Zip it up

Ottobre design 5/2012, how your minimalist zip insertion instructions intimidated me. How I longed for a diagram. And yet. After stepping away for a bit, when I came back to the zip it seemed to go in really easily. Minimal and yet complete. Still, a diagram wouldn’t have gone amiss.

As I plan to make these again, I thought I’d take notes to help me next time. So they’re here as well, in case they ever help anyone else or in case anyone else feels like enlightening me on what I could’ve done better. I don’t claim to be an expert, I wasn’t convinced I knew what doing at times. But it seemed to work in the end.

Finish raw edges of crotch seam allowance. Stitch crotch seam from back waist to bottom of zipper placket.

So far so good. Seams finished with use of overlocking foot. Zipper placket, that’s where the bit where one of the fronts has a stickey out bit that the other doesn’t, right? Crotch seam duly sewn.

Finish raw curved edge of fly facing. Pin and stitch fly facing to right placket edge.


This was straight forward, once I’d worked out I had cut a mirror image of my fly facing and recut it the right way around.

Understitch seam allowance to facing close to seamline. Fold fly facing and pants front wrong sides together and edgestitch along center-front edge.



Simple enough. What’s next?

Fold fly shield piece in half, right sides together, and stitch it’s bottom edge.

Which edge is the bottom? Err, it must be the slanty one, right, cos there’d be no point having that slant inside the seam allowance at the waistband surely. And that would make it the right way up on your picture of all the pattern pieces. OK, I’m 90% sure it’s the slanty one, lets go for it.

Turn fly shield right side out and serge of siz sag its open edges together


fly shield assembled.

Pin and stitch left zipper tape to left edge of fly shield

Left zipper tape, this kind of thing always confuses me, that’s the bit that will be on the left when I’m wearing them is it? So the bit on the right as I look at it. Ok, so I need to pin it to the left edge of the fly shield. Hang on, which is the left edge? You haven’t told me this have you. And as it was folded in half during it’s construction it’s not clear from the picture of the pattern pieces either. Grr….

At this point our author sulked, went off, read a different fly insertion tutorial (done completely differently so it just confused her more), mulled it over and then came back

The folded edge must be the one I see once its constructed surely, so I’ll pin the zip to the finished edge, that has to be right.


zipper sewn to fly shield

Pin and stitch fly shield to left placket edge, right sides together and with zipper in between.


fly shield duely stitched to left placket edge

Turn fly shield right way up and edgestitch seam close to zipper


This is looking promising.

Close zipper and pin fly in position from right side, matching centre front marks.

Centrefront marks? Surely I marked those? They must’ve got rubbed off. Oh well, that looks about right….

Turn fly wrong side up and pin free zipper edge to fly facing only (not to pants front). Remove pins from right side, open zipper and stitch it to fly facing carefully.


In the process of attaching zipper to fly facing only

Close zipper, pin facing to pants front and topstitch fly, using pattern piece for fly facing as template (flip fly shield out of the way as you stitch).


Using fly facing pattern piece (which has no seam allowance added) as my template to mark stitching line. The pins are holding the fly shield out of the way so it doesn’t get stitched accidentally.

Topstitch crotch seam with two parallel rows of stiching

I swear this was not in the instructions when I was sewing. I missed this step out. I noticed later the stitching lines on the garment diagram and “knew” this step had been missed out of the instructions.

Stitch bar tacks on fly as shown in design sketch

Bar tacks, zig zag stitch length 0, that’ll do right?


My slightly wobbly topstitching and bar tacks

Fairly painless in the end, once I’d got over my sulk at being expected to know which was the left side of the fly shield. I knew I’d inserted flys ok before on The Boy’s trousers and my moss skirts which only made it worse. I did contemplate following the grainline moss zipper tutorial but I have got seriously confused in the past switching instructions – the pieces are never quite the same shape or referred to in the same way. Plus it somehow feels wrong to not follow the “right” instructions for what I’m doing, but maybe that’s just me? Although with things I’m more confident on, I just surge right ahead and do things the way that makes sense to me, so maybe I just need more practise?

Do you have a set methods for doing things that you do regardless of the instructions or are you a stickler for following the pattern to the t?

6 thoughts on “Zip it up

    • Thank you bluecarpainedgreen. This is actually an Ottobre pattern, rather than the Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans. I did like the look of them but thought I might as well use a pattern I already had. I suspect the Closet Case files has more detailed instructions!

  1. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Pledges, socks and jeans.

  2. Past me, I love you. I am making this pattern again and I did just start to get very confused, so I thought I’d see if I found any helpful pics that I posted before and I found this. Hoorah. Love future me.

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