Monday, September 28, 2009

How to Sew a Fabulous Front Fly Zipper

Ok...I've got a Thread's Magazine embroidery article deadline (Can you hear my machine, I mean my friend Gail's machine humming? ...I killed my two pfaffs and my most wonderful service man is having fits trying to fix them.) Also, between color changes I'm organizing and packing for a road trip to Chantilly, VA for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo where Gail and I will have a booth--drop by if you're local and say hi!  And, I really wanted to squeeze in the Front Fly Zipper before I leave tomorrow morning! 

Just for your FYI, I've already finished these jeans, and they fit great!  I so happy that I have a new pair to wear at the Expo.

Now for the Front Fly Zipper.  If you've never sewn a zipper before, don't sweat it...Let me show you how easy they are to put in. 

The first thing you want to consider is the zipper you're going to use.  Pick a zipper with a low profit...A big flashy pull or teeth aren't a good choice because they make it harder to get the fly pieces to lay flat when the fly zipper is completed.  The other thing is that you want to make sure that your zipper is about 1/4" shorter than the zipper seam allowance.  If it's longer,  sew a bar tack over the teeth at the right spot to shorten it.

I prefer YKK zippers.  I call up Archer Global Zippers & Trim in NYC
212-354-6095 -- they cut zippers to size and then they'll mail them right to your door! 
If you're going to be in NYC, they are at 244 W 39th St. 2nd Floor.

Clean-finish the raw edges of the zipper seam allowance and front crotch seams before you start
working on the zipper.

Position the zipper right sides together with the zipper seam allowance.  Stitch zipper being careful to sew exactly on the seam allowance (3/8" if you're using my patterns).   When you press the zipper to the wrong side, the fold at the base of the zipper seam allowance should be exactly even with the raw edge of the crotch seam below it.  Position the left front fly piece right sides together with the right front crotch edge.  Sew using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Use a piece of chalk to mark the 1/2" seam allowance along the lower left crotch

Use a piece of chalk to mark the 1/2" seam allowance along the zipper on the right leg. Put a piece of Wonder Tape along the twill of the zipper.    To insure that you end up with a nice flat zipper it's important to sew the other side of the zipper to the left fly piece in the correct position.  Here's how --  Peel the paper backing off the Wonder Tape.  Overlap the left leg over the right leg (the right leg has the zipper sewn onto it already).  Align the folded edge of the left front fly with the chalk line.  (You need to overlap the left leg over the right leg 1/2".)

When you have the two legs in position, gently press the denim onto the Wonder Tape along the zipper so that it sticks firmly.

Turn the left leg over to check out how the zipper is positioned on the left fly piece.  (The side of the zipper with the pin stuck in it is the left side.)  Notice how even the edge of the twill tape is with the edge of the front fly piece.

To sew the zipper in place, position the left fly piece against the feed teeth of your sewing machine (the back side of the zipper will be face up).  Stitch about 1/8" from the zipper teeth.  Make sure you're not catching anything else in the stitching.

Lay your jeans with an "almost" complete front fly zipper face up on your work surface.  Make sure the zipper and left fly piece are laying flat.  Press the 1/2" seam allowance on the left leg to the wrong side (along the chalk line).   Stick a couple of short pieces of Wonder Tape along the curve of the lower crotch seam allowance on the right leg. Fold the jeans in half, right sides together,  and match up the raw edges of the curved front crotch seam below the zipper.  Gently press them together to hold them in place. 

Lay your jeans flat again and make sure that the left crotch seam is folded exactly on the chalk line--(See picture above.  I've pulled it apart a little bit so you can see the zipper, left fly piece and chalk line.)

All you have to do now is topstitch the curved crotch seams together.  Start at the inseam and stitch along the folded edge of the crotch seam.  Stitch up until you've reached the bottom of the zipper twill tape.  Stitch across a couple (or few) stitches then pivot and stitch back down to the inseam.   Be careful not to stitch directly on top of the zipper stop at the bottom of the zipper, especially if it's metal!

Use chalk to draw out your fly detail.  I usually start 1 1/4" away from the left folded edge.  You can stitch one or two raws of topstitching to define your fly, it's up to you!

Finally, and I know it's a little unconventional, it's time to sew on the right front fly piece.  Fold it in half, matching the clean-finished edges.  Align these edges with the edge of the zipper seam allowance, pin in place.  The folded edge should extend past the zipper when it's laying flat.  Sew the right fly piece by stitching directly on top of the row of stitching used to hold the zipper onto the right leg.   (Make sure that you're only catching the seam allowances of the zipper and the double edge of the right fly piece.)

***This is a variation from the direction printed in my jeans patterns.  Both ways work, but I'm constantly experimenting to find better ways to do things.  The one plus for doing it this way is that you never have to worry about the right fly piece getting in the way when you're topstitching the crotch seam and the fly detail.

Have a great week...stay tuned for news from the Chantilly Original Sewing and Quilt Expo...and the week I get back, we'll finish these jeans up with back pockets, a great waistband technique and beltloops!

1 comment:

  1. I am going to try this...thanks for posting!! I will let you know how the instructions work out.