Bookbinding: Japanese books and boxes

Course Dates: 19/11/20 - 10/12/20
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street

Explore the beautiful variety of sewing patterns found in Japanese binding. Learn how to fold books, make a fold-out case, work traditional designs and experiment with creating your own. This course is suitable for beginners.

This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit


What is the course about?

Japanese binding is visually interesting and versatile. It is particularly useful for binding single sheets as the book is constructed using a stab stitch, where the cover and pages are pierced through from front to back and all sewn at the same time. Traditionally the bindings are based on four basic sewing patterns but there are many examples of contemporary stab stitch books which experiment with these patterns to create a wealth of exciting new designs. The traditional Japanese folding case (Chitsu) is an elegant and adaptable structure used to house the books which is constructed from board and paper or cloth and finished with toggles.

What will we cover?

We will learn how to fold paper, make paper strings to form the inner binding, make tissue and fabric corners and sew four traditional patterns. We will make a series of samplers experimenting with non-traditional patterns and then create books where you can design your own sewing style. Finally we will create a shiho chitsu, four-sided folding case to keep all your bindings in.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Sew multiple books in a variety of sewing styles
- Experiment with sewing patterns using samplers
- Construct and cover a four-sided folding case
- Use basic hand tools safely.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for beginners.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, hand-outs and for health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.
Please look at the rest of the course outline carefully to decide if you may benefit from support in your English and maths skills to help you to take part fully in this class.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught by demonstration, individual and group tuition. The course is structured to manage the work within the class but preparation or practice work may be carried out during the evening between classes if desired.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

All materials are included in the cost of the course and tools are provided. Please bring a sharp pencil, notebook and pen to each class as you might wish to make your own notes to supplement the course handouts. If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy.
You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

- VD327 Bookbinding: boxmaking
- VD435 Bookbinding for beginners: simple leather binding
- VD410 Beginning miniature binding
- VD316 Wooden boarded binding
- VD285 Bookbinding: cross-structure and crisscross bindings
Book arts
- VD354 Creative arts for bookbinding I: decorative paper techniques
- VD288 Book arts: experimental structures
- VD419 Experiments in paper folding.


Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

It is well taught. The amount of preparation done by the teacher was phenomenal.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 16/12/2018)
Great opportunity to make Japanese books and contemporary versions and finish off with a box. Well taught by an inspirational and engaging tutor, and all tools and materials supplied.
Course Rating
Review by Tony / (Posted on 15/12/2018)
Tutor Biographies
Sue Doggett Tutor Website

Sue Doggett is an artist who creates hand-made books and bindings. She gained a first class honours degree in Visual Studies and Art History from Oxford Brookes University in 1985 and an MA in Design from Brighton University in 1998. She received the World Craft Council Award for Contemporary Craft in 1994 and was elected a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 1996. She has lectured and led workshops in book arts in the UK, Europe and the USA and is currently teaching on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at Camberwell College of Arts and is a bookbinding and book arts tutor at City Lit. As an exhibiting Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, Sue works to public and private commission including the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and she is the current editor of ‘The New Bookbinder’ journal. Her work is represented in public and private collections in Europe and USA and can be seen at the Hyman Kreitman Research Library, Tate Britain; The Folger Library, Washington DC; Yale University Library, The Bodleian Library, Oxford; The Centre for Fine Print Research, Bristol and Manchester Metropolitan Museum.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: VD416

Thu, day, 19 Nov - 10 Dec '20

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £159.00
Concession: £100.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.