Friday, 18 July 2014

What is ...3 hole sewn?

What is ...Number 7
Regular followers of this blog will know that in the middle of the month, I publish a "What is ....? post. The article covers various aspects of paper, printing and finishing in greater depth. However, many of these subjects are complex, so these posts are only intended to be a brief introduction to the topic.

What is ...3 Hole Sewn?
Three hole sewn is a binding technique which goes back to the earliest days of printing and binding. It is a highly effective and strong binding method which can give a project a 'crafted' look and feel and by using a coloured thread it can add a further dimension to a piece of printed literature.

Three hole sewn projects have appeared often enough on this blog so that many of the pictures here are from posts on this blog:
Effectively this is a process which can be done entirely by hand - you quite literally just need a needle and thread (ideally a thicker 'twine' like thread). The picture below demonstrates the way it works - from the inside of the book you go out of the middle hole, up to the top hole in and along the inside and out of the middle hole again, down to the bottom hole and up to the middle again and tie a knot ...simple! 
Some binderies have adapted a sewing machine so that it can be produced as a 'hand operated, machine process'. In common with other binding methods where binding is through the spine, it's produced over a 'saddle' - so the book sits on an upturned V.
A stack of 'three hole sewn' brochures
The below picture shows a dummy made using red thread and using two 'banks' of three hole sewing. this is worth considering on publications with a longer spine - over A4 for example. The reason for this is that some movement of text pages can occur if it's only held, relatively speaking, in the middle.
Picture shows inside (below) and outside (above)
Below is a project using yellow thread and two 'banks' of three hole sewing.
Below is another project, where there is a smaller A5 section bound in the centre spread, so the 3 hole sewing (2 x banks) is not centred and is offset towards the foot.

One thing to bear in mind are that it is a binding method more suited to publications with less pages - depending on the materials used - 32pp is probably about the limit.
Posted by justin Hobson 18.07.2014

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