Blue Bathymetric Handmade Journal

Coptic stitch books ready to be sewn by Ruth Bleakley

These blue chart journals are always a huge hit at craft shows – before my Christmas fairs this year I made at least 10 and they all sold out! The bathemetry charts I used are underwater topography maps and show the elevation of the sea floor – the local NOAA office was going to recycle them but offered them to me first – of course I snatched them up!

I sewed the journals with a type of binding called chain stitch or coptic stitch. I’ve been doing this type of binding the most because I like that you can make the covers completely separately from the inner pages and just hold on them until you’re ready to sew them onto the filler pages with waxed linen thread.

Closeup of coptic stitching on a blue map book handmade by Ruth Bleakley Blue Bathymetric Chart journal handmade by Ruth Bleakley Nautical chart endpage on a blue map book handmade by Ruth Bleakley


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These are beautiful, I’ve been trying to make these myself. However they seem to be a bit floppy. Any advice for a beginner?


Hi Cheryl! My #1 tip is to use waxed irish linen thread, if you aren’t already – this will make a big difference in the “floppiness” – my second tip is to make more than one, it takes a little while to get the correct tension while sewing, but it’s something you can figure out if you try it out a few times. Good luck!


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