Whoops! My Mistake: Sergers Don’t Staystitch

I learn something new from every garment I make.  Recently I tried out Vogue 1124 by pattern designer Sandra Betzina.  I have a full review in an earlier post, Betzina Vest: Pattern Review but I wanted to take a moment to pass on something useful for other sewers who might want to try the pattern.

If you are new to sewing, or in my case, not new, just impatient – you will be tempted to skip staystitching.  This is one thing that I did not understand as a young sewer and frankly thought it too boring to even bother with.

Staystitching is a row of straight stitches done on only one layer meant to hold the shape of a curve.

Like every good and useful thing on this earth it has a purpose.

To keep a curved seam from stretching out of shape.


A stretched out seam edge is like a stone rolling downhill.  That one stone bumps up against others and before you know it you have an avalanche. 

For example, a stretched out neckline messes up the shoulder, which messes up the collar, which messes up the front placket, which messes up your button placement, and to your chagrin, you end up with a dorky homemade looking garment.

Back to the pattern. 

For this particular pattern you cut a circle for the armhole.  Then you were to staystitch the curve, then finish as desired. 

This is what the armhole looked like originally.

My great idea was to serge that puppy up and get it over with.  I was going to just turned that serged edge under, anyway, why not let the stretch of the knit take care of the finish?

Bad idea

The knit edge did indeed stretch nicely into the armhole and I had a clean edge. 

But…my armhole had grown substantially.  Down to my waist.

Here is what the armhole looked like after I got done with it. The victim of yet another bad idea.

The vest kept slipping off of me and in disgust I threw it away.  I’m sorry I did that because in retrospect I wish I could show it to you.

My advice:

Instead of considering staystitching a mindless task before you get to the fun part, begin thinking of it as a gift from God because we are blessed to have such an easy way to solve so much trouble using just a few little stitches. 

So Don’t Skip Your Staystitching!

The Results are well worth it.

Next Post: Thursday, April 1, 2010; Hanky Hems


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Marie-Noëlle
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 11:34:09

    Great reminder
    Thanks for sharing it. Too bad for your jacket and the ruined fabric



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