Bookbinding: limp vellum binding

Course Dates: 28/07/23 - 30/07/23
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
This course will introduce you to the techniques for making a flexible and versatile limp vellum binding and equip you with the skills needed to produce a beautiful binding of your own. Some bookbinding experience required.
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Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £151.00 Concession £123.00

Course Code: VD357

Fri-Sun, day, 28 Jul - 30 Jul '23

Duration: 3 sessions

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.

What is the course about?

Vellum is a beautiful and durable type of calfskin or goatskin used for bookbinding. This intermediate course will teach you how to make a limp (flexible) vellum binding, which will last a lifetime. Learn how to make a beautiful, historically accurate limp (flexible) vellum binding from scratch. The book will be sewn on leather thongs, which lace through the vellum cover, attaching it to the book block. Some bookbinding experience essential.

What will we cover?

You will be taught how to sew the book onto thongs, (on a sewing frame) using a packed sewing technique. You will then round and line the spine, sew plain, wrapped end-bands (head-bands) before being shown how to fold and prepare the vellum for the cover. You will be taught how to attach the book to the cover and shown how to make yapp edges and fore edge ties.

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

- Sew a book onto thongs using a packed sewing technique
- Use a sewing frame
- Round and line a spine
- Sew plain wrapped endbands
- Fold and prepare vellum
- Attach a book block to a vellum cover
- Form Yapp edges and edge ties.

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

The course is aimed at intermediate learners. You should know how to identify grain direction and should have experience in sewing books onto tapes or cords. You should be able to measure, cut and fold accurately.

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

You will be taught as a group by demonstration and instruction. Individual tuition will be given as required.

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

Please allow £35.00 to cover the cost of the vellum and other materials.
The classroom has some basic tools available but it would be advantageous if you could bring any of the following:
Craft knife or scalpel with 10A blades.
300 mm (12") steel rule.
A set square
A fine, pointed bonefolder or a metal folder
A pair of small dividers
A pricking cradle (if you have one)
Darning needles (say, a packet of sizes 3-9 Millward darning needles).
A thin, pointed bodkin/pricker/awl for making small holes for sewing.
A small, flat, hog’s hair brush (approx. 1cm wide)
A small, clean stencil brush
A small pair of scissors.
A Japanese screw punch (if you have one)
A cotton apron.

Need art supplies? Our partner London Graphic Centre has everything you need from pencils to printing services, at 15% off.
To get an LGC discount card, students will need to show proof/ confirmation of enrolment of them being a student at City Lit. You can apply for our card in-store or by simply emailing with a scan or photo of relevant confirmation. The student discount does not apply to products that are already discounted or on offer. More information can be found here-

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

- VD434 Bradel binding
- VD316 Wooden boarded binding
- VD360 Endband extravaganza
-VD251 Working with leather: decorative techniques
- VD251 Working with leather: decorative techniques
- VD285 Bookbinding: cross-structure and criss-cross binding
- VD338 Paper marbling.

Kathy Abbott Tutor Website

Kathy Abbott served a four-year apprenticeship in bookbinding and then gained a Higher National Diploma from the London College of Printing, London (UK) followed by a BA (Hons) degree in Bookbinding from Roehampton University, Surrey (UK). She teaches advanced level Fine Binding and Bookbinding: Intermediate and Higher at the City Lit, London and conducts many other workshops across the UK and overseas. Kathy opened her own bookbinding workshop in London in 1997, where she specializes in Islamic book conservation, western book conservation and contemporary fine binding, and is also a partner in Benchmark Bindery, established in 2009 with Tracey Rowledge, to produce high quality and intelligent bookbinding work. She is a founder member of Tomorrow's Past, an international bookbinding collective and is the author of Bookbinding: A step-by-step guide, published by the Crowood Press in 2010. Her work is held in both private and public collections and her work is exhibited widely.

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.