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Video: Easy-to-Sew Flat Fly-Front Zipper

Gary Junken

If a pair of homemade slacks look “homemade”, it’s probably because of the way the zipper was inserted. Sandra Betzina, TV host and author, advises, “Ignore the instructions that came with your pattern. Most are so complicated, you’ll give up and switch to a lapped zipper insertion.”

In her book Power Sewing Step-by-Step, Sandra gives detailed instructions for converting any zipper opening to a fly front, and in this video she demonstrates the procedure.

In preparation, ensure the that existing extension is 1-3/8 in. wide and 8 in. long. If converting, merely add the extension beyond the center-front cutting line.

For more zipper techniques like this one by purchase a print subscription of Threads, or by becoming a Threads Insider. Print subscriptions and Insider memberships include FREE tablet editions.


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  1. Bryden | | #1

    Love the video.... Makes it so much easier to do if you can see what exactly happens.... Wish I could save it on my computer for reference....

    Thanks so much for a great resource.

    Bryden - New Zealand

  2. locomouse | | #2

    An awesome video, Sandra... takes the whole headache (and heartache) out of a fly-front zipper installation. Pure genius!

    Thanks ever so much for your time and willingness to share!

    Helen - Ontario, Canada

  3. User avater
    canei | | #3

    PERFECT...I did this today. Results were fab. This is my fly front technique forever!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. bobine | | #4

    Excellent video. Very clear, step by step. Great refresher for the experienced sewer or excellent technique for the not so advanced.
    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  5. LadyMynydd | | #5

    Have just spent days trying to work out how to insert fly-front zipper, following pattern instructions! In desperation I turned to internet and came across this video: suddenly I feel able to do it! Thank you so very much!

  6. canardlysew | | #6

    I hate doing zippers, because the way I was taught in school back in the 60's was so complicated using a sewing machine that I always had someone else do it for me. I just bought a pattern for a pants suit from Vogue which I would love to make and am grateful for this video, as it has shown me a completely different and easier method to use.

  7. Grannie_Annie | | #7

    Thank you so much for this video instruction. Fly zippers have been my nemisis for decades. I'd start out making a fly zipper and then give up, sew the seam in the front and make a back zipper........grrrrrrrrrr.

    Thanks to you, I have two perfectly sewn fly zippers and now have the choice of front, back, or side openings. I'm the clearance queen and love boasting at work that I made my pants for less than $4.00. It helps to boast if the zipper looks good. smiles.

    Thanks again

  8. HookedOnEmbroidery | | #8

    I have always been afraid of sewing on zippers.
    Now, I can do more sewing without being afraid of messing up.

    Thank you for having this invaluable video for me to look at if I feel stuck.

    I also love the fact that I can email this to myself and have all the videos I need in my email folder for refrencses.

    Again, thank you sooooo much.

  9. Frankfurt2 | | #9

    It is really nice to see how things can be "de-complexed"

  10. Kyla | | #10

    Thank you so much for showing that zipper video, i always had a hard time with it. My zippers wil look much better now.

  11. Kyla | | #11

    Thank you so much for that zipper video i always had a hard time with it i think i will do much better.

  12. RBJarmon | | #12

    Exactly what I needed! I knew I could learn if I had the right teacher. Thank you so much.

  13. Fashionart | | #13

    Great video for the Fly Front Zip, struggling to work out the details from a Burda pattern Magazine. I turned to the internet for help, this video makes it so much easier, I have Bookmarked it on my Computer that is one way to save it for reference. Great.


  14. pichicoco | | #14

    Hello! Thank you so much for this wonderful video, i love it. this is the kind of instruction that make sewing fun.

  15. sewgnu | | #15

    This video was soooo good! After struggling along trying to work out instructions that seemed to encourage discouragement, I found this video. It was so easy to follow,- watched a little, then hit pause - did the step, hit play and watched - hit pause then did the next step and before I knew it, the zipper was in. Thanks very much. You're the best!

    British Columbia, Canada

  16. User avater
    MaddyGranma | | #16

    Along with buttonholes, I have avoided patterns that I liked because they had zippers! This video was great, a definate I Can Do It!

  17. DoubleH | | #17

    This was quite simply, AWESOME!!! Thank you so much. I just about gave up on Halloween costumes this year because I just could not figure out how to do the zipper with a Vogue pattern. Ay yay yay! You saved Halloween! Thank you so much!!!

  18. PattLytle | | #18

    Where is the video?

  19. morrisbon | | #19

    Thanks for this helpful video. I've bookmarked this video for a reference when I finally put in my first fly front zipper in the first pair of jeans I plan on starting to sew in the next few days. (I'm actually using the Vogue Pattern #7608 that is previously mentioned.) I've put in a regular type zipper before but have always avoided this flyfront style because I could never figure it out! It was really neat to see this zipper actually being sewn. Now here's hoping I can only do it!

  20. linuxwitch | | #20

    I've never done a zipper like this before, but this gives me hope! Absolutely perfect!

  21. BlumenkinderHeirloom | | #21

    I agree. This video is excellent. I re-did a fly using Sandra's method, and it looks great! Thanks so much for sharing your talent and experience.

  22. User avater
    marinowel | | #22

    It looks so easy
    Thanks for sharing
    I can't wait to give it a try

  23. Snuzal | | #23

    Well I just have to join in and say I LOVE this. I make a lot of pants, and this is my TNT method of putting a flat fly front zip in. I don't use the video now, but will ALWAYS use this technique, why pattern companies make their instructions so complicated, I'll never know.

    Fab tutorial

  24. User avater
    JulieAnnO | | #24

    You made it look so easy. I am ready to try it on a skirt. I should say ready to hide it in a skirt. Thanks for sharing hour talent.

  25. theministerswife | | #25

    This is a great tutorial but what do you do with the zipper that is sticking out at the top? That part of the tutorial seems to be missing.

  26. User avater
    lourspolaire | | #26

    I am a man sewing my own dress pants and dress shirts. I have always managed to make my clothes look hand-made, or taylor-made, as opposed to home-made (a no-no with me). I found this video a few days ago and right away, I adapted my dress pants pattern so this technique could be tried. I cut 2 dress pants front and proceeded to use the technique shown. The results were astounding. I had learned to make one of those zippered flies when I started to sew 20 years ago, as part of a haute-couture class. My dress pants flies always looked fine, but they were so much more trouble than this technique. And the top-stitched J-line was always a dicey thing, at best. With this awesome technique, everything fell into place and the finished sample was as nice as the ones I had been making all this time, but in 1/3 the time. Thank you so much! One thing I added: I am not fond of slashing the seam allowance. So, I machine-stitch a long buttonhole that runs from the seam itself all the way to the seam allowance's edge. I can then slash the seam allowance and nothing frays. Again, thank you so much.


  27. Bryden | | #27

    This is a superb technique.... I have an earlier version saved to disk when I recorded one of her sewing shows...

    Thanks for providing the link for it -


  28. User avater
    Sewista | | #28

    This technique is fabulous and I preach to every sewist I know.

    LoursPolaire, your buttonhole trick is brilliant. Thank you!

    For the Minister's Wife, the zipper is left long until the waist band is installed. Once that happens the seam secures the zipper and the excess can be cut off. Always use a zipper longer than needed. It prevents that little hole that can happen at the top of a zip on skirts and pants. It is also WAY easier to install as you do not have to stitch around the zipper pull.

  29. marijandel | | #29

    The days of learning from family/school are over. so few people sew now and sewing education is hard to come by.
    I think this is a history making video and to those of you who allow access to this video, thank you SO MUCH for it.
    Sewers of the future will be as gratefulas those of us who have been given the opportunity to learn from Sandra.
    It is without a doubt the easiest, neatest and good looking zip I have ever done. I will NEVER make a pair of front zipper pants any other way and am taking this to my sewing group.

  30. GrammieSewer | | #30

    This works great for skirts too! I put a fly zipper in a skirt with no waist band and just slid the zipper down to the normal position with the ends of the tape at the skirt top, then sewed out a little farther on the zipper tape so that the zipper tab was not a problem to sew around. Turned out beautiful!!

  31. LindzS | | #31

    I know this is an old post, but I'm hoping people are still here to help with my question! This is a great video, so easy to use, but when I was finished with my beautiful new zipper my two fabric pieces were uneven when I laid it flat - one side was significantly longer than the other - about an inch. Is this normal, or did I do something wrong?

  32. Candy_s | | #32

    Great video from a good instructor.

  33. User avater
    GeniKnits | | #33

    Is Sandra using a denim? I am beginning my first pair of designer jeans and really want them to look fabulous. I suppose that this technique can be used with any pants, right?

  34. imdvine | | #34

    he part of the zipper that sticks out at the top will be hidden inside the waistband when it issewn on

  35. user-3026658 | | #35

    Will this technique work on a pair of jeans as well?

  36. User avater
    IreneT | | #36

    The extra zipper length can be snipped off once the waistband is sewn in. Sandra does say that which way you face the overlap is a personal choice but after I put the zipper on my husband's trousers in the same way as my own he told me men have the flap on the opposite side same as buttons on a shirt.

  37. catstexas | | #37

    Great tutorial and I hope Threads continues to carry it. I refer to it every time I install a fly zipper.

  38. User avater
    Snowlady4715 | | #38

    Why do women need a fly in their skirt/slacks/pants? I wish the year was posted with the date on the comments. We don't know how long they've been here plus I seldom see any answers to questions here. Today's date is 2/26/2016. I love Threads' information, videos, etc. Please keep up the good work!

  39. User avater
    JennyRichards1 | | #39

    Thank God there is a video. It is on my to-do list.

  40. User avater
    ChelseaConway | | #40

    Excellent tutorial, definitely in my DIY projects list.

  41. User avater
    IreneT | | #41

    I used this on a pair of trousers for my husband, unfortunately he pointed out that a man's fly opens the opposite way to a lady's, same as shirt buttons and he is not happy! Do be careful to reverse sides.

  42. PassiveLead | | #42

    I learnt today this ! Great one easy to understand!

  43. BonBon22 | | #43

    I am 72 years old and have always been afraid to do fly-front zippers. You make it look like a cake walk! Thank you so much for this tutorial. I will definitely give this a try.

  44. user-7777252 | | #44

    Hi, what’s the best way to finish raw edges of the extension?

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