Lesson 5—Nightgown Construction Part 2


Welcome back to the Christmas Morning Serge-Along, featuring the BERNINA L 850! Be sure to enter our giveaway for a chance to win The Big Book of Serging and a Gold-Plated Presser Foot #1 from BERNINA. During this five-week serge-along, we’ll be making adorable Christmas Morning Pajamas in sizes 3–8. The lessons will present the free downloadable patterns and instructions in easy-to-digest sections. New lessons will be released each Tuesday. You can also order (optional) special-priced kits with premium fabrics and trims in two size options, and two different colorways, for boys or girls.

Previous lessons are available here: Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 and Lesson 4

Downloadable PDFs for Lesson 5:

As in the previous weeks, you will want to go back and review the Important Info and all of the Tips and Techniques from the past weeks and as before, we will be adding new ones this week. Last week, you accomplished plenty! You embellished your yoke, added piping and a ruffle to the front yoke and piping to the back yoke. You inserted a placket into the top center of the skirt back, gathered both the skirt back and front and attached the skirts to the yokes, all on your serger. Now you have two complete units to your gown—the front and the back. This week, you will finish the gown construction by attaching the neck binding, gathering and attaching the sleeves and adding a decorative elastic casing/ruffle to the sleeve ends. You will also serge the sides/sleeves (making sure all the seams are matched perfectly), hem the skirt and tack in those hanging serger tails! That does sound like a lot, but if you are doing it all—or even most of it—by serger, these tasks will be completed in a jiffy-flash!


• Important Info

Read Your Serger Manual

Additional Serger Feet And Attachments

Serger Terms To Know

Seam Allowances

• Sewing And Serging With Plaids


• Using Pins, Sewing Glue & Quilt Clips

• Using Wonder Tape To Match Seams

• Technique: What To Do With Serger Tails

• Technique: Removing Misplaced Seams

• Technique: Creating Piping

• Technique: Removing Bulk In Piped Seams

• Tip: Serging An Inside Curve

• Technique: Serging A Circle


• Technique: Finishing The End Of Piping

• Technique: Attaching Piping To A Curve

• Technique: Hemming With The Serger

• Tip: Using Fusible Thread In Your Serger


• Tip: Matching Trim Patterns In Heirloom Trims

• Technique: Heirloom Serging—Bridging To Fabric

• Technique: Heirloom Serging—Serger Pintucks

• Technique: Gathering With The Serger

• Technique: Continuous Lap Placket By Serger


• Technique: Bias Bound Neckline

• Technique: Decorative Elastic Sleeve Casing/Ruffle


1. The width of the neck binding is cut to 1-3/4″. The length of the binding is usually cut longer than the measurement around the garment neck plus 3/4″. Once the binding is pinned in place with 3/8″ extending at both back edges, any excess can be trimmed away. So, it’s better to cut the neck binding longer than to cut it too short.

2. Fold the width of the bias neck binding in half to measure 7/8″ and press. Then shape and press into a curve to match the curve of the neck (photo 1).

3. Pin the center of the binding to the center of the neckline with the three cut edges aligned and right sides together. Continue pinning the binding to the neck allowing 3/8″ to extend beyond edges of the yoke backs (fig 1). Trim away any extra binding beyond the 3/8″ extensions.

4. Set the serger as follows:

3-thread narrow overlock

Stitch length = 2.5-3.0

Blade cutting width = 6.5

Foot: Standard

5. Serge the binding to neckline, with the right needle 1/4″ from the original cut edge. You will be trimming off a scant 1/8″ with your serger blade. NOTE: You are taking a 1/4″ seam because your outer needle (the right needle) is 1/4″ from the original cut edge. On our BERNINA L 850, to serge a 1/4″ seam when only the right needle is in the serger, align the edge of the fabrics with the inner edge of the “wall” on the foot (photos 2 and 3).

6. Flip the binding away from the yoke and the seam allowance toward the binding (photo 4).

7. Fold the 3/8″ back extensions to the inside (photo 5).

8. Fold the binding to the inside of the yoke with the folded edge of the binding just past the threads of the seam allowance. The binding should encase the seam allowance (photo 6). Glue and pin the binding in place. Our preferred pinning method, whether stitching in place by hand or by sewing machine, is to stick the pins into the fabric layers from the right side, aligned. with the “ditch” (where the neck binding meets the yoke) and catching the folded edge of the binding on the wrong side (photo 7). When using this pinning method, determine the sewing direction and have the points of the pins pointing toward the machine and the heads of the pins pointing toward you. This will make pin removal easy, especially if you are stitching the binding in place by sewing machine.

9. Stitch the bias binding in place by hand or by sewing machine. If by sewing machine, stitch in the ditch of the binding/yoke from the right side, catching the folded edge of the binding on the wrong side (photo 8).


Supplies Needed:

• Two 1″ contrasting fabric strips for the casing the width of the lower sleeve

• Two fabric scalloped edging strips for the ruffle the width of the lower sleeve

• 1/4″ elastic

• Small safety pin

TIP: Attach the sleeves to the arm opening before adding the elastic casing/ruffle. Once the sleeve is attached to the garment, the right and wrong side of the sleeve is unmistakable, even if the fabric is the same on both sides.

1. Set the serger as follows:

3-thread narrow overlock

Stitch length = 3.0

Blade cutting width = 6.0

Foot: Standard

2. Clean finish one long edge of each casing strip. Set aside.

3. Set the serger as follows:

4-thread overlock

Stitch length = 2.5-3.0

Blade cutting width = 6.0

Foot: Standard

4. Find the edging strips. If the upper cut edge of the edging strip is scalloped, trim straight (photo 1).

5. Place the wrong side of edging to the wrong side of the sleeve. Place the wrong side and cut edge of the casing strip on top of the edging with the three edges aligned (sleeve, edging, casing strip). Serge at a 1/4″ seam (photo 2).

6. Flip the edging and the casing to the right side. Press the casing toward the sleeve over the seam allowance (see photo 3).

7. Turn the upper edge (3-thread overlock stitch) to the wrong side and press (photo 3).

8. Using the sewing machine, topstitch the upper edge of the casing in place with a straight stitch (L=2.5). This will enclose all of the serged seams (photo 4).

9. Cut two pieces of 1/4″ elastic to the measurement given in the instructions. TIP: We like to cut the elastic 1″ longer than the measurement and allow 1/2″ to extend beyond the edges of the casing, just to be on the safe side. It’s so easy to lose the elastic end inside the casing.

10. Using a small safety pin, insert the elastic into the casing. Secure the elastic along the seam line (for our gown it will be 1/4″) at each end of the casing using the sewing machine and a straight stitch. Stitch back and forth several times through the elastic and the casing (photo 5). If you allowed for extra elastic to extend beyond the casing, trim the elastic even with the sides of the casing.

Cute and Easy!


Techniques referred to in the construction directions can be found in the TIPS AND TECHNIQUES instructions given each week for the Serge Along.


1. Set the serger as follows:

4-thread narrow overlock

Stitch length = 2.5-3.0

Blade cutting width = 6.0

Foot: Standard

2. Place the front and back right sides together at the shoulders and serge (photo 1). Press and glue the seam allowances toward the back yokes (photo 2).

3. Set the serger as follows:

3-thread narrow overlock

Stitch length = 2.5-3.0

Blade cutting width = 6.5

Foot: Standard

4. Refer to the Technique: Bias Bound Neckline. Pin the folded binding to the right side of the gown neck (fig. 1). Serge and finish the neck binding as directed in the technique.


Note: When working with gathered sleeves we prefer to gather by sewing machine. You can gather with your serger if that is your preferred gathering method for this type of sleeve.

1. Using the sewing machine, straight stitch (L=3.5-4.0) two gathering rows at the top of the sleeve using a scant 1/4″ and 1/2″ as the stitching lines and the side markings as the starting and stopping points.

2. Set the serger as follows:

4-thread overlock

Stitch length = 2.5-3.0

Blade cutting width = 6.5

Foot: Standard

3. Place each sleeve to the arm opening, right sides together. Match the center marking of the sleeve to the shoulder seam and the front and back yoke seams to the designated markings. Pin together with the head of the pin in the air. Match the ends of the sleeve to the ends of the armhole on the skirt. Pin. Pull the bobbin threads or the needle threads of the gathering row to gather each sleeve to fit the arm opening. Distribute the gathers to fall about 2″ to 2-1/2″ on each side of the shoulder seam. Pin as needed (fig. 2).

4. Serge the sleeve in place with the sleeve on top. The serged seam will cover the scant 1/4″ gathering stitch. Remove the gathering row that shows on the right side (fig. 3).

5. Refer to the Technique: Decorative Elastic Sleeve Casing/ Ruffle and finish the ends of both sleeves using the following measurements for the pieces:

• Your two casing strips were cut to 1″ x 16″ strips.

• Cut two pieces of scalloped edging to fit the lower edge of the sleeve. If the upper cut edge of the edging is scalloped, trim straight.

• The elastic measurements for the wrists are as follows:

Note: The two elastic pieces can be cut longer than the measurements given and trimmed even with the sides of the casing once the elastic is sewn.

3-4      6-1/2″

5-6      6-3/4″

7-8      7″


1. Place the sides/sleeves, right sides together, matching the ends of the edging, casing, seams. Note: Wonder Tape is very helpful when matching seams, etc. Serge (fig. 4).

2. Stitch three evenly spaced buttonholes on the right side of the back yoke. The buttonholes should start 1/2″ from the back edge with the top and bottom buttonholes 1/2″ from the neck binding and the piping. Stitch buttons to the left back yoke to correspond to the buttonholes (fig. 5).

3. There are several methods that can be used to hem the gown. Choose your favorite method below. Note: A 1″ hem allowance is included in the pattern.

A. Method 1. Sewing Machine Straight Stitch

a. Clean finish the hem edge using any overlock stitch. Turn the hem to the inside 1″ and press.

Tip: Change the lower looper thread to fusible thread. Clean finish the skirt edge, right side up. Press and fuse the hem to the wrong side of the skirt.

b. Straight stitch the hem in place by sewing machine just below the upper edge of the overlock seam (fig. 6).

B. Method 2. Sewing Machine Blind Hem

a. Clean finish the hem edge using any overlock stitch.

b. Turn the hem to the inside 1″ and press.

c. Fold the fabric the same as for the serger blind hem.

d. Using the blind hem foot on your sewing machine and the blind hem stitch, stitch the hem in place. Press (fig. 7).

Method 3. Blind Hem By Serger.

Refer to the Technique: Hemming With The Serger for complete directions.

4. Refer to the Technique: What To Do With Serger Tails, step #2 to take care of the serger tail at the end of each sleeve.



We hope you have enjoyed our BERNINA Serge-Along as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you. If you are in the market for a serger, check out the BERNINA L 850. It is a GREAT serger!

We have a wonderful collection of online classes. If you would like more serger classes with written instructions and videos, visit The Sewing Collection.

Please join our Classic Sewing Magazine Group on Facebook and post your photos. We will love seeing those sweet faces in your creations from our Christmas Morning BERNINA Serge-Along!

Merry Christmas to ALL, and to ALL HAPPY SERGING!

Visit these blog post for more information regarding the features of the BERNINA L 850: