Yesterday we did the detail work of the jeans: yokes and center seams with flat felled seams, and the pockets. Today, I’m going to go over the zipper fly. This seems to be the part that most people I talk to are the most intimidated by. But it doesn’t have to be scary. I’m going to go over the installation of the zippered fly in step-by-step detail for you today, using my favorite method. I promise it’s not near as scary as you’re thinking it’s going to be. Deep breaths, you can do this.
First, your fly pieces. Most patterns will have the fly incorporated with the front leg pattern piece. It’s the little flappy guys there at the bottom on the white fabric. Burda, and I’m sure there are other patterns like this, uses a separate fly piece that you have to add to the front legs. Either way, attach interfacing to the fly pieces on the wrong side of the fabric.
Lay the fly pieces on the legs, right sides together, lining up long straight edges of the fly with the inside of the leg, and at the top.
Sew the length of the fly, back stitching at the ends
Fold the flys out so they are flat with the legs, press.
** Okay, now we’re to the point where all flys will look about the same. Welcome back integrated-fly pattern users!
Lay your legs, with flys, on top of each other, right sides together. Line up all top edges.
Sew from the lower curve of the crotch up to just after the fly extends out. The pattern likely has a stopping point for the regular stitch at the point I just told you: just after the fly juts out. Back stitch and secure, but do not clip thread. Switch to a basting stitch (as wide a stitch as your machine will allow), finish sewing up the length of the fly, following the same seam line. Most patterns will have this seam line indicated on the pattern pieces, and you just have to transfer it over and follow it up. Don’t backstitch the basting stitch.
Clip the point where you backstitched the regular stitches, a the point where you switched over to basting stitch, right at that backstitch point. Clip to the stitches, but don’t clip the stitches themselves.
Open up your legs and press the fly open. The crotch seam below the fly needs to lay to the left side when looking at the wrong side of the fabric.
Flip the pant fronts over, keeping things in place with fly open and center seam going to the left on the wrong side. Topstitch along the right of the seam on the front of the pants from top to bottom. This should catch the center crotch seam allowance.
Flip the pants back over to the back, and fold the right leg under the left, with the right fly piece extended out.
Lay your zipper on the right fly, zipper facing down, zipper tape edge next to the seam but not on or over it, and the bottom of the zipper tape matched up with the end of the fly. If your zipper is longer than the fly, no worries. We’ll deal with the top excess later. Just keep that bottom edge lined up. Pin in place.
Using a zipper foot, sew the right zipper tape to the right fly.
Flip the zipper over to the correct side, so the raw edge of the right fly goes back and behind and the unsewn zipper tape is exposed. Top stitch the fly along the sewn zipper tape edge
Flip the whole front over, so right sides of the legs are still facing, and the other fly is now on top of the sewn fly, and the zipper is wrong side up on top of the unsewn fly, on your left side. Pin in place, sew the other zipper tape to the other fly. In this picture, the zipper tape you sewed first is the one with two stitch lines, and the one you sew in this step has one stitch line.
Open up your pant legs, so everything is flat with wrong side facing up.
Place a straight pin just below the zipper stop at the bottom. Go through all layers: zipper tape, fly and pant front.
Mark out your fly stitch lines. Most patterns will have these for you on the pattern for you to transfer over. Make sure as you are marking, that you are marking right above the zipper tape on the other side. The point of these stitches is to secure the zipper in place, so when you are wearing the pants, the fly doesn’t gape open on you. So mark all the way down to the pin placement, making sure you are just above the zipper tape. At the pin placement, curve things over, and mark below the pin placement to the center seam of the front.
Remove the pin. Follow your chalk lines with topstitching. Again, really important here to make sure you are catching the zipper tape beneath the front.
Do a second line of topstitching, parallel to the first. Make sure to backstitch at the center seam.
If for some reason your pattern doesn’t include a fly guard, this is what they look like. Make one: square of fabric the length of your fly, folded over, sew the side and the bottom edge. You want it to be a little wider than the fly, so that it covers from one fly edge to the other after everything is sewn.
Lay the fly guard on top of your finished zipper/fly. Match the sewn edge of the fly with the right fly’s/zipper’s edge. The bottom of the guard should line up with the bottom of the zipper, and the guard needs to be flush at the top with the pant top.
Pin in place.
Sew the guard to the right fly. DO NOT SEW THE FRONT OF THE PANTS!!!!. I use a zig zag to sew to the fly. Only sew the one edge.
Now, my favorite: bartacking! I’m going to go over these in more detail tomorrow. But you need to secure the guard to the front of the pants in a few critical spots using a bartack. My machine has a bartack stitch. It’s the button I’m pointing to, shared with “F”. If your machine doesn’t have a bartack, use a satin stitch or zig zag at the shortest stitch length setting.
Bartack through all layers, catching the fly guard on the other side, on the front of the pants at the point where your fly topstitching curves, and at the base of your fly topstitching.
Your bartack has to catch the fly guard. Make sure it does!
Unpick your basting stitches along the length of the zipper.
And check it out!!! You made a fly!!!
If your zipper was the perfect size, you’re done. If your zipper extends above the top of the pants, stick with me.
You need to make a new top stop for your zipper. Somehow you’re supposed to be able to use pliers to remove the extra teeth and the existing stops, and move the stops down. I am not strong or smart enough to do this. So I’m going to show you what I do.
Open the zipper. 1/2 inch below the top of the pants, sew knots with embroidery thread and needle around the zipper teeth. You want the thread to go in between the same two teeth. Secure your knots.
Cut the teeth and tape that extend above the pant top.
Cut into the zipper tape, close to the teeth, of the zipper that is above the knots, but below the top of the pants (about 1/2 inch worth of teeth), Cut those teeth off, but leave the rest of the tape (it should be sewn into the seams anyway).
Before I send you over to Melissa for waistband and beltloops, I’ll show you how I sew up my legs.
You’re going to sew the inseam first. Pin/clip your center crotch seams, front and back, together. Match them up as closely as you can.
Start at this point and sew down one leg, then go back to that point and sew the length of the other leg, back stitching over the center crotch. This will give you double reinforcement through the crotch, and will make sure your legs match up as nicely as possible.
Lastly, sew your side seams. Make sure when you do, that you catch the sides of the pockets.
Finally, Fold the side seam towards the back of the pants and add a line of topstitching from the top of the leg, down to where the pocket ends on the inside. At that bottom of the pocket, add a bartack or at least a heavy line of backstitching.
You are so close to a finished pair of jeans!! Head over to Melly Sews for instructions and tips on adding the beltloops and waistband. Tomorrow we’ll finish things up with rivets and hemming and then you’ll be ready to rock your jeans!