In a previous post, I told you about my exciting new book purchase--one on medieval Estonian bindings, written by Monica Langwe Berg. In her book, Monica recreates eight of these bindings (the originals are in an archive in the city of Tallinn, Estonia) with the idea of inspiring other bookbinders to create their own versions of these lovely old bindings.
I 've spent the last couple of days working out how I wanted to do the first binding (which Monica calls "Tegumentum subflavum"--any Latin speakers out there?). According to Monica, this binding dates from 1531, and was originally owned by Jesper Kappenberg. It was a "table of accounts for consumption taxes." Not a very exciting purpose! I thought it would be much nicer as a place to record thoughts and drawings. Here is a little bit about my process in making my own variation of Tegumentum subflavum:
First, I got the all-important cup of tea (in my favourite mug) and some tunes sorted out:
The cover is made from two pieces of leather sewn together lengthwise. I chose to use black and brown cowhide. I picked out a few possible thread colours (I use waxed Irish linen thread to sew my books). The red thread won out.
I made a paper pattern for cutting the pieces and marking stitching holes. I usually use a paper pattern when I'm working out a new design, since I always end up changing things. After I have a final design, I make a permanent pattern from matboard.
Next, using Monica's instructions, I set forth:
I used a backstitch to sew the pieces of leather together. It's funny that two things I thought were fun but not especially practical when I first learned to do them--typing and hand embroidery--have turned out to be very, very useful after all.
Then I sewed the pages to the cover (oop, forgot to take a photo of that part :)
This is a card showing the stitch that I used on the spine (it's the one at the top of the card). The first time I try out a stitch, I often work it out first on a card. Saves having to take the book apart over and over, because if I don't practice that stitch before assembling the book, mistakes most surely will be made. I got this tip from Abi over at EvilRooster.
Finally, I added a tie closure made with twined red thread. I learned to do this kind of twining last fall in a class I took from Dan Essig.
And at last here he is, Mr. Tegumentum subflavum: