13 April 2013

Jeans #9 (Part 5 - fly front)

Constructing the fly this time around took longer than usual.  I had to pick out stitches on the fly a few times.  This isn't my best work, but I'm ready to move on.

I can't emphasize enough how clear and thorough the instructions and drawings are in Jalie patterns!  Jeanne and Emilie (mother and daughter co-owners) take care to ensure that the instructions are easy to read and adequately match the drawings.  For those who are used to sewing from the American pattern companies, the only thing to remember is the color scheme for right and wrong sides is reversed in Jalie.  In American pattern companies, the right side is dark/shaded and the wrong side is white; in Jalie, it is the opposite.  The instructions and drawings are so good, I've not had a problem adjusting.

Fly (1 hour 27 minutes)

1.  Interface the zipper fly area.  If you made an alteration to the waist, don't forget to adjust the fly interfacing pattern piece as well.  Yes, you read correctly!  The pattern includes a separate piece just for the fly interfacing.  How nice is that?  This piece becomes useful again later in the construction of the fly.  Baste along the edge of the fly (as shown).  Switch to a regular stitch length at the dot, backstitch to lock the stitches at this point, and continue sewing along the crotch seam (at 3/8").

2.  Clip diagonally toward the dot beneath the fly and press the seam open above the clip.  The crotch seam is pressed to the left side.

3.  The instructions for the next step read as follows:

"On right side of front, topstitch 3 mm (1/8’’) right of center front [emphasis mine] (fig. 24a – view from right side of front, fig. 24b – view from wrong side of front)."

When I first read this, I thought I was to topstitch to my right of center front so that the stitching appears on the opposite side of the ink pen (as shown below).  The drawing clearly shows that the stitching goes on the same side as the ink pen (which when worn will be on your left).  If you stitch the other side, then the stitching will appear on the wrong side of the fly, thus creating the possibility for the fly to lap right over left (standard in means jeans/pants) instead of left over right which is the norm for women's jeans/pants.  So to stitch "right of center front" means to sew the line on the right side of the center front as viewed in the photo, not as how it will be worn on the body.  I hope this makes sense!

Once the front side is topstitched, the inside should look like this.  The center front crotch seam should be stitched in place toward the left (as shown in the diagram).  I forgot to serge the crotch seam before stitching - so be sure to do so before basting the center front!

4. Wrong sides up, take the right half of the front and fold it under the left so that the right fly extension is shown.

Pin the zipper face down onto the right fly extension with the zipper teeth along the center front.  This method of inserting a fly front is very similar to Sandra Betzina's method - except that I think she doesn't put the zipper teeth as close to the center front.  I haven't watched her video in a while, so I don't remember exactly.

Use a zipper foot to sew the zipper, stitching close to the teeth.

5.  Grab the un-stitched  side of the zipper and flip it, along with the right fly extension, so that the right side of the zipper is face up.

Stitch along the folded edge through all layers (taking the fold and zipper tape and keeping the front of the jeans free).  This fold should be relatively even.  If mine is off by a lot, I normally unpick the zipper and start over.  In this photo, the fold is slightly off at the top.  I let it go. =)

6.  Lay the jeans front wrong sides up.  Grab the left fly extension and flip the left front under the right front.  Stitch along the zipper tape catching the left front fly only.  Jalie recommends sewing close to the zipper teeth.  I stitch somewhere in the center of the zipper tape and haven't had a problem.  

Notice that my zipper is longer than the center front.  I don't cut the zipper until I am ready to attach the waistband.  I've pulled the zipper tab off enough times to be patient with the scissors!

7.  On the inside, pin through all layers  below the zipper stop.  You should be able to see the pin from the front side.

Use the fly interfacing piece to trace a line for topstitching on the jeans front.  I don't like a wide topstitching area around my fly front, so I place the straight edge slightly past the center front and trace from there. 

Betzina recommends sewing from the curve to the waist.  While this does provide better control, it takes some practice to master.  I had to re-do the topstitching a couple of times and it's still not as straight as I'd like it to be.

8.  Add a second row of topstitching from the bottom of the fly front along the front crotch seam.  Open the center front by cutting the basting stitches only.

9.  Fold the fly shield wrong sides together along the long edge.  I use my serger to finish all of the raw edges.  (Even though I serged the waist edge, it's needed because this edge will be encased in the waistband.)

Pin the fly shield to the right zipper extension (keeping jeans right front free) and stitch.  Jalie recommends trimming the right zipper extension before sewing, but I found it very difficult to catch the edge if I trimmed it first.  Instead, I attached the fly shield and trimmed afterwards.  Then, I sewed a zigzag stitch along the newly sewn edge for more security.

10.  Sew bar tacks in two places to secure the fly shield.  To make the bar tacks, I use a zigzag stitch with a width of 2.0 and length of 0.5.  Normally this isn't a problem with topstitching thread, but I had trouble making the bar tacks on this pair.  I had to pick each bar tack twice and the end result still isn't as nice as I'd like it to be.  The placement of the bar tacks is up to you.  I've seen them placed on both the inside and outside topstitching lines.  Originally I had mine on the outside lines, but the fabric was weakened in this area from all of the unpicking.

Next up:  sew and fit the inseams and side seams, attach the belt loops, attach the waistband, hem, and work/attach buttonhole and tack.  I hope to have this finished soon.  I am ready to move on to the next project!

Time recap:

1.  prep - 33 minutes
2.  back pockets - 91 minutes
3.  back - 30 minutes
4.  front pockets - 61 minutes
5.  fly - 87 minutes

Total time:  5 hours, 2 minutes

Until next time, peace & be well!


  1. Another great tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to take all the pics and post.

    Very helpful.

    1. Thank you BeaJay! I'm glad you found the post helpful.

  2. Very clear instructions - although I understand your frustration with the zip - must be something around at the moment because I have also been redoing one!

    1. Thanks Sarah. Indeed zippers can be a pain. Unpicking very short zigzag stitches in heavy thread is no day at the park either. =)

  3. Hi Lady,

    I really appreciate this particular tutorial.... I handled my zipper differently on my first pair, and I wasn't too happy with it. It looked fine on the outside, but I felt there was real room for sharpening the quality of the internal structure. I didn't cut off the zipper at the top. I cut it off at the bottom (per Butterick instructions). I should have known better.... Again, this is a great tutorial!

    1. Thank you! I've shortened a zipper from the bottom before, but I like doing it this way instead. Plus, I don't want to risk damaging my machine trying to create a zipper stop by zigzagging over metal teeth.

  4. I didn't know that you could adjust the zipper from the top. I'm so glad that you're going through the process step-by-step because I'm learning so much!

    1. Absolutely! I find it much easier to cut the zipper off at the top for two reasons: (1) I don't have to contend with making another stop at the bottom, and (2) I don't have to worry about the little gap of space between the top of the zipper and the bottom of my waistband. When I cut the zipper, I use regular scissors and cut between the teeth.

  5. FABULOUS tutorial. You REALLY are making me want to make a pair of jeans and I appreciate all of your expertise on the topic! Nice work here!

    1. Thank you! You can certainly make some jeans. I've seen the fabulousness you've created and know for sure you can do it.

  6. This is definitely going to be super helpful when I try my hands at pants making! Thanks for sharing :)

    p/s: And thank you for all your kind wishes and comments too... I truly appreciate it... Extra reason that I am happy that I sew - meeting people like you.


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate and read them all - even if I can not personally respond.


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