Bookbinding: Secret Belgian

Bookbinding: Secret Belgian


The Secret Belgian Binding is a method of bookbinding that uses 2 sets of sewing, giving a distinct thread pattern on the cover and spine of the finished book. The first sewing stage joins the 3 pieces of the cover boards together and the second sewing stage is used to bind the pages into the cover boards.

This is a very intriguing and unusual binding style. It was invented in the mid-1980s by Anne Goy, a Belgian bookbinder. She was looking for a Western version of the traditional Japanese stab binding techniques. She wanted a book that would open flat but with the appearance of the stab sewing. Anne Goy calls this binding the "crisscross binding".

We will start the day by trimming paper and card into the correct size for the book and nesting the trimmed sheets into ‘signatures’. The next stage will be preparation of the cover, which is constructed in 3 parts. These are cut from greyboard, and covered with your choice from a selection of decorative papers, and placed under weights to dry. The three parts of the cover are sewn together and then the individual signatures are sewn into the spine.

The project will be an A6 landscape format book and once you have mastered the processes you will find this is a very flexible style and can be made in different sizes and with different papers and materials

All steps are fully demonstrated and there will be group and individual help and support

What to bring:

If you have any of the following tools please bring them, otherwise they can be borrowed on the day


Drawing tools: Pencil, eraser, sharpener

Sewing tools: Blunt ended sewing needle with large eye (eg tapestry needle) and a large eye curved needle

Cutting tools: Cutting mat (A3 or bigger if possible), craft or cutting knife (scalpel is too delicate), metal ruler

Three large heavy hard backed books for pressing your book covers flat

Bone folder (for creasing paper)

Small awl / braddle (for making holes in paper and card)

Paper knife / clip knife / shoe knife (for slicing paper)

Refunds are not available on this booking. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

Included on the day:

Any other materials not specified for the students to bring

Expert tuition

1 to 1 guidance

Detailed demonstrations

A selection of tea, freshly brewed coffee, biscuits and delicious cakes

And of course, you take your wonderful creations from the day. If you would like to share any photographs of your day here and/or your finished work, we’d love to see them, so you can share this on social media and tag us.

Terms - Fee is payable on booking. If having booked, you can no longer attend, we are unable to offer a refund or transfer you to another workshop. However, you may nominate someone else to attend the workshop or class in your place by notifying us using the contact page on the Micklems Farm website. We reserve the right to cancel a workshop up to 48 hours prior to the workshop date. We will only cancel due to insufficient places sold and you will be refunded the full amount paid.

Level: Beginners

Number of students: 10


Lauren Millbank at Micklems Farm Creative Workshops


Micklems Farmhouse
Knowl Hill
RG10 9YD

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Parking provided
  • Suitable for beginners


1 day (10:00am to 4:00pm)

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