How To Sew A Fly Front Zipper

How to sew a fly front zipper. I;d always been intimidated but actually this looks easy!

I made some shorts last year, quite some time ago now, from a commercial pattern. A Simplicity I think it was. Not to speak ill of the large pattern companies, but well, they clearly assumed I knew how to sew a fly front zipper and that therefore they barely needed to bother showing it in the instructions.  This is all it said:

“Install fly front zipper to center front of shorts.”

I battled with that project and used my seam ripper more times than I care to remember. Their tiny illustrations were cryptic and the sewing pattern instructions far too brief.

I got there in the end, but it certainly put me off trying it again for a good long time.

Fast forward to today and I'm designing a skirt. I know exactly the sort of skirt I want to make. I had one just like it years ago and wore the thing until it fell apart, so I wanted to make a pattern just like it. Except it had a zipper at the center front – horror! My stomach turned over at the very thought of it.

How to sew a fly front zipper. I;d always been intimidated but actually this looks easy!

Not to be deterred, I pulled out those shorts, got back to work and have mastered this new skill at last. Looking back, I don't know why I found it so hard – probably just the terrible instructions. I think its probably the easiest zipper to add if you are fairly new, because its hidden so if its a little wonky if your stitches aren't as perfect as they should be – no one will even see it.

Not unless they have their face right next to your crotch – in which case they probably know you well enough not to worry about your uneven stitching!

How to sew a fly front zipper

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You can do it!

See – it's just a series of a few very simple steps.  All easy enough to do, no need to sew absolutely perfectly. Just carry them out in the right order and you can easily sew a pretty neat fly front zipper in your pants, skirt or shorts.

Now I am confident in sewing this zipper, I need to get to work on that skirt.  That pattern's not going to draw itself!  There will be a new skirt pattern coming up soon – the ‘On Safari Skirt' and I think you'll love it.  It was my favorite skirt of all time, and now it's my favorite pattern too.

How to sew a fly front zipper. I;d always been intimidated but actually this looks easy!

And now there is no need to be deterred by that fly front zipper – you can do it.  Maybe practice first like I did and you'll soon be confident enough to try out the pattern.  When learning a new skill, you can always practice on scraps first before using that new skill on your real project.  No one ever does it all right first time, and practice makes perfect!

There are lots more sewing tutorials and skills you can learn over on the Sewing Tutorials page.  Go take a look and try something new today!


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Lydia
Lydia

Thank you for sending this out again. Finally, understand what I need to do to complete the shorts that have been in my UFO pile for over a year.

Gloria K
Gloria K

Thank you for this very helpful tutorial!

Mayra Cecilia
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Gloria K

Very happy you found it useful.

Sandra Crosbie
Sandra Crosbie

Oh my goodness. I have three items rolled up and put in the ” box of shame ” I call this box this name, because I feel like I wasted the fabric that I used for these unfinished articles. I had bought a Simplicity pattern too, hoping that I would clearly see how to sew a zip. But no. So I will happily learn how to sew one.

Mayra Cecilia
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Sandra Crosbie

This is a very curious comment; it has inspired me to write a post. Thank you!

Carolyn Newsome
Carolyn Newsome

I think you will find that men’s zippers have some protection for their anatomy in the form of an extra “under-flap”. I believe that’s what stymies sewists.

Suzanne
Suzanne

Thank you so much! 60+ years of sewing and I’ve never been able to do this, despite making a variety of projects from underwear to wedding gowns. Now I know! And you are a blessing!!! Thanks again.

Clovis
Clovis

Thanks for the video. Sometimes, zippers can be hard to put in.

Gail
Gail

Hi All,
I join you in the “Avoiding the lapped zipper” club! I quilt more than I sew these days & I’ve been sewing for 50 plus years but I still avoid them if I can. This makes me feel like I can now tackle them! I also wanted to add that all the zipper talk brought me back to the late 60’s when the rage was the “invisible zipper”. Good grief; every little mini skirt I made called for them & after “unsewing” aka “ripping out” those stinking things, I always took them to my Dad. For whatever reason he could picture the zipper & place it correctly to be sewn…happy memories!

Wanda
Wanda

I have sewed for going on sixty years now, and when I started, I learned a lot from patterns. Later on I got a couple of books, but at first it was just the pattern directions. More recently I have used a couple of commercial patterns and I wonder how any beginner ever gets anything done. The instructions are abysmal. It doesn’t matter to me, but I do feel sorry for the young folks starting out.

Kim
Kim

I agree – today’s patterns leave much to be desired! I learned to put in zippers when I was about 12, and those instructions were in the patterns of the day. The finishing instructions all assume you have a serger or other expensive machine, and that you’re ok with “industrial” finishes (they don’t last).

Cathy
Cathy

Thank you so much for the fly tutorial! You have allayed my fear! Also looking forward to the safari skirt. I had one from Banana Republic years ago and it finally fell apart

Shanta Roy

IM trying to sew a zipper in a dress with the top of the dress is white and the bottom is red. What color zipper would you use so it does not show

Mayra Cecilia
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Shanta Roy

I would use an invisible zipper in nude colour.

Becky
Becky

Awesome demonstration!! You definitely make it look easy!!

Jayne Adkins
Jayne Adkins
Reply to  Becky

We learned this in 1974 when we learned to make jeans. We also put a bar tack just above the curve to keep the zipper from shifting. Great demo!!!

Louise
Louise

I have been sewing for 45 years & have never tried a fly front. They have terrified me for too long. Oh my goodness you make it so see easy! Now I can’t wait to try it! Lol?

Lynn Padbury
Lynn Padbury

Could you PLEASE put written instructions along with the videos??? Please?? It is almost impossible to follow a video and try to sew/measure/align/rip/etc., at the same time, especially if the sewing machine and computer are not in the same room!!

June L
June L

THANK YOU!! Simple, clear, concise instructional video!!

Julie H
Julie H

>>Not unless they have their face right next to your crotch – in which case
>>they probably know you well enough not to worry about your uneven stitching

LOL – thanks for the very unexpected belly laugh to go along with this excellent tutorial 🙂

Vlierbloesem
Vlierbloesem

Good tutorial. This will help many people.

Maxine M Palmer
Maxine M Palmer

Do you have any goat fabric?

Pascale Oomen
Pascale Oomen

I have seen and used many different ways to make these kind of zippers. This was the best way ive ever seen BY FAR.
Many thanks for this

suzi
suzi

this is super helpful. is there a follow up video re. attaching the waistband? have a self drafted trouser pattern that i love, but so far have just used an invisible zipper at the back, and keen to give a proper fly a go. however, anxious that i don’t miscalculate / muddle the waistband part of the process. any help gratefully received!!

colleen1974
colleen1974

your video wont’ work ??

Elo
Elo

Wow. So relieved. Tot i wd never get it. Am gonna try it right away. Thnks

Sarah
Sarah

This was the best tutorial ever!!!! You really simplified a mysterious process for me. Thanks!

Sue
Sue

Thought maybe I would never get it……but you have saved my sanity. Thank you for a clear and easy to follow video on how to put in a zip fly…….I now understand how to do it. My husband can now move around the house freely rather than tiptoeing gingerly so as not to disturb my concentration, radios can be turned on, tv programmes watched, birds can sing, children can play…….. The world can continue about its’ business…….. I understand at last!!! Thank you profusely.

Mayra Cecilia
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Sue

Hi Sue, thanks so much for your kind comments.

Meg
Meg

Thank you so much! You’ve solved the mystery for me. Very very clear and easy to follow!

Jane S.
Jane S.

So so helpful! Thank you so very much!

Puzzle
Puzzle

The lesson was very clear and I love that you included all the details. Thanks much you were a big help

Barbara
Barbara

Thank you so much! First time I’ve ever understood this!

*applause*

angela
angela

Thank you for tutorials can u post how to sew zipper for men’s pants

Deby at So Sew Easy
Reply to  angela

I’m not exact sure of what you mean. Is it different for a man than a woman? Do you have a picture of what you are trying to sew for me to look at?

Sandra Warnock
Sandra Warnock

Hi Deby

I have followed with great interest ever since I came across you on the net.

I love that you are so straight forward, clear to understand, and your ideas are tried and true, and that while the clothes and other things you make are always lovely and complimentary to wearers, you are not tied to ‘latest fashion’.

I love your site.

Deby at So Sew Easy
Reply to  Sandra Warnock

That is so kind of you Sandra, thank you. I’ll be honest, out here on the island I wouldn’t even know that the latest fashion is, but I’ll try to sew clothes I actually want to wear. I hope I can continue to bring out some more patterns you’ll like in 2015.

Shannon R
Shannon R

Deby you make it look so easy! I’ve been sewing for years, but I still am afraid to put in a fly front zipper. I have no problem with invisible zippers! I think I’m going to have to watch your video (watch/pause/sew/watch/pause/sew) the first time I attempt this, but I don’t except any trouble. Thank you so much for breaking this down into understandable steps!

Gail Beam
Gail Beam

Love your instructions! You make it look so easy!
Gail

Lynette Rheynolds
Lynette Rheynolds

Thank you for this great and easy tutorial. Been struggling with this zipper installation but now will be much easier.

anneweaver1974

Thank you for sharing this! I’ve got a post on Craft Gossip that links to your tutorial:
http://sewing.craftgossip.com/video-tutorial-how-to-install-a-fly-front-zipper/2014/12/27/
–Anne

Deby at So Sew Easy
Reply to  anneweaver1974

Thanks so much Anne. always a pleasure to get a feature.