DIY: How to Stab-Stitch Bind a Chapbook
A companion to our special section on independent presses.
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and design the pages of your poetry or prose manuscript using steps 1 through 4
of the "How to Make a Saddle-Stitched Chapbook" instructions.
2. You should end up with all the
pages folded vertically in the center. Cut the pages along the center fold so
that they become individual pages (fig. A).
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3. Order the
pages chronologically, then clip the stack on the top and bottom with binder
clips to keep it in place. (Protect delicate cover stock with an extra sheet of
paper between the clip and the cover.) Score a line on the cover a half inch
from the bind edge (fig. B).
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4. Using an awl—or, if you're just practicing, a hammer and nail—punch
three holes, each a quarter inch from the spine edge: one in the middle, one a
half inch from the top edge, and one a half inch from the bottom edge (fig. C).
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5. Choose a
sturdy thread such as bookbinding thread (available at specialty stores), waxed
thread, or crochet thread—any kind that doesn't snap when you pull hard on its
two ends. Thread a needle and push it through the middle hole from front to
back. Then sew the thread around the spine, leaving a four-inch tail for a knot
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down to the bottom hole, around the spine, then around the bottom of the book
and back through the same hole (fig. E).
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7. Sew up to the middle hole
again, then to the top hole, around the spine, and then around the top of the
book (fig. F).
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8. Bring the
thread back down to the middle hole and tie off your thread (fig. G). Now that
you've made a basic stab-stitch binding, create your own
variations: For instance, put the holes closer together, use more or less than
three, or vary their placement for a zigzag look.