Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Turquoise handbag books

One of my first projects of the new year was to return to the "handbag" books. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a number of my Mum's old handbags and decided to turn them into sketchbook/journals. The purple bag only netted me one book (and lots of problems to solve!), but I figured I could make two books from the turquoise bag.


First I opened the side seams, removed the lining and zipper and loosely cut the usuable portions of the bag. I then did some measuring and squaring and made more exact cuts. These would provide soft covers for two books. They seem to be leather?


I ripped and folded some pale yellow paper and found some decorative origami paper to use as endpapers. Each book would have 100 pages and endpapers.


Additional items needed are large lion clips, pva glue & plastic card applicator, cardboard pieces to act a protectors between the lion clips and books, cotton thread, large-eyed large needle (a darning needle is ideal).


Because this particular handbag had folded features that I wanted to retain, I also required an additional thin paper (I have a roll of thin acid free rag paper which is ideal, but a regular bond or photocopy paper would also work). I cut to size and glued this paper to the inside of the covers. The result is bumpy, but it serves its purpose. I decided to cut extra pieces of this paper to wrap around folios and provide additional endpapers


I don't have a photo for the next step: the yellow papers and only slightly larger origami endpapers were wrapped by the longer white endpaper; the spine of the white endpaper wrap was glued to the spine of the paper bunch and left overnight. This paper grouping was then wrapped by the covers and lion clips placed as below. Markings where the binding holes would go were made using a marker and the holes were drilled (using a drill press).

The final step of binding is quite simple: thread from hole to hole in a basic Japanese stab binding technique (instructions here). I used the full six stranded thread, doubled while sewing and repeated; this means that every binding line shown here is 24 strands.


 Before xmas I had made some buttons in my ceramics workshop and decided that these made a nice additional detail on the handbag books.


I actually ran out of the green embroidery thread that I was using for binding, so for the second book I attached the button with some turquoise thread that was in my sewing box. For this button I simply threaded the needle under binding threads and through the buttonholes, tying knots without going through the binding holes of the book.


For the second book I decided to place the button near the bottom hole instead of the centre hole.