Lacing and Tacketing for bookbinding

Tacketing is a type of stitching that was used on the covers of medieval ledgers and books. It was a decorative way of securing the spine during the bookbinding process. It can be done with bookbinders thread or leather strips. In the latter case it resembles lacing. Blog reader Beth Morton told us how she was introduced to craft of tacketing by demonstrator Chela Metzger, at the The Austin Book Arts February Meetup.

Beth told us: “This type of stitching is often referred to as a lost art and some scholars are attempting to recreate the stitching patterns”. Beth has sent us a picture taken at the meeting (shown above-right), a larger version, plus more pictures, can be seen at the Austin Book Arts website

What is the difference between backstitch and stem stitch?

Two different names for a method of stitching that at first glance seems to do the same job. So what is the difference?

On backstitch more thread ends up hidden on the back of the work than on the front. Stem stitch is the opposite, more thread is visible on the front of the work than on the back. I often wonder why the opposite to backstitch was not called front stitch.

Read more