Help with Papillion stitch

Hi all,
I’m trying to knit the cute Papillion top from the Knitscene Winter/Spring issue, however when I knitted my swatch the stockinette stitches right before the Papillion stitch were distorted. I was wondering if anyone had any tips about how I can firm up those stitches before I knit an entire sweater of bockety stitches.

I appreciate the help.

Cheers!

Took me a while to find the pattern picture - always helps us if you include a link -
http://www.knitscene.com/issue/win07projects.asp#papillion
For Ravelry users here’s a link.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/papillon-top

Anyway… I think you just need to be careful that you do the stitches loosely so when you grab those strands it’s not pulling too much. It looks as though that area of stitches provides a little gentle shaping, but they do lay fairly flat.