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.
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.
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.
I say it’s definitely easy, because I made this book with elementary-aged children this year and it was a blast!
Click on through. I bet you have most of this stuff already.
-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)
-2 lengths of thread (the length should be at least 2.5x the width of the cover)
-T-pin (or awl)
First, fold each piece of ‘pages’ paper in half.
Then open each piece of paper and stack them fold on fold, forming two eight page stacks.
Fold the cover strip in thirds. Since my piece is 12 inches, I made a mark to fold at 4 inches.
You can opt to estimate where the folds go or use the ruler to figure the thirds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next, put the needle through the hole between the clothespins, from outside to inside.
Thirdly, skip over the center hole and go to the bottom hole. Put the needle through from the inside to the outside.
Reunite the ends of the thread by pushing the needle back through the center hole.
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.
One side done! Now, repeat it all, starting with making sure the second stack of pages is lined up well.
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.