New Jeans Zipper Fly Tutorial

Jeans zipper flies

I am making a rub-off jeans pattern for one of my kids. When I got to the zipper fly, I compared the child-sized zipper to adult-sized ones, and to my surprise, they were about the same width. It varied a little from pair to pair, but my husband’s fly topstitching was almost the same width as that on child’s size 6 pair of jeans. So, that got me thinking that rather than trace the zipper fly pieces for this pair of jeans, I could just make a zipper fly template and use the same pattern when I make myself jeans, too. I’d just change the length of the pattern pieces, and maybe I’d make the topstitching a couple of millimeters further from the edge for adult jeans.

Despite the fact that I’ve sewn over a dozen zipper flies, they still make my head spin. I’ll get it all figured out, then after not sewing one for a year, I’ll have forgotten everything. For self-drafted patterns, I was using a variation of the women’s zipper fly instructions in the original version of the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. I wasn’t really happy with this method. There is one step in particular, where you have to fold up the end of the zipper tape to keep from stitching through it, that I tend to mess up half the time and have to pick out my stitches.

I want to sew real jeans zipper flies that look like the ones on ready-to-wear jeans. I looked through all of my sewing patterns and only found instructions for sewing mock flies (the fly facing is part of the pants front and folded over rather than sewn on). I looked through all of my sewing and patternmaking books and struck out there too. I looked through a dozen or so zipper fly tutorials on the internet, and every single one was for sewing a mock fly. Except they don’t call them that anymore. They just call them a zipper fly. I’d be OK with a mock fly on a skirt, maybe dress pants, or even little girls’ jeans, but darn it, I wanted to sew a “real” jeans zipper fly and I couldn’t find instructions for one. So what did I do? I figured it out myself and wrote a tutorial, of course.

There seems to be no end of variations on how to sew a zipper fly, so I’m not worried about doing it “the right way”. There really doesn’t appear to be such a thing as “the right way” to sew a fly. Even looking through the zipper flies on the ready-to-wear pants in my house, I can see they used different construction methods.

Zipper fly template

Jeans Zipper Fly Tutorial

If anyone knows of any other good zipper fly tutorials (ones with a sewn on fly facing, not a mock fly), please post a link in the comments.

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Posted in Patternmaking, Sewing
2 comments on “New Jeans Zipper Fly Tutorial
  1. ozviking says:

    Hi Leila! What an interesting observation regarding the width of a child zipper fly compared to an adult. I have not studied your tutorial as yet – but I will!!!!
    I learnt how to do a proper zipper fly in Kenneth D King’s class on Craftsy, and interesting enough, when I showed my pattern making teacher my ‘couture jeans’ she was quite surprised when she saw my fly “you made a REAL zipper fly?, How nice!!” Prior to that I had always used Burda patterns (they fit me the best) and used their fold over flap as you discussed above.
    I am in the process of gathering supplies to make your half sized dress form. Thank you so much for putting that on the web for all to see and learn from. It must have taken you a long time and a lot of work to figure that out. I will let you know with a blog post (and reference to you) how I get on. I also bought your pattern for a woven fabric cover from Craftsy My dream is to make all my own patterns – but there is a lot to learn and I am only just beginning. Lene

    • Leila says:

      I have been curious about the Kenneth King’s Jean-ius class, but my home internet access isn’t that great and I can’t watch videos. I haven’t been quite motivated enough to go take my laptop to the library to watch it. Plus, I’m not into the whole “couture” idea. As long as my clothes look close to ready-to-wear on the outside, I’m happy.

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