Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mastering the the Tailored Fly (Jeans)

It wasn’t until I had been sewing for many years that I discovered how the traditional tailored fly actually worked! I had made many pairs of trousers and the fly seemed to work when finished, but it was purely by mystery rather than mastery. It wasn’t until I had to teach others how do them that I devised a foolproof method that gives the same result every time. Discussion regarding whether a fly opening should be different for men and women has always boggled me, but my opinion is that the men’s opening is the best way for all “right handed” people. Most fashion garments have the male opening by default, so it’s really an individual’s choice!

This photo shows the “grown on” fly extension that most patterns have these days. If your pattern does not have this, just attach the fly facing to the trouser front, laying centre front stitching lines on top of each other and secure with some tape while cutting out. I like to mark a line 2cm (3/4”) out from the centre front fold line to indicate the cutting line for the right front of the trouser. Chalk in the Centre Front lines as well as the zip opening point as a reference during making up.

Although it’s not shown in the photos, the fly extension has been lightly interfaced and this interfacing goes over the fold line and into the topstitching area of the trouser front. Stabilizing the fly area makes topstitching a much easier task. The raw edges have been neatened by a three thread wide stitch on a serger (overlocker) as has the edge of the turned out fly facing.

Stitch from the crotch area up to the zip notch marking. This seam may need a couple of reinforcing rows of stitching or use the “triple stitch” if you machine has one.

With a large machine tacking stitch, sew the fly opening closed by stitching up the centre front lines that you have chalked in. There is no need to back tack at either end of this tacking due to its imminent removal.
Press open this seam to as far below the zip notch as possible. If you are wanting a sporty finish on your fly opening, now is a good time to put in the edge topstitching in on the edge of the opened seam to a few stitches below the zip stop notch. This step is purely optional and is used only when a “jeans” effect/finish is desired.



In this image it shows the zip being applied to the “trimmed” side of the fly opening. This is done with a 1cm (3/8”) seam or the width of the zip tape. Stitch from the top (waist) down to the bottom of the zip notch area.

Lightly press this seam from the right side of the zip and press into position to form the “lap” that is required to keep the zip well hidden when the fly in completed (there is a small pleat formed when you lift the un-stitched side of the zip up). The image below shows the pleat that has been formed under the zip tape that has been lifted for the photo.
Lay the remaining side of the zip against the fly extension and pin into position. Make sure that the small pleat that forms the “lap” is still in place. Stitch into position but be prepared to push the zip runner down when stitching this seam.
Mark line for you topstitching.


It’s not cheating to do this and a “shot glass” makes a great template for the bottom curve of the stitching line. Complete the topstitching through all layers. Beware of a lurking zip stopper waiting to crunch your needle. In this photo you will also see the fake top stitching along the folded edge of the fly, remember this was put in when we did the initial long tacking stitch and pressed the seam open.



Pin the fly facing into position as shown in the photo, then topstitch the fly facing though all layers as if edge stitching (stitch from top to bottom as it is much easier).

The first couple of times doing this technique seems a little odd, especially not attaching the zip facing until the very last, but it does work and does so consistently well. Once mastered, trouser making is a breeze, so…X-Y-Z (examine your zips!)

IMHO: Every machine has a different set up when it comes to using thickier top stitching thread for jeans. Over the past year I have experimented with a lot of different threads and needles. Over all the conclusion is that "Inspira" denim needles give the best results (100/16 or 110/18) and there is less "loopies" when stiching over bulky seams. Some machines just don't like using these heavier threads but I've found that these needles eliminate problems on 90% of fussy machines. If there is a Pfaff/Husqvarna/Singer dealer in your area then you should be able to find these needles.

1 comment:

  1. Great tutorial, I definitely need to try this method :)

    ReplyDelete