Front Fly Zipper in Slacks or Jeans

JeansThe traditional zipper you see on off-the-shelf jeans or pants works well in a manufacturing environment because special machines can make them very quickly, although it's not necessarily the best technique or the best finished product. . A fake fly is a great option for household sewers and is a good compromise that gives the same look but is much more practical. This method is a very deep version of an overlapping zipper that requires little extra preparation to be successful.

To start

1. Make the following marks on the fabric section. (See Figure 1)

  • Do a stitch at the bottom of the zipper. (#1 on diagram)
  • Stitch at the beginning of the seam. (#2 on diagram)
  • Clip at the top of the Center Front line. (#3 on diagram)

2. Sew from the lower opening point (#2 on diagram) down 2 1/2″ toward the crotch using very small stitches. Do not sew the entire seam!

Figure 1

under the flap

3. Decide which bottom zipper flap will be.

4. Fold the underflap wrong sides together from the seam allowance to within 5/8″ of the clip at the top center line of the front. This should allow the underflap to fold evenly.

5. Apply a glue stick to the underside of the folded flap and attach it to the zipper as close to the teeth as possible.

6. Sew the fabric over the zipper as close to the teeth as possible.

Figure 2


7. Fold the other flap of the center clip down the opening. (Figure 3)

8. Match the clips and pin the folded edges flat to the front.

9. Use a glue stick to apply the glue stick to the loose top of the zipper and apply the top to the flap, making the top parallel to the zipper.

picture 3

10. Lay the garment flat, feeling the edge of the zipper. Using the zipper wrapper as a straight edge, mark the seam line stopping 3″ from the end with a pen, pencil, or removable chalk. (Figure 4).

11. Using the bottom curve of the zipper wrapper as a template, finish drawing the seam line, ending at the bottom of the opening.

12. Starting at the top, sew on the traced line for 2″ and stop.

Figure 4

Fabric handling for zippers

Practice handling the fabric while sewing to avoid puckering on the overlapping section as shown in Figure 5.

As the foot glides over the fabric, it presses on only one side of the needle. This exerts an uneven push and pushes the fabric on the side of the foot faster than the other, creating the diagonal folds that often occur along the overlap piece.

Prevention of this problem requires manipulation. Note that this grip will feel awkward at first, but with a little practice, you'll love the results.

  • Once the zipper is in place, start sewing from top to bottom and continue for about 2″. Stop sewing and, with your hands flat on the surface of the fabric, push the side the foot is on back about 1″.
  • Wrinkles will form on the surface, but will even out with the force of the foot.
  • Sew forward about 3″ allowing your hands to move evenly with the fabric.
  • Stop, readjust your hands in the same way for the next section and repeat this process until you reach the end of the zipper.
  • Turn at an angle and sew to the seam.
  • Reduce the stitch length to 0 and make 3 or 4 stitches.
  • After removing it from the machine, pull the two threads back, then separate them to tighten the knot.


~Gale Grigg Hazen, edited from an article in a previous issue of Notions

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