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Coptic Stitch

(The book above is currently available in my Etsy Shop)

This book is a coptic book made to look like a Japanese Stab binding. Because it was made as a wedding gift, I wanted it to open flat the way a coptic opens, but because the bride and groom had both spent time in Japan, I wanted to style it as a Japanese binding. The solution was to have Japanese-style stitching through the board as ornament, but not through the actual text block.

(The book is available for sale at my Etsy Shop)

34 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindsey permalink
    May 7, 2008 1:01 am

    your blog is beautiful!
    I’m addicted to looking at pictures of your work,
    I don’t know why I haven’t seen any of your stuff before, I feel silly for never asking, everyone said your books were brilliant.

  2. lilbooks permalink*
    May 7, 2008 8:13 am

    Lindsey, you’re so nice! This is fun to be able to share photos with people.

  3. May 18, 2008 7:05 am

    You are so talented, I love looking at your work. I can have hours of fun trying to work out how you do some of these bindings :)

  4. dianavelia villa permalink
    July 25, 2008 4:03 pm

    omg… your work is beautiful. is there any way you might be able to give me some tips on how to create one of those books?

  5. lilbooks permalink*
    July 25, 2008 4:11 pm

    Thank you! I might get some tutorials up eventually, but for now I’m unable to find the time. Sorry! :(

  6. Tawn O'Connor permalink
    September 1, 2008 1:33 pm

    Excellent work–beautiful books that are a joy to examine. Congratulations. tjo

  7. Cara permalink
    September 3, 2008 6:34 pm

    What creative, fun, beautiful work you do! Thank you for posting to the Book Arts list – – I’m inspired by your work.

  8. diva t permalink
    April 22, 2009 5:39 pm

    OH MY LORD! You the bomb!…….Im jealous!.. i also do a ton of bookbinding.

  9. Lyndsey permalink
    July 13, 2009 9:38 am

    These are absolutely stunning! I just recently got into bookbinding and find this to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing books around!

  10. November 5, 2009 2:23 am

    Excellent and beautifull work
    Dirk from Belgium
    Bookbinding Facebook Dirk Demeulenaere

  11. December 3, 2009 8:43 am

    çok güzel,very nice

  12. December 14, 2009 3:48 am

    WOW I love staring at your books. I found you by googling how to do coptic binding as I want to do it myself. Any tips on good site for guides on how to.
    Your work is just SO gorgeous! I’m jealous – I want to start learning NOW!!!

  13. February 5, 2010 5:47 pm

    congratulations from argentina!!! beautiful work!

  14. March 28, 2010 9:58 pm

    Your blogs is FENOMENAL !!!. Congratulations from Costa Rica. Rafael Angel

  15. theonceglamourouspandora permalink
    December 9, 2010 6:47 am

    Hi Lily!!

    Your coptic binding variations on your leather books with the criss cross patterns dropped my jaw! They are STUNNING! I am binding a book right now and would love to achieve a similar effect, but after hours of staring I don’t feel like I’ve figured it out! Is the crisscrossing part of the stitching, or woven into it later on? Your help would be so much appreciated, it’s a very special book I’m making for someone:)


    • Lili permalink*
      December 9, 2010 10:33 am

      Hi Pandora,

      Yes, the criss-cross is part of the actual sewing. The Coptic stitch I used had one needle for each hole. When I came out of each (or every other, depending on how close you want the criss-crosses to be), I jumped over to the neighbor hole (to create the X). I wish I could be more specific, but it’s difficult to describe bookbinding procedures–it will only work if you’re using the traditional coptic stitch, and not simplified stitch…

      good luck!

      • theonceglamourouspandora permalink
        December 9, 2010 5:16 pm

        Hi Lily!
        Thank you so much for the quick reply!
        Is the simplified stitch the one needle stitch? On the inside of the book will there be two threads running the length between the holes? This type of visualization has never been my forte! Hahah! I’m sure I will figure it out with enough practice!

  16. jim permalink
    August 14, 2011 5:20 am

    what type of thread is good for coptic binding??

    • Lili permalink*
      September 20, 2011 1:51 pm

      I typically use waxed linen thread. You can buy it from suppliers such as Talas. I prefer to remove most of the wax by ironing the thread between blotters first, so that the wax isn’t overbearing.

  17. Rob permalink
    November 29, 2011 11:38 am

    Hello Lili i am a amateur bookmaker and i wanted to let you know i have spent the past hour looking at your work and it is simply amazing. It has truly inspired me for my final project for my bookbinding class.

    • Lili permalink*
      November 29, 2011 12:39 pm


      Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I’m glad you were inspired, and I’m curious to know where you are studying? Good luck with your final!

  18. Rob permalink
    December 6, 2011 1:46 pm

    I study at Marshall University In Huntington, WV.

  19. Jan Stamos permalink
    March 16, 2013 3:43 pm

    Beautiful work! Do you have a suggestion for binding a number of coverweight pages together so that the spine looks at least as good as coptic stitching? Since I don’t have signatures, I can’t do coptic. I have six pieces of 6 x 6 bookbinding board. Thanks for any advice.

  20. March 16, 2013 8:02 pm

    how do you do the Coptic stitch though?

  21. Margaret J. H. Shaw permalink
    July 23, 2013 11:25 pm

    I know this is kind of unusual but I have a novel that I have almost completed. I will have it online first before paper print. I have always desired for a book like those you have above in my library and I thought that maybe you could either help me figure out how to make my book like that (typed) or make one for me if I sent a copy of my novel to you.

  22. July 30, 2013 10:17 am

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that
    it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Many people will
    be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  23. Tammy permalink
    October 25, 2013 11:53 am

    Oh my gosh! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!! Such an inspiration. I’m creating my first coptic stitch book, can’t wait! Thank you for showing us your work.

  24. Patricia Neri permalink
    February 21, 2014 6:21 am

    Wonderfull! Patricia Neri, Brasil

  25. March 19, 2014 2:49 pm

    Beautiful work! I love the coptic stitch binding. And you’ve definitely added the artists touch!

  26. September 29, 2015 3:30 am

    Beautiful work!

  27. June 19, 2016 8:52 am



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