Make a leather journal with Rachel Ward-Sale

Ref: S1D33445

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About this course

Make a soft leather covered book or journal from scratch using long stitch sewing.

Course Description

A soft leather journal is the new must have accessory for writers, artists and explorers. On this course, you will learn how to design and make a unique book with a soft leather cover and fastening strap. The course will cover the techniques and skills required to select and prepare the materials, measure and design the cover and assemble your journal.

This practical day will introduce you to materials and techniques involved in making a long stitch binding. You will learn about the properties and characteristics of materials you will be using and how to ascertain their suitability for the binding. There will also be an introduction to the tools and equipment involved and their correct handling.

During the day, you will learn how to:

- Fold paper into sections, ready for sewing

- Select and prepare leather for the binding

- Use basic long stitch sewing techniques

Each process will be demonstrated to the group. Afterwards, you will be able to work on your own binding, with individual help from the tutor, and you will produce at least one finished book, with the opportunity to experiment with other materials if time allows.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply materials used to complete one journal, including: paper, leather, thread and needles.

What students need to bring

  • Pen
  • Pencil and rubber
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Dividers and set square, if you have them

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Drawing implements, craft knives, dividers and set squares are usually held in stock.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Additional materials (paper, leather, thread and needles), if required, can be bought from the tutor. Please pay the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Rachel Ward-Sale

Rachel studied Art, Design and Bookbinding at The University of Brighton and has worked as a self-employed bookbinder and teacher for 30 years.

She is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and her work is represented in private and public collections including the British Library and Liverpool Central Library. She has been awarded prizes in national and international competitions.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.