on travel journals and music books that
travel around in my pack for weeks at a time.

Joyce Jenkins
Petersburg, Alaska

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