DIY Saddle-Stitch bookbinding Tutorial for the Seamstress Workbook

Saddle stitch tutorial cover

Welcome to my tutorial on how to bind your Seamstress Workbook using the saddle-stitch (non-staple) method.  If you’ve just joined me, you too can purchase your own pdf copy of the Seamstress Workbook here.

There are many different versions of  saddle-stitch binding tutorials around and some great video’s on youtube that illustrate the process as well.  However, this is a very basic tutorial for beginners.  It is a lot less difficult than you might think and, as a home sewist, you will have all the equipment you need.

So, hunt around for:

Tutorial equipment saddle stitch

For the thread, I use waxed Irish linen bookbinding thread (available on Etsy) but you can also use embroidery floss.  The waxed thread does provide added strength and locks well when tying off.

Step 1.

Collate all of the pages of your workbook.  You should have one cover (printed on both sides), one end page (printed on both sides) and 10 worksheet pages also printed, the same, on both sides (or however many you decided).  Having folded each of these pages into A5 size, nest the workpages inside the end page inside the cover and align in the fold.  Should look something like this, when opened out flat again and looking from the middle of the book.

Workbook layout

Step 2.

Turn this bundle of pages over so that the centre of the book is facing down on the table, booklet is spread out A4 size.  And secure all the pages together with the clips so that the fold line of all pages (including cover) are directly sitting above one another.


Step 3.  Using pencil and ruler mark three points along the spine of the book; 1 inch from top, 1 inch from bottom and half way between these two points.  Using your pin/awl/sharp pointed object.  Make holes through these three points ensuring that you make holes through all paper layers and that you are piercing the spine at an angle that is perpendicular to the workbook (ignore the angle I’m going in at in my photo!), that is you want to go straight down through all the papers.  Ensure the holes are the same size as your needle/thread thickness and no larger.

Spine marks    DSCF6876         DSCF6878

Step 4.  Once you have made the holes in the spine.  Cut a length of thread and thread your needle, for this workbook around 22 inches is sufficient.  (A) Start by working from the inside of the booklet, sewing through the centre hole in the spine (B).  (C) Leave a tail about 4-6 inches long (on the inside of the booklet), bringing the needle through to the outside and then sew back through the top hole (D) coming back to the inside fold.

A DSCF6884

 B  DSCF6885

C   DSCF6886

D DSCF6887

Pull the thread through so that its sits flat against the spine of the book (E).  From the inside, your next stitch is going through the hole marked 1″ from the bottom of the book (F), back through to the outside of the book again.  And finally, back through the centre hole (G) towards the inside of the booklet (H).  You should end up with two stitches on the outside spine and one long stitch on the inside of the book.

E DSCF6889

F  DSCF6890-002

G DSCF6892-001

H DSCF6893

Step 5.  Remove your needle from the thread and tie a knot with the two tails of your thread, ensuring that the one long centre stitch is between your two tail pieces when tying (I).  You may like to tie a second knot.  When tying the knot, pull the thread taught so that both stitches sit flat against the spine of the book (J).  Tuck the tails (one up, one down) under the long centre stitch to keep them out of the way (K) in this photo I am using the needle to pull the thread under the centre stitch.  Cut the tails about 1/2 ” – 1 ” from the centre knot (not too short) (L).

I DSCF6895

J DSCF6902

K DSCF6897

L DSCF6899

Well done! You have finished binding your Seamstress Workbook.  Now…. Happy Sewing.

A place to record all your sewing projects and measurements.

Any problems/questions/comments please do let me know and I will try to help.


First Challenge – the ‘unfinished drawer’

So what better way to kick things off, and address my ‘fabric problem’, than a small challenge.  To tackle the most neglected drawer in my sewing room, the drawer of  ‘Unfinished Projects’.

These projects are in various stages of production; half cut-out, cut-out with some piecing, half sewn or just a pattern & some fabric grouped together…like an arranged marriage with a long engagement.

This is going to be one mighty challenge as some of these projects have been waiting a long time in that drawer  and I have been deliberately avoiding finishing them due to the excitement of making other things with fancy fabric.  So, what is in this drawer you ask? in no particular order…

Blackboard unfinished projects

and on closer inspection..


I have decided to begin with project number 8, a hooded vest for a friends’ son who just turned 2.  As this is a birthday present, I have some urgency to complete this project. I will document my progress, one project at a time here, so I am accountable to you.  No more buying gorgeous fabric until these ones are all ticked off, and even then I need to start ‘de-stashing through production’.

It’s going to be hard, have you got an ‘unfinished drawer’ too? why not join me on this one.

Some people collect cars, I collect fabric

How easy is it to buy beautiful fabric for a special project you may have in mind, or lets be honest, how common is it to simply buy gorgeous fabric for no reason at all other than to just have it!

Oh to glare at such pretty fabric in your ever growing stash!   I partly blame fabric designers for this – they are just too good at what they do.   But my addiction HAS to stop.  and I’ve been successful for… um, 4 days now.  I have this sizeable bookcase full of stunning, inviting and pretty fabric’s  all neatly folded up with nothing to do but sit and wait for their turn to be transformed.  It’s a bit embarrassing to have such a collection.  I cringe to think how much money is sitting there.  Most of them were purchased with a purpose in mind…it just hasn’t eventuated.

The stash

The stash


Cotton – beautiful in its end form and beautiful in its beginnings.

Cotton boll

Here goes, my first post at this blogging thing.  I’m hoping this adventure of learning doesn’t end up like the drawer under my sewing table – neatly out of the way but bursting with unfinished projects.  This blog is something I am committed to as I want to give back, participate and share like so many have already done for me.  Today’s image is one I took in November last year while in the south of Georgia.  I was delighted to find a cotton field pre-harvest.

Thanks for finding me and please do say hello, I would like that.