How a Thread Sewn Book Is Made

How a Thread Sewn Book Is Made

Read Time: 4 Minutes


18 Dec 2023

What Are Thread Sewn Books?

Thredsewn refers to the binding method used to combine and secure the pages. The pages are sewn together using a durable thread. This classic binding technique is one of the oldest forms of book binding, which remains to have the highest level of durability and quality. Thread Sewn binding, printed in sections before being sewn and glued, is the ideal binding option for books with a high page count or where durability is a must.

If you’re looking for a book that speaks volumes for your business, thread sewn book binding is the perfect choice. Expertly crafted using traditional stitching techniques, the durability and elegant aesthetic make thread sewn books a sought-after option for those who want to leave a lasting impression. Thread sewn books are a top choice for anyone seeking hard cover books and high-quality publishing. 


Our thread sewn books come with two cover options;

Soft cover:

Our soft cover thread sewn books form an exceptionally secure, robust, and flexible books that look and feel incredible. Complete with a soft cover, this option is perfect for simple yet sophisticated print jobs.

Hard cover:

Sharing the same great qualities as our soft cover thread sewn books, our hard cover book printing features a luxurious 2500mic board hardback complete with a 150gsm matt lamination cover for a sleeker yet even more durable finish.


How Are Thread Sewn Books Printed?

Thread sewn books require everything from intricate stitching to durable glueing. That’s why we have a team of book binding experts on hand to distil their years of printing experience into your next project.


The Printing Process


Step 1: Pre-Press

At instantprint, we understand that books are complex, requiring true attention to detail. Before sending to print, our skilled studio team will get to know your artwork, checking the specifications in detail and preparing your file for print using our rigorous and free 10 point artwork check.


Step 2: Printing

Machines: Nanographic, Litho and Digital
Your design will be sent down to our factory where our skilled operators will begin printing your design onto your chosen paper stock. Here, your inner pages will be printed as well as your cover.

In our factory, you’ll find the best of the best when it comes to our equipment. Printed on our state-of-the-art machines, your book’s artwork is brought to life.


Step 3: Embellishment and Lamination

Machine: MGI JETvarnish / Autobond Laminators
At this stage, if you have opted for any embellishment or lamination on your book’s cover, this will also be added.

Utilising our MGI JETvarnish, this machine can add spot UV or foil to your book’s cover. If you need premium-looking print, this is the machine to thank. You can read more about spot UV and foil in our blog here.

For lamination, our Autobond Laminators are able to offer a range of solutions from matt to gloss. The heated chrome rollers of our Autobond Laminators help create a strong smooth seal to both sides of your print in one pass. Learn more about lamination and the different types in our blog here.


Step 4: Folding

Machine: Heidelberg Stahl Folder
When your design has been printed, the folding process begins on our Stahl BH56 folding machine.

With thread sewn book printing, the interior pages are counted in multiples of four to ensure that your book isn’t left with any blank pages when bound together, which is why, on our website, you’ll find that the number of printed pages you can choose from go up in multiples of 4.

With thread sewn binding, your paper is printed in 8, 12, 16 and 32 page signatures depending on your book's total page count.

A signature is a configuration printers use to lay out a book’s pages on a press sheet so that after folding they are in the correct order. A press sheet refers to the full-size sheet that is fed into our printers where multiple designs or jobs are printed before being folded or cut.


Step 5: Hard Cover Endpapers

If you opt for a hardcover book, at this stage, we will add endpapers. These are added to the first and last sections of your book as this is what secures the casing to the book's binding edge when bound to the cover.


Step 6: Gathering

Machine: Kolbus KM600
Once the signatures have been folded they are then gathered in the correct order, ready to be bound together. The signatures are collated and gathered in order, on our Kolbus KM600. Once all of the signatures are collated in order, this forms a book block, ready to be sewn.


The Binding Process


Step 1: Sewing

Machine: Muller Martini Ventura Section Sewing Machine
Carried out by our industry-leading stitching machine, the collated pages are sewn together using cords or tapes which run across the book’s spine. They are visible on the open spine but will be hidden once bound to the book’s cover later down the line.

Initially, holes are made in the signature from below using punch needles. The sewing needles then pull the thread through alternate holes with a burst of air, forming a loop in the slotted lever. The hook needle catches the loop, and both the hook needle and sewing needle simultaneously pull the thread up, resulting in the creation of a thread chain.

Our thread sewn manufacturing process utilises the Muller Martini Ventura MC200 combining perfect thread sewing with the highest production performance, this machine can easily build books with spine lengths ranging from 120 to 510mm.


Step 2: Binding

Machine: Kolbus KM600 Perfect Binder
The sewn book block is then sent to the Kolbus KM600. For thread sewn books, the milling is turned off and only adhesive is applied to the book block ready for the cover to be applied. The adhesive we use for our thread sewn books is Kleiberit 743.7 EVA adhesive.


The Finishing Process


Soft Cover

Machine: Kolbus KM600 Perfect Binder
With the finished book block sewn and glued the cover can be added. For our softcover thread sewn books, a soft cover is added to the outside of the trimmed book block using wet glue to create the finished product. The cover and book block are fed into the KM600 binder where the cover is creased upon entry and the book block is then glued into the spine.

Once the adhesive is dry, the book is then sent along the conveyor belt to the attached inline trimmer. The finished book is trimmed along three sides to ensure the final pages are neat and consistent. The Kolbus KM600 has its own three-knife inline trimmer for maximum efficiency when binding and trimming the final finished book.


Hard Cover

Machine: Kolbus Case Maker DA 260 and Kolbus BF513 Casing In Machine
If you have opted for a hardcover book, your book block inners, like a soft cover book, are sent along the conveyor belt to the attached inline trimmer on the KM600 where the inside pages or ‘book block’ is trimmed along three sides to ensure the final pages are neat and consistent.

With the finished book block trimmed, the cover can be added. 

For our hardcover thread sewn books, a few more steps are involved. If you opt for a hardcover, your book will be attached to a 2500-micron greyboard where we will cover your book's front and back pages as well as the spine. We will add endpapers to the book block and then securely glue the casing to the book's inners.

  1. The greyboard, the material that makes the cover hard, is guillotined to size. The greyboard hardcover will be slightly larger than your specified inner size such as A4, usually 3mm to ensure the cover is attached correctly.
  2. The greyboard and cover are brought together using our Kolbus Case Maker, where the hardcover is created.
  3. The finished case or ‘cover’ is then fed into our Kolbus casing in machine along with your existing book block where the hardcover is then attached to the book block via the endpapers using glue.

Endpapers are the first and last sheets of paper in a book and are what attach the book block to the cover.


Final Checks

Once complete, our expert team will take time to check over your finished product to make sure it meets our high standards. We’ll measure your book on every side to ensure accuracy after trimming as well as checking that all of the artwork is in order and all images and text are lined up.

Your booklets will then be sent to our dispatch team who will carefully package your print ready to be collected by our couriers and shipped to your business.



What Machines Are Thread Sewn Books Printed On?


Nanographic Printing - Landa S10P

When printing thread sewn books on our silk and uncoated stocks, it’s likely that we’ll use the Landa! We’re the proud owners of the UK’s first nanographic press – a new printing technology that is set to revolutionise our industry. The Landa helps us combine the methodology of lithographic offset printing with a digital operating system, which means your print gets the best of both worlds.


Lithographic Printing

For thread sewn books ordered in larger quantities, we’ll send them to be printed lithographically through trusted machines such as the Heidelberg Speedmaster. It’s one of the first litho presses capable of changing jobs fully automated and is incredibly efficient.


Muller Martini Ventura MC200

The Muller Martini Ventura MC200 is a book binder's dream! The Muller Martini can bind book spine lengths ranging from 120 to 510mm with a range of industry-leading features that ensure that the Ventura MC 200 produces the highest quality book blocks economically.


Kolbus KM600 Perfect Binder

When it comes to binding our thread sewn books to their covers, we use our cutting-edge Kolbus KM600 Perfect Binder. The KM600's precision shines as it applies glue to the spine, mills and notches it, ensuring a flawlessly bound book block. We take pride in using the Kleiberit 743.7 EVA adhesive for its high quality, ensuring a fault-free and superior spine. Thanks to this machine, our operations have become highly automated and cost-competitive.


Kolbus Casemaker DA 260

With speeds of up to 40 cycles/min, the Kolbus Casemaker DA 260 ensures the automatic production of our bookcases from greyboard and paper into a sophisticated hard cover. Our DA 260 case maker is a professional machine engineered to exact specifications. Simple, one-man operation and fast and simple set-up contribute to the DA 260's high productivity.


Kolbus BF513 Casing In Machine

The machine that brings together your books hardcover and inners, the Kolbus BF513 Casing In Machine comprises the minimal processing range for automated hardcover production. As part of its compact design, the book form press is a component of the basic machine, with simple operation and fully automated adjustments thanks to the Copilot® system. The line adjusts in terms of height, width and thickness supported by the thickness measurement when the product is inserted.


In Conclusion

Thread sewn books are the go-to if you’re in search of a book that can stand the test of time. With complete durability yet still flexible when opened up and laid flat, thread sewn books combine quality and a luxurious finish. Simply create your artwork and let our book binding experts turn your vision into a reality.


About the Author

Hi, I’m Ally and I’m instantprint’s PR Lead. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.