If you aren’t a seamstress (or a seamster), stop right here. You’re going to be bored stiff otherwise. Come back another day, when I’ll have a music video or a book review or a picture of Ben Browder. Oh, what the heck.
There ya go. Gratuitous picture of Ben Browder. Now GO AWAY. The rest of you can stick around.
Here it is, by nobody’s demand — the sewn-on fly tutorial. Note that this isn’t the “correct” way to do a front fly, or necessarily the easiest way. It happens to be the way I like to do it, because it encloses all the messy edges, finishes the seams neatly, and looks good on the inside.
First off, you will have two mirror fronts that look like this. On the pattern piece, there is usually a large dot that indicates where the fly should begin. Mark the dot on the fabric, then sew the fronts together to the mark, backstitching to reinforce there.
The front of the skirt or pants should look like this.
The two pieces of your fly should look like this, except the single curved piece (the front fly) will sometimes face the other way, depending on which side your fly opens. Both pieces should be fully interfaced.
Fold the double-curved piece, right sides together, and sew across the bottom according to the pattern instructions. Trim close to the stitching. I like to use pinking shears for this because they notch the fabric and help the curve lay flat.
Finish the long side of the front fly piece, by serger or with a zigzag stitch.
Sew the front fly piece to the front, right sides together, stopping at the same mark you stopped at earlier.
There will be a small part that is not attached at the bottom. Ignore it, it will be tucked away when we fold the front fly over.
The wrong side should look like this. You can see my blue mark and where the stitching begins and ends.
Clip the seam allowance, close to the mark you made earlier, ONLY on the side where you've sewn the front fly.
Trim your seam allowance above the clip you made, grading the allowances so they are of a different width. I left one at 1/4" and one at 3/8".
Clip the OTHER seam allowance about 3/8" into the seam, directly below the fly, and press the seam back.
Finish the edge of the seam allowance above the clip. At this point, thanks to the two clips, it is easy to finish the bottom part of the seam allowance as one and press it to the side along with the front fly.
Baste the zipper to the 3/8" side of the fly, lining up the edge of the seam allowance with the zipper tape. Make sure the zipper stop lines up with the stitching mark on the fabric.
Finish the long side of the fly protector.
Baste the fly protector behind the zipper, lining up the 3/8" seam allowance, the zipper edge, and the edge of the protector on the wrong side.
Using a zipper foot, sew close to the zip through all of the basted layers. Remove basting stitches afterwards.
This is what your front fly should look like so far.
Now, a lot of instructions will tell you to fold the fly protector out of the way and sew your front fly to your zipper, catching all layers. I don't like to do that because it winds up looking strange -- see how narrow the fly would have to be to catch the zipper edge if I sewed it that way?
Instead, I do this. Pin the front fly to the unattached side of the zipper.
The flip side of the front fly with the pins.
Tuck the fly protector out of the way and stitch only through the front fly and the zipper.
Now the zipper is securely attached, but the fly front is not attached yet.
Now you can attach the fly at a reasonable width. I like to use painter's tape, cut (with cheap scissors) into the proper shape for a template.
Sew carefully, right by the edge of the tape. Remember to keep the fly protector folded away so it's not caught in the stitching.
When you get to the very end, you may find it useful to lift the presser foot and fold out the fly protector so you can catch all the layers at the bottom. Sew through the last half-inch a few times to make a tack.
This is what the outside of your fly should look like. The bottom part looks wonky because of the fabric print, but it's actually curved nicely.
AND....ta-da! The pretty inside of your new fly.
Goodness, it sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? I promise, doing it is much easier than reading about it. Also, once you’ve done a couple (or ten), then most of this stuff becomes second nature.
Good luck! Come back soon, we often discuss our flies around here.