The Singer sewing machine was patented by the remarkable American Isaac Merritt Singer in 1851 but Singer, who was also known as a strolling player, a theatre manager, and an entrepreneurial millionaire, did not actually invent the sewing machine; an Englishman named Thomas Saint built the first one in 1790.
And before this, German-born engineer Charles Wiesenthal, who was working in England at the time, was awarded the first British patent for the design of a mechanical device to aid the art of sewing.
Over one-hundred-and-fifty years later, the Singer sewing machine is still in use in homes around the world and also now in the print finishing industry since using sewing machines can provide a unique method of bookbinding by stitching folded sections together using thread which is deliberately left visible.
Saddle stitching usually refers to staples, but sewing is something different
One of the most common modern methods of binding is commonly known as “stitching” or “saddle stitching” but this actually refers to stapling folded sections together at the spine to create a multi-page document held together using metal staples – so no thread or sewing is involved. But the term may well be a hangover from earlier binding methods when books were created by sewing the sections of folded pages together and (usually) glueing them into a case (this is known as thread- or section-sewing and the binding method is case binding).
Most section-sewn books use very thin white thread to try to minimise the visibility of the fixings in the spine, but there is a growing market for singer sewn books where the threads can be brightly coloured or made of quite thick material since they draw attention to the binding as part of the design of the book. This allows the thread to pick out the colour theme of the books or work in contrast to it (white thread on a black book cover, for example). We have found this is a popular technique for artists or designers looking to produce a creative, bespoke product.
Books stitched with a sewing machine
Singer sewing works best with softer, uncoated stocks and with fewer spreads but with the array of coloured threads available it can provide an outstanding finished piece. Since it is also quite a labour intensive finishing technique it is also more appropriate for smaller quantities than very long runs.
At PrintHouse we have decades of finishing experience. So, if you would like to discuss an unusual finish for your project, then please contact our dedicated sales team today by giving them a call or if you already have all your details then you can use our Quick Quote form.
We look forward to investigating more interesting methods of binding your books and catalogues in the near future.