What is Hand Side Stitching?
Only, or I should say,usually as there are exceptions, a pocket sprung mattress will have genuine hand side stitching on the side panels. Hand side stitching is a labour intensive process involving the perimeter rows of pocket springs to be directly attached (sewn) to the side panels of the mattress to give complete and absolute edge to edge support and prevent the side panels from bellying out. There is nothing better.
This image shows genuine hand side stiching (2 rows)
This image shows Machine side stitching (4 rows)
Bellying Out is the reaction you will get from the side panels of your mattress when you sit on the edge or even lie near the edge. The mattress sides bulge out because there will be nothing to prevent it from doing so.
Hand side stitching is reserved for only the top of range models from all manufacturers, it is not employed on cheaper models although a simulated hand stitch (machine stitched) is used to give the impression of hand stitching. Machine side stitching is only a decorative detail and does absolutely nothing to/for the construction of the mattress.
Read descriptions carefully - “Side stitched for added strength” – is NOT the same as “Hand Side Stitched for added strength“. Always bear in mind that if a mattress is genuinely Hand Side Stitched – it will definitely say so!
It is usual for only two rows of hand side stitching to be employed and this really is more than adequate, however in the case of the exceptional Harrison’s top of range models, four hand side stitched rows. More still with 5 rows of hand side stitching in Vi-Spring’s top of range ‘Magnificence’.
Is Hand Side Stitching worth it?
Absolutely. It may seem to be only a detail but the benefit to the longevity of the mattress is unmistakable. Hand side stitching is a time served craft that commands a premium day rate. An average two row output is about one mattress per hour that has to be added to the raw cost of a mattress. You can spot a well constructed mattress just by the very fact that hand side stitching has been employed. Like I said – this technique is not used on cheap mattresses.
There are a couple of manufacturing techniques that go towards supporting side panels to minimise bellying. Firstly, there are butterfly clips or butterfly springs. These are not directly attached to the springs (either pocket springs or cage springs) but connected to the top and bottom of the rod edge on the perimeter of the the spring units. These act as stabilisers and supports.
There is also the technique of clipping or stitching the side panels to the springs at intermediate points. This is better than not having anything at all but not worth paying too much extra for.