DIY: Hand-Sewn Book – Dos-a-Dos Technique

July 10, 2013

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom

Last summer, I shared about my love of handmade, hand-sewn books in this simple sewn book tutorial. Making books can be a simple and easy project to do with children and you probably have all the materials you need at home already. Today’s sewn book, the Dos-à-Dos (pronounced doh-ah-doh), is just as simple and easy — but has cool twist.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Instead of just one book or signature (one set of folded pages), this Dos-à-Dos, from the French phrase meaning back-to-back, has two! It’s almost like two books have been sewn together.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

And they aren’t sewn in the same spot either. The cover is folded like a ‘Z’ and in each fold, a signature is sewn in.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

I say it’s definitely easy, because I made this book with elementary-aged children this year and it was a blast!

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Click on through. I bet you have most of this stuff already.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

-cover strip (my measurements – 12 inches long by 5 5/8 inches tall)
-pages, I used 16 (my measurements – 7 3/4 inches long by 5 1/2 inches tall)
-ruler
-pencil
-2 lengths of thread (the length should be at least 2.5x the width of the cover)
-T-pin (or awl)
-sewing needle
-2 clothespins

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

First, fold each piece of ‘pages’ paper in half.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Then open each piece of paper and stack them fold on fold, forming two eight page stacks.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Fold the cover strip in thirds. Since my piece is 12 inches, I made a mark to fold at 4 inches.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

You can opt to estimate where the folds go or use the ruler to figure the thirds.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

The two folds should make the paper look like a ‘Z’, or backwards ‘Z’. If you choose a paper with a pattern, know that the pattern needs to continue on both sides since both sides are visible. However, using a piece that is solid on one side and printed on the other would make an interesting dos-a-dos.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Take one stack of folded pages and tap it, making sure things are lined up. Place the spine of the stack of pages into one of the spine folds of the cover strip, it doesn’t matter which one. Make sure that equal amounts of the cover are visible at the top and bottom. Hold things in place with the clothespins.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Use the pencil to mark three sewing stations in the center of the pages. One is right in the middle, halfway down, halfway up. The top and bottom marks should be made about 3/4″ in from the cover edge. With the T-pin (or awl, if you have one), pierce through the sewing station pencil marks, making sure to hold the paper firmly to keep it from shifting.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Once the sewing stations are ready, thread the needle, leaving one long tail and one short tail of thread. This is not like sewing fabric. The thread should not be evenly set and no knots should be tied.

To begin sewing, push the needle through the center hole from the inside to the outside. Pull it and the thread through until 4″ or so remains. This piece will be used to tie with.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Next, put the needle through the hole between the clothespins, from outside to inside.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Thirdly, skip over the center hole and go to the bottom hole. Put the needle through from the inside to the outside.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Reunite the ends of the thread by pushing the needle back through the center hole.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

To complete the sewing, pull the ends of the thread taut and then proceed to tie a double knot or square knot on top of the long loop in the center. Putting the knot on top of the loop will keep it from getting snagged and pulled.

Trim the thread tails but not too close to the knot for fear of it unraveling.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

One side done! Now, repeat it all, starting with making sure the second stack of pages is lined up well.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Sew as many as your heart desires. It’s a great project for a rainy day and a perfect pre-vacation activity so everyone has a journal for the journey.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linda K July 10, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Hi Amy, this is great! Where do you source two-sided paper for the cover? I can never find it unless, of course, it is a solid colour. Also, is the cover strip card stock or just paper of a regular thickness?
Thanks!

Reply

2 Lizzi July 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

Right! I’ve been looking for a way to make my digital journal a real life journal. I can just print it out and sew it together… I wonder where I could get leather for the cover instead and if I could sew through that as easily as a paper cover?

Reply

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