Awesome Handmade Books: French Link Stitch Bookbinding

Awesome Handmade Books - French Link Stitch Bookbinding Examples
So with so many bookbinding fans out there, I thought I would do a weekly roundup of some of my favorite handmade books out there on the internet, many of which I’ve conveniently rounded up on my Handmade Books + Journals Pinterest board.

This week: French Link Stitch Bindings! (it’s that lovely “X” stitch)

French Stitch Coptic Binding by Ruth Bleakley


French Stitching on Tapes by A Yen for Paper 


Coptic and French stitch - Magda RibeiroCoptic and French stitching on tapes by Magda Ribeiro


Pequenos Sketchbooks by Zoopress StudioPequenos Sketchbooks by Zoopress Studio

¬†Here it is IN ACTION! – traditionally the french link stitch is used when sewing onto tapes in a traditional case binding, it gives the book a little more structure, but isn’t usually visible. Today book artists have integrated it into coptic stitch bindings to great effect. Make sure you use waxed Irish linen thread for a coptic stitch book – you can find sewing instructions for coptic stitch in this great book How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith.

French link stitch looks more complicated than it is – you simply sew underneath the previous section, crossing in an “X”. You need at least 8 signatures for the pattern to show up.

French Link Stitch by SimonGoode

French Link stitching on tapes by Simon Goode

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7 comments to Awesome Handmade Books: French Link Stitch Bookbinding

  • Cynthia Schelzig

    Quite beautiful indeed….how a little thread and a beautiful stitch gets me everytime….geeeezzzz

  • These are great features Ruth, with lovely photos! I’ve used the link stitch before, but your coptic binding in the first photo has me baffled. Are you willing to share your secrets?

  • Hi Laura!

    Hmm, I did it ages ago – I think what makes it look different is that most times you see the french stitch being used, you only see it on 4 sewing stations, but my book has 8 sewing stations with link stitch! (or is it…four…confusing – in any case, the covers have 10 holes instead of the usual 6) – so they’re simply much closer together, and I think that exaggerates the “X” and makes it look like I’m jumping from signature to signature, but I’m not! As for starting…lol I have no idea what I did there!

  • You have some amazing books here! Im really trying to find some websites that have free tutorials on book binding could you let me know if you know of any? or maybe online videos?
    All the best
    Fallon x

  • Hi Fallon!

    You might want to check out Sea Lemon D.I.Y. on youtube – she does awesome bookbinding tutorials!

  • [...] along the sections in preparation for sewing and gluing them together using a technique called French Link Stitching, which produces nice X-shaped patterns along the spine of the book. The bound sheafs are then glued [...]

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