A Day in the Life of a Print Job -- Part 4

It's quite normal to see customers back in the pressroom during print day because that's when you can catch any errors or irregularities before it's too late. But hardly ever do customers go down to the bindery during finishing time, so it was quite a treat for me to get to go back there today and catch my print jobs as they were trimmed, folded and stitched.

First up is a stack of pattern sheets ready to be trimmed.


The cutter trims off all 4 edges of the patterns sheets using the trim marks as guides.


The trimmed edges are then collected...


And thrown into a recycling bin.


The neatly-trimmed pattern sheets are then stacked up next to the folder.


The folder can have 2 or 3 or 4 units attached to it depending on how many folds the sheet requires. The first unit folds the sheet perfectly in half. Then the next unit grabs it and folds it in half again... and so on...


Then, after all folds are done, the last unit spits them out and stacks them.


The instruction booklets go through a similar process, except it's got more steps.

First they get stacked on the cutter...


Edges are trimmed off...


Then they go onto the folder. See that striped unit on the left side of this next photo? The sheet gets sandwiched in there and folded in half. It moves so fast that it's nearly impossible to see.


They come out at the other end all neatly folded in half...


Then this next machine (the stitcher) was the most fascinating to me! Check it out... it takes a folded inside spread and places it onto this moving belt then it drops the cover sheet on top of it and the nested booklets go down the line to get stitched.

In this next photo, imagine the machine moving right to left... first you see an inside spread all by itself, then the cover is placed on top of the inside spread...


Pretty maids all in a row...


At the other end, the machine places two staples on the fold of each booklet...


Then they get trimmed to finished size, stacked and put on top of this conveyor belt, kinda like what you see at the airport...


And VOILA! Pattern booklets are finished! Ready to be assembled, boxed & shipped...


Thank you all for staying with me through this little field trip. I so appreciate your comments and questions. I hope I didn't bore any of you to death... haha. I promise I'll get back to normal blogging after all this is done and over. :)


  1. Wow! How neat to see the behind the scenes of how and what it takes to put together the print work.. Thanks a ton for sharing!

  2. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the "How's it Made?" posts on putting your patterns together. It has been fascinating to see!

  3. I have really enjoyed this series! I hope there are more of something in future. :) Thank you for sharing!

  4. Annie5:32 PM

    WOW! Isn't technology amazing? Those machines are super cool... especially that stitcher. I'm in awe!

    And now when I buy your patterns it's gonna be even more special because I've seen how they were made. Thanks so much for giving us a peek into your world!!!


  5. So, now when can we buy them!!! I can't wait. I have really enjoyed learning something new. Marnie

  6. Okay that's cool. My Dad's cutters still freaks me out. He has a really old one that is manual and then a "modern" electric one with safety's on it. Love the machine that folds, collates, and staples all in one job. Those three tasks are performed by, you guessed it, three different machines at my dads shop. So interesting to read and see where modern printing, you did a great job explaining everything!

  7. I love seeing the process! Thanks for posting!

  8. This has been so cool to watch! Now, I'm impatiently waiting to pick them up in a store near me.

  9. Boring, ha! Quite the opposite. Very cool, and interesting seeing how the machines do their thing. Thanks so much for taking the time to share it with us.

  10. WOW... I'm so happy to see there's more people out there interested in this stuff than just me! haha (I truly hesitated to do this!)

    Well, I'll see if I can put together some more "behind the scenes" tours... there's so much that goes into everything we do around here that no one ever sees! :)

    Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and support!

    OH, and for those asking, check with your favorite shop... the patterns will start shipping to them early next week! :)


  11. Anonymous2:13 AM

    Oh Look ... *jumpingupanddown* ... that one over there wants to come to me :D

    Honestly, I never questioned myself "how do they get it ready and done?" but seeing it now in this picture book way is great and very interessting!



  12. super cool - thanks for sharing it!

  13. How cool to see the process.

  14. Thanks for sharing, not everyday you get to see behind the scenes like that!


  15. Loved this! Thanks for taking the time to share...we're big fans of "How It's Made" on Discovery so this was perfect for me because it's about a topic I love! Thanks!
    sherri @ Cozy Canuck

  16. Anonymous12:17 PM

    This must be a very rewarding part of your job. To see your work very nearly completed. My DH and I were apple growers and sometimes, when we could, we would go the the wareshouse to see the apples washed, sorted, sized and packed.

    Really, that's for sharing.

  17. Thank you so much Patty. After studying graphic design last year, and about to jump into creating my own patterns, I now have a better understanding of the process. The steps now make sense, and I'm actually excited to put all I've learned last year into action. The care and attention to detail is evident in your designs and your patterns. Fat Quarter Shop, here I come - I have to see one of those patterns in "real life"

  18. Anonymous7:38 AM


  19. Wow I used to work in a Bindery with Heidelbergs and I had forgotten how neat it was! It makes me want to go back to old Spencer Press thank you for sharing. What is the name of the Bindery?

  20. Thanks for sharing! My kids will enjoy this, too.


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