Headbands for books

15 Oct

I have been polishing up on my headband making skills – and no, these are not the type that keep hair off your face – they are a traditional part of a book. Headbands are decorative bands of silk or cotton which can be found fastened inside the top and bottom of a book’s spine.

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Using an old book as a practice model, I have been working on single and double core headbands. These can be built up using cord or strips of leather as the base. Traditionally headbands were intrinsically a part of the sewing of the book, and were used in lieu of kettle stitches in linking the sections together. In later years, they acted as a block between the textblock’s spine and the shelf, relieving the strain placed on the spine cover.

Nowadays headbands come as cloth pieces which are just glued on the book – they are seen as purely decorative. A lot of the time, they can look like a cheap afterthought. I hope to develop a range of handsewn headbands – culminating perhaps with this multicoloured Armenian headband.

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