Thread Theory

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Fly or no fly? I’d like your opinion!


Menswear Sewing Tools-2

I’m working away on the instructions for the first of our upcoming 5 patterns and am having some second thoughts on a design feature that I included in this garment.  Is it truly functional and worth the effort necessary to sew it?  Should I remove it entirely or just adjust it to a different style?

Now, I’d really like your advice on this but it is impossible to keep our pattern a surprise if I ask for your help!  So I think I will remove the element of surprise for this particular design and I hope you don’t mind.  I really valued your feedback when I asked for your thoughts on button-up shirts.  All of your discussion on fit and design features led me to feel as though the Fairfield Button-up was designed by our menswear sewing community and not just by myself.

So let’s try this again!


We’ve created a pattern for men’s pyjama bottoms after receiving many requests over the years to design an easy garment suitable for new sewists.  People are looking for a woven project that introduces sewists to the skills necessary to sew more advanced menswear on their next project.

Of  course, there are many pyjama patterns out there already so I have carefully chosen design elements that make these pyjamas uniquely “Thread Theory.”  They include all sorts of high end finishing details that will prepare someone to sew the Jedediah Pants or Jutland Pants for their next project.  They have pocket facings so that the inseam pockets do not allow a peek of pocketing material to be visible when the leg is moved.  They include a wide fold over waistband that encloses both elastic and a fabric or twill tape drawstring.  Their side seams and inseams may be adorned with top stitching as an easy way to practice precision stitching to prepare for flat-fell seams on future projects.

Menswear Sewing Tools-4

The last design feature, which is the one I need your help on, is a fully functioning button fly.  This fly adds an attractive amount of detail to the front of the pants and it also allows the wearer to go “though the barn door” when going to the washroom rather than pulling their PJs down.  The last advantage of this fly is that it offers excellent practice for someone who hopes to progress to sewing trousers confidently.

Menswear Sewing Tools-3

Now that you know why I added this button fly, here are my concerns and my questions:

  • I am considering doing a True Beginner and Confident Beginner variation.  The True Beginner would skip the fly altogether and simply sew the entire crotch seam closed.  Is a button fly too complicated for a Confident Beginner?
  • I wonder if anyone would actually find a functioning fly useful on a pair of pyjamas with an elastic waist.  They are a common feature on RTW pyjama pants but I am not certain all the work they add for a home sewer is worth your while…isn’t it easier for a man to undo the drawstring bow and pull his pants down instead of undo a button fly and taking the time to ‘fish around’? (Blushing…)  If they really aren’t that useful, why do so many store bought pyjamas include this style of fly?
  • I like the interest that the fly top stitching adds to the front of the garment and feel this same aesthetic could be achieved with an easy to sew mock-fly.  Perhaps a mock-fly would be more in-line with a Confident Beginner’s capabilities.  But I have read many comments from Thread Theory pattern users saying that do not like sewing garments that include non-functional design elements.  Would you feel that a non-functional mock fly that has been included solely for aesthetics is “cheap” or somehow “cheating”?  We want these pyjamas to feel luxuriously high end and would hate for a mock fly to detract from this!

Menswear Sewing Tools-1

So, to sum things up, which option do you prefer?

  1. Two variations: No fly and functioning button fly.
  2. Two variations: No fly and mock-fly.
  3. Two variations: Mock fly and functioning button fly.
  4. One variation: No fly – making this pattern very clear and straightforward for true beginners (sometimes variations can make the instruction booklet look overwhelming).

Thanks for your help!

107 thoughts on “Fly or no fly? I’d like your opinion!

  1. For sure an option with no fly — this is based upon my husband’s explicit stated preference, not only for pajama pants but for what we refer to as “loungies”. I do agree that having a “real” as a second alternative is the best choice. (Option 1)

  2. When I made PJ pants for my partner, he told me to not bother with a functional fly. I did a mock fly for aesthetic purposes and I think that’d reasonable for a confident beginner.

  3. option 2: no fly and mock fly. My hubby never uses the fly so i would only ever use those options. Plus, if using as lounge pants with company, a real fly can cause major wardrobe malfunctions!

  4. I’d say option 1

    My fella says there’s no point in having a button fly.
    He and I both agree that a mock fly is pointless– I don’t like sewing non-functional elements.

    The option to be able to make a functional fly would be great. I like the look of the fly, and it would be a great way to get practice in making a fly. I think this would also help the pattern appeal to a broader range of sewers.

  5. Option 3. A very beginner could always skip the fly and sew the centre front closed. A poll here reveals a functioning fly probably wouldn’t get used though…

  6. #3. Or maybe all three. What I love about your patterns is that even in the basics you go the extra mile to give professional results. It really sets your patterns apart. Thanks for taking the time and effort!

  7. I love so much about this – how thoughtful and considerate you (Morgan and Matt) are in your design process, and inviting feedback, and also how many men are getting involved, both directly commenting and being polled! So cool! I’m not a resource in whether flies get used or not, but I’d say to include the fly variety as one of the options as a skills builder. This way, a sewist can start off with the easiest option (no fly), and then make the functioning fly on an otherwise familiar pattern as the next step. Best of luck, and thank you for allowing us to follow along in the process!

  8. A functional fly! When I made him boxers I asked him what he preffered and he wanted a real button fly, even though he never uses ut. The same goes with pajamas.

    Looking foreard for this pattern! I hope you will also release a suitable shirt/tshirt so I can make a set

  9. So! I asked my husband for the fly on PJs and he told me a real functioning button fly would be annoying to use anyway. Although he likes those design features, he thinks that a mock-fly (or no fly for beginners) would be the best option. Note that I bought him 2 PJ pants in French stores and they do not have any fly… maybe it’s just here in France… your choice will be the right one!

  10. Another vote for option 3. It’s always good to have a choice!
    As an aside, would you consider producing a pattern for a pj top; I mean of the jacket variety? I have a very traditional (but lovely!) husband who wouldn’t countenance wearing a t shirt to bed; it would be nice to be able to produce bespoke pjs, tops and bottoms.

  11. My husband wants either a functional fly, or none at all. So i’ m in favor of option 1. Plus having a no fly option makes it great if one of girls wants some jammies too!

    Very excited about this pattern, I’ve been disappointed with the commercial pajama pants patterns I’ve seen.

    My guy is 6’2″ so homemade pajama pants are a must.

    Thank You!!!

  12. If you’re not open to doing three variations (full fly, mock fly, no fly), then I vote for two variations: mock fly and functioning button fly! Maybe offer a tutorial online (if only going for two variations) that explains how to do the third?

  13. i think option 2 is the best. Nobody needs an actual functioning fly on PJs. As a man, even on my RTW pjs that have a functioning fly I have never once used it

  14. it depends on the type of underware as to fly use. if i wear a zip up pair of jeans i use the fly on underwear if i wear a pair of button flys i do not use thr fly on undewear. all about whats easiest and the least amount of work.

    if the pants undo when un tied id be likely to use the fly so i dont need to use both hands. one to keep pants up and one to aim.

    hope that helps.

  15. I like option 3! I prefer when a pattern has as many different options as possible to feel like I’m getting the biggest bang for my buck. Option 3 could potentially be done 3 ways–functioning button fly, mock fly, or just leave the topstitching off all together and have no fly, right? I love options!

  16. option 3 please. 😊

  17. option 3 please!!! 😊

  18. Taking into account Mark’s feedback I would say go with option 2 to keep it a beginner pattern with a really easy option and one step up to practice precision sewing.

    Sent from my iPhone


  19. Hi Morgan and Matt

    I just asked my husband about your fly or no fly question. He said “No fly”. I asked if he would use a functional fly on PJ pants and he said yes but it’s not necessary. He says most of his PJ pants have a faux fly but he wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t there.

    Mark’s 34 and although he’s not a male fashionista he likes to dress well and knows what he likes and doesn’t like. He really likes the merino Arrowsmith tanks and Strathcona Henley tees I made him. We lived in North Van for two years from 2010 to 2012. We love seeing all your local shots!

    So there you have it from Mark, 34 from Christchurch, New Zealand.

    Thanks for the awesome menswear patterns!

    Lizzie (curlsandthread on Instagram but I’m just starting there).

    Sent from my iPhone


  20. I would go with 3 (or 1). I never use the fly front, but it is a nice touch and I prefer such things to work. Like the buttons on a suit sleeve. They are there for a reason, so they have to work… I’d love to see an instruction for a button fly. Might be even helpful to use on the Jedediah or Jutland pattern. If you choose 3, you can still show a quick tutorial how to skip the fly for true beginners.

  21. I think option 3. Mock fly perfect for beginners, button fly to work towards. (I did a poll if the men in household and they prefer a functional fly)

  22. Option 2 or 3, please.

  23. Option 5: all 3 options? I’d personally be most likely to make the mock fly option, as I like the aesthetic of a fly by don’t think the effort of a real fly is worth it for elastic pants. But think the others are worth including too.

  24. Hey Morgan!
    My husband says: button fly is normal in RTW but no one ever used it. Just pull the pants down!
    So I say option 2 because it has a mock one to give style of wanted 😉

    Thanks for considering your target audience input !!

    All the best!

  25. Option 3. I haven’t seen instructgions for a button fly before and always love learning new tricks, especially ones that look RTW

  26. 2 or 3. My husband never uses the fly for the bathroom but does for quickly finding the front.

  27. Option 3, unless you could include all three variations.

  28. I’d go for option 3 as well 🙂

  29. Oooo! Definitely a functioning fly option! I have been making pj bottoms for years, and always wanted to put in a fly, but just couldn’t figure it out! Wonderful! Look forward to the pattern 😊

  30. Options 1 & 3, or 3 with suggestions/instructions to make it fly-less. The male members of my household do not have flys on their PJs, which definitely makes them easy to sew! They didn’t use flys on either RTW or handmade PJs, so any fly is really just for looks. They’ ve never had drawstring on any of their PJs. It’s useful to have some method for clearly identifying the front from the back, especially in the dark. I usually sew a ribbon loop in the back (inside) or a button in the front (outside).

  31. Ps I hope it will have extra big sizes – love your patterns but my man really needs a size 42 or 44!

  32. I’d go for #3 Two variations: Mock fly and functioning button fly. Can’t wait for this pattern to come out!

  33. Option 1! I know I’d like the opportunity to practice a fly. And super simple pj pants were really helpful when I was first learning. Having the functioning fly variation adds the value of being able to grow with the pattern. I personally wouldn’t want to take the time sewing a mock fly that doesn’t work.

  34. Option 3

  35. As a man, I just hate a button fly, no matter what the application 🙂 And especially with pajamas with an elastic waistband – so much easier to just pull down. But it’s a good thing to learn and would look nice. Option 3 works.

  36. Hello, I vote for a real fly with buttons, because it is so cool and I dislike fake or mock anythings. So for me, option 2, but I will want to get your pattern no matter which options you choose in the end.

  37. Sorry forgot to clarify – version 3 for me to give options 😁

  38. Hubbie says no to using the button fly as he said that half asleep trying to do it up would be annoying so would rather pull down the pj’s. That’s the practical opinion but from a sewers perspective a mock fly would be great experience and look nice too so not a wasted sewing procedure. Hope that helps 😊

  39. No.1 with both options of no fly and functioning fly.

    Thank you!

  40. Another vote for option 3 here! I have sewn plenty of shorts & PJ pants for my husband and sons with a ‘mock fly’ (one that you unpick along the seam so it opens up to the topstitching) and I think it adds a bit of RTW-looking detail in a simple, comfy garment that’s easy to sew and to wear. I don’t think the blokes in my family would actually use a functioning button fly in PJs but I would probably like to give one a go, just because, Thread Theory quality & detail! I know for any option you would give excellent instructions. Looking forward to the pattern!

  41. I think option 3 would be perfect, mock & functioning button fly 😊

    Sent from my iPhone


  42. I checked in with my husband, and he says no fly as far as what he wants to wear, although you could put one in if you want it there for sewing practice opportunities. So I guess he would say #4.

  43. Option three for me, as a sewer it gives me options and as a man I actually mainly wear my PJ bottoms around the house to relax in rather than sleep in so a button fly would be great.

  44. My hubs says no fly, they’re not worth the hassle to use! But I think as a seamstress practicing a fly sans zip is a great idea.

  45. I would love a functioning fly (not necessarily for use, just for tradition) so I’d suggest options 1 or 3.

  46. Option 3 that way you can have an absolute beginner make a really good looking result but can progress with a pattern they know to a more complex option. It also is a good step to regular pants. If it was just a fake fly I’d be pretty disappointed with the pattern.

  47. I have just made track type bottoms which this is very much the same design so no fly as it is not necessary

  48. I think option 3 – the mock fly is a good warm up for a working fly (& it’s all about building skills, right?) and personally I prefer a functioning fly.

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