Sewing Single Sections

Illustrating with a six-hole section

Eight sections sewn with red threads
Eight sections sewn using red threads ~
Each section has been treated separately as singles

Sections ~ or signatures as some people call them [110339] ~ can be individually sewn with any number of holes. Frequently an odd number of holes is used ~ but any number greater than two works with the method shown below.

The pictures illustrated here ~ unusually ~ treat each section singly. Normally when making a multi section book the sections are linked together in a variety of ways ~ which makes things a little more complicated. I have used red thread in the topmost picture and yellow in illustrations below [125545].

Sewing a single section ~ before the thread is prepared
Before the thread is fully prepared

The thread here has been unwound from a small reel. It has preserved some of it coil. This can be straightened out by running it across the edge of a folder ~ or better still by running the thread around a beeswax block [115028] The thread is less likely to cause tangles if it is straightened and stiffened with wax. For some reason I did not do it on this occasion.

If you are wondering about the little leather strip there is an explanation [127066].

Tap the sections down to ensure that all the holes are aligned ~ as they were when the awl was being used. Keep a firm grip on the leather strip and from the valley of the hinge pass the needle through one of the near-central holes. It helps to leave five or ten cm of thread for knot tying ~ later.

The first stitch
The first stitch

From now on ~ for a while ~ work the needle in ~ or out ~ of the next adjacent hole ~ moving in the same direction until you reach the end. At that stage turn round and work ~ in and out ~ until you reach the first hole you started with. Skip over this hole ~ making a double length loop. Then continue in and out until you are about to go through the lasthole - which was also the first ~ from the outside to the inside. At this stage ~ carefully ~ pass the needle onto the other side of the loop ~ illustrated in the two pictures, below.

Preparing to make the final knot
Preparing to make the final knot

Detail of preparation for tying-off the end of the thread
Detail from above ~
The thread held by thumb is 'under' the loop of thread ~
the needle is passing 'over' the loop

Tie a reef knot using the two threads ~ making sure that they trap the loop of thread between them. The next picture shows the first half of the reef knot about to be pulled tight.

Tying-off the end of the thread
Tying off the end of the thread ~
Half a reef knot is being tied ~
The curly spare thread is a bit unprofessional

Detail of tying-off the ends threads
Detail from above ~
The long loop is about to be tied around ~ it is not easy to see

Once the reef not is tied the ends can be snipped off neatly ~ job done.

Finished reef knot
The finished reef knot ~
Slice through the ends of the thread

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Last updated 2021~0510
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