While owning rolls of book cloth in many dazzling colors and textures would be fantastic, it's certainly not realistic for most home bookbinders. An easy alternative is to make your own book cloth, and all you really need are fabric scraps, pva, something wonderfully exotic sounding called kozo paper, and an iron. Kozo paper, also known as handmade mulberry paper is feathery, thin, yet pliant and strong. It's been used for centuries by the Japanese in printmaking and can be found in many non-traditional applications of bookbinding. Its flexible strength also makes it perfect for lining fabric to create homemade book cloths. Making your own book cloth can really widen the possibilities for bookbinding, because you can turn virtually any textile into a covering. Moreover, you can embroider the fabric before affixing the kozo paper, and applying the backing afterwards makes it far easier to stitch. The steps are pretty straightforward and definitely manageable to do at home.
How to Back your own Fabric
a sheet of kozo paper (found in any arts/paper store) fabric of choice straight edge scalpel paste brush pva plain newsprint iron
1. Cut the fabric a couple of inches larger than the desired size.
2. Cut the kozo paper about 1/2 inch larger than the fabric.
3. Apply a thin layer of pva from the center, outwards onto the kozo paper. let the pva set for a couple of minutes, until it's dull looking.
4. Attach fabric to kozo paper, and using a bone folder, smooth out any wrinkles.
5. Place newsprint over fabric/kozo paper and iron on low setting.
6. Let dry and bind away!