Custom Order

I completed an unusual and challenging custom order before Christmas. The customer wanted to print the contents of a traveller's blog and have it handbound into a gift book for the blog's writer. Once I made sure the customer knew about the commercial services available for this very thing, and she expressed her firm desire to still have it handbound, we proceeded to iron out all the details of the order.

She had the blog printed out on a lovely slightly textured paper (8.5 x 11") and sent it to me (I blurred the text in the photo here to maintain the customer's privacy). Because it was printed on single sheets, I decided a hardcover Japanese/stab binding would be a good option. The blog writer was traveling around New Zealand, so maps of the area were used for the covers. I hinged both the front and the back covers--I thought it would be easier to read this way. I made some coordinating cotton bookcloth and added a thin satin ribbon for embellishment.

This was the biggest stab binding I've ever done, so I measured everything several times and made sure all the layers were clamped really well before I drilled the holes for sewing. Once I got to the sewing, I was so relieved that everything was working out--the sewing was the easiest part of the order! I used waxed linen thread in a tortoise shell pattern. I was very pleased with how the finished book turned out and mailed it off to the customer.

Thankfully she was as pleased with the result as I was, and left me this very kind and generous feedback on Etsy:
ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! STUNNING! Laura created a wonderful book, her choice of covers and inside paper were lovely! The craftsmanship is fantastic, especially her attention to detail with the ribbon on the cover. This exceeded my expectations! This is truly a wonderful keepsake my daughter will treasure.


  1. Beautiful book! Love the map and the binding is stunning!

  2. Laura, I think that review was well-deserved - that is a lovely piece of work! The color choices and the maps are just lovely and I do like that tortoise-shell stitch pattern. Beautiful!
    I always hinge both covers of my Japanese stab-stitch wedding guest books. It does make it a bit easier to open the book all through. Mine don't have many pages, but the paper is always medium to heavy weight and there are often "spacers" between the pages, to allow brides to add things like tags from their gifts, notes from relatives, wedding cards, the odd photograph etc...

    Really lovely book - I'm sure that the recipient will treasure it all the more for its uniqueness and specialness. Her mum had a lovely idea for a gift, but it was you who made it a gorgeous reality!

  3. So nice! I'm not surprised you received a rave review.

  4. Thanks Kris, Jeannine, Lizzie, Elissa and Brenda! Your feedback is wonderful to receive as well!

  5. That is a gorgeous book! I bet that will be the favourite Christmas gift for years. Beautiful stitch design!

  6. I am the Daughter of your customer, the one who the book was made for. It's stunning and I cried when I opened it on christmas day. After such an amazing year of travelling it is great to have my written record bound and displayed so beautifully, thank you very much Laura!


  7. Thanks so much Lizzie! I'm sure it will be treasured.

    Gwyneth, thank you for stopping by! I am so pleased that you are happy with it--I hope it will always be a wonderful way to remember a special year for you. Your mom was so nice to work with too!

  8. Fabulous, Laura! Congratulations on making a customer's dream come to fruition! :)

  9. Thanks Cindy! It is a wonderful feeling to know you've met/surpassed the goals of the customer with a custom order!


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