An elegant sufficiency

Friday, December 29, 2006

Envelope Books

Reading my Grumpy friend's blog this afternoon, I was impressed by her wonderful envelope book. Not only is it beautifully made, but the cover is worthy of any smart stationers or art book store. Made me look again at some of mine - not in the same league at all, but a constant favourite workshop and one I find myself being asked to teach over and over again.

My interest began whilst I was doing my City and Guilds Embroidery certificate, with a module based on traditional pulled and drawn thread techniques and using a "postage" theme as the design element.

I found myself drawn to the small envelope lining patterns and the wavy lines of a postmark, so, having used them for the inspiration for the samples, I displayed them in an envelope book. (above) This book is made in a fairly basic way, using coloured duct tape to hold it together and most certainly not of the heirloom variety! But it works well, was praised by my tutor and led me on to further thoughts.

I think it was at this point that I found a Martha Stewart tutorial in one of her magazines, (MarthaDex suggests it might have been Dec 2000) This one was used as a "useful place to keep things in" and though I no longer have the original article, the envelope book I teach in my workshops is very much of the same genre.

I always use recycled magazine and holiday brochure pages for the workshop - I take along all the materials and take a selection of pages for the participants to choose from. The eventual purpose of the book suggests the design - the book above was designed for a dressmaker to carry small swatches of thread and fabric for colour matching, for example.

This book is meant to keep souvenirs of a journey in - bus tickets, till receipts and so on. I always take a map one along with me and during my meandering tutorial, make reference to the reaction in this household when I start to rip up an old road atlas! That usually rings bells around the room (my classes are usually women) so clearly the men in this house are not the only ones to hoard out of date maps forever.

Other purposes are for keeping coupons, for newspaper cuttings and lists and, as below, as a way of presenting a gift of invitations to tea, to the theatre and so on.

These small books are so quick to make, absolutely guaranteed success for anyone, no skills required! As you can see in the picture above, the flap of one envelope is stuck to the address face of the next, and the flap of that one stuck to the next...and so on. They are folded concertina-style and bound into a cover of a magazine page (or road map) using double sided tape. I usually cut a flap to fold over the front and fasten with either a self adhesive magnet or small velcro dot.

If you're a WI member, you might have come across the Action Packs, one of which is the "Keepsake Books" pack. It contains instructions and samples to enable a group to make several different small books, including another variation of my Envelope Book, and members of the WI in England and Wales can hire the pack through their WI Secretary. (advert over!)



  • Your books look fab Gill. What a great idea! Off to see what the cheapest 1000 envelopes I can buy from viking are. Thanks for that

    By Blogger Sally Webster, at 8:15 am  

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