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Jean Zipper Insertion – Eureka! Style

As promised in the first post in April on DIY openings and closings in pants, here is a step-by-step look at inserting a jeans zipper in a pair of Eureka pants. These directions are also illustrated with drawings on page 12 of the Sporty Details instruction book, a variation for Eureka! Pants that Fit.  

What a line up of zippers!

Get Prepared to Make Jeans

Before inserting this zipper, be sure to read the post, The Details of Sporty Details, which gives an excellent overview of the types of fabrics, threads, zipper types and lengths needed to make a pair of jeans.  Review the process for adjusting the basic Eureka! Pant pattern for Sporty Details in the post, Jeans – The Defining Details.

Fly template placed

The following photos show a zipper being inserted into a sample. If you have never done a zipper like this, plan to make a sample. It is smart to acquire zippers the length you need as a heavy metal zipper is difficult to adjust. Purchase an extra zipper that is the perfect length for testing the process. Wawak is a great place to order jean zippers in several colors and lengths. Use your traced and adjusted Sporty Details pattern to cut out the sample pieces. You will also need a small piece of sturdy fusible interfacing, such as French Fuse.

Make a Sample

As you follow along with these photos, and the construction steps in the direction book, pay attention to what direction the pants are sitting on the table. Each step requires a subtle back and forth of the sections and the fly extensions.

1.  Fuse interfacing to the right front along the fly extension. If your fabric is light weight, fuse it to both sides. Use an easy to see method to mark the dot (on the pattern at the bottom of the zipper opening) onto the fabric. Clean finish the edges of the fly extensions into the crotch curve.

2.  Align the two front pieces right side together and use a machine basting stitch to stitch the fly front opening closed along the center front line to the dot. Then change the stitch length to a standard 2.5 length, backstitch securely and sew an additional 1 ½ to 2”.  Clip ½” into the seam allowance toward the dot to release the fly extensions. Press the fly extensions open.

3.  Change to the zipper foot for your machine and familiarize yourself with how to move the needle position to one side or the other of the zipper foot. At each step, you will shift the position to make the stitching easy.

4.  Fold back the pants fronts so they both lay under the left extension

Zipper aligned with center front, stitched on the right of the zipper tape.

5.  Lay the zipper right side down on top of the right fly extension, positioning the left edge of the zipper tape along the center front seam line. The zipper stop should be placed at the same height as the dot. Pin the zipper along the right side.

6.  Stitch close to the right side of the zipper teeth along the white line,  backstitching at the top and bottom.

Fold back and topstitch the zipper.

7.  Flip the zipper over, folding the extra extension fabric under the fly and press. Topsititch through all  the layers along the left side of the zipper teeth.

Shift the pants and the zipper for this step.

8.  Fold the pants fronts to the right so they lay under the right fly extension. Allow the right extension with the zipper attached to lay smoothly on top of the left fly extension. Pin the left side of the zipper tape to the left fly extension only. Stitch close to the left side of the zipper teeth as shown with the white line.

Ready to topstitch.

9.  Turn the pants over and open out the fronts. As you look at the pants, the fly and zipper should sit to the right of the center front seam. Press lightly and pin the fly to the front.

Two rows of topstitching.

10. Topstitch the fly in place 1 ¼” to the right of the center front seam line, curving into the center front seam toward the bottom of the fly opening. Be careful to stitch above or below the zipper stop. Add a second row of stitches if desired.  

11. Remove the basting stitches along the center front seam.

12. Press the fly guard wrong-sides-together along the fold line. Join the raw edges of the fly guard with a clean finish.

Insert the flyguard.

13. Unzip the zipper and slide the fly guard inside, under the left side of the zipper. Pin the fly guard in place and topstitch along the topstitching line, or just to the left of the topstitching line.

14. Close the zipper and pin the fly guard to the pants at the base of the zipper. Use a very small tight zigzag stitch to machine tack the guard in place at the base of the zipper and along the outer curve of the fly topstitching line.

Imagine the Possibilities

Although this takes lots of steps, it is not particularly difficult. Be sure to visit some of our posts about specific pairs of jeans, including Carrie’s New Jeans and my most recent mash up with the Sporty Details and the Glamour Details patterns titled Jeans: Wide Leg and High Waist.

Happy Sewing, RAE

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