This week Sew! Let’s Get Dressed returns to our occasional zipper feature to discuss Fly Front Zippers. Read last October’s post about lap application zippers and January’s about invisible zippers for additional zipper education.
Fly zipper insertion techniques developed over time as men’s pants changed and zippers became readily available for use in garments in the 1930’s. Prior to zippers, fly front openings were closed with buttons and button holes.
Fly front openings were used in women’s pants as pants became more integral to the woman’s wardrobe. Classically a women’s fly opens on the left so it lines up with blouse openings. To this day, women’s trousers and front opening dress pants have a left opening. The Eureka! Pants Trouser Details direction booklet walks you through the insertion of a standard nylon zipper in a left opening fly on page 8.
Jeans, however, have a right opening fly, taking their led from menswear. The Eureka! Pants Sporty Details pattern walks you through the insertion of a metal jeans zipper in a right opening fly. Sew News has an excellent step by step of inserting a right opening fly for jeans that I created in conjunction with my DIY Jeans article in 2010.
In this post, we will look at step by step photos of a trouser zipper including the pattern work needed to adjust your Eureka! Pants for a fly front opening. As you look at the photos, don’t just look at the placement of the zipper, but also the placement of the pants fabric, often off to one side so it is not caught in the zipper application.
Begin with the pattern work: Add a 5/8″ seam allowance to the center front of your pattern.
Next add the fly guard, lining up the balance lines and the edge of the pattern to the seam line. Trim off the top of the fly guard so it matches the top of your pattern.
Create the fly guard pattern so it matches the fly extension, this will slide under the zipper at the end of the process.
Mark the seam allowance on the wrong side of your cut out pants and cut interfacing to support the two fly fronts.
Stitch about an inch of the lower crotch seam with a standard stitch, reversing at beginning and end, then machine baste the zipper closed.
Press the two sides of the fly open.
Change the foot on your machine to the zipper foot.
Lay the zipper down with the right edge lined up along the seam line. Pin along the left zipper tape and stitch into place close to the zipper teeth.
Turn the zipper to the right side and lightly press the fly extension to the back, topstitch into place.
Now, move the zipper over to the right fly extension and stitch it to the extension only.
Remove the pins and turn the pants over. Working from the right side, pin in place, draw and then topstitch the fly.
Take a deep breath before you topstitch!
Remove the basting stitches to open up the zipper.
Prepare the fly guard by pressing the fold in place and finishing off the raw edges.
Slide the fly guard in place under the zipper and stitch it to the left side along the previous topstitching lines.
Prepare to make tacks through all layers to anchor the fly guard in place.
And here is the back view.
Don’t cut off the zipper until you have applied the waistband. Just trust me on that one.
At the Schaumberg OSQE, I will be teaching a demo class on zippers and another on jeans details which will include the jean style zipper application. The included kits will allow you to try each technique at home on your own machine.
When you first start making fly front zippers, consider making a sample like this one to test the directions. If you can, make 2 or 3 pairs of pants with fly zippers in a row. That way the steps will become familiar to you so in the future it will be easier to insert these zippers in your Eureka! Pants with trouser details.
Happy Sewing, RAE