Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!

1 Comment

New Patterns! By Laela Jeyne and 5 Out Of 4

Our PDF pattern inventory just grew by leaps and bounds!  We are thrilled to now stock Laela Jeyne menswear patterns and 5 Out Of 4 menswear patterns in our shop.  These two indie sewing pattern companies have designed some stellar menswear pieces in addition to their large collections of garments for women and children.  Upon viewing their creative and well thought out designs, you will see why we think they so nicely compliment our own patterns.

Let’s have a look at the new designs (or head straight to the shop to check out our full PDF collection comprised of designs by eight (!) different indie pattern companies):

From Laela Jeyne, we have three PDF patterns which she has named Dapper by Laela Jeyne.  All three patterns could be sewn up to make a complete outfit (or a closet full of outfits if you employed the many variations included for each design!

emmett t-shirt

First off, we have the Emmett T-shirt.  This is a versatile pattern featuring a polo, Henley and crew neckline.  There are two sleeve length options.  The pattern includes instructions for fitting this design (including grading between sizes.  It is available in sizes XS-3XL.  Laela Jeyne patterns include a great feature: You only need to print the size that you want to use.

reed trousers

Next up, we have the Reed Trousers.  These are classic chino pants with roomy thighs, a straight fit, slit side pockets and optional welt pockets.  They are a great alternative to our Jedediah Pants – both garments feature a chino-style fit and look similar from the front but you can choose between darts and welt pockets (the Reed Trousers) or a yoke and patch pockets (the Jedediah Pants) depending on your preference.

william vest

Lastly, we have the William Vest which is a perfect layering piece over the Emmett T-shirt.  The William Vest can be sewn as a simple vest or you can add all manner of details including a snap off hood with a gusset, shoulder and back yokes, snap flap, welt pockets and breast pockets.

Now we’ve had a look at the Dapper collection by Laela Jeyne, let’s check out the new patterns by 5 Out Of 4.  I was eager to add 5 Out Of 4 patterns to our shop because they have a very large size range and include a huge amount of variations with each design.

redwood fleece vest

5 Out of 4 have made a great vest design too – theirs features colorblocking options, a zippered chest pocket with an optional flap, zippered hand pockets and a fully finished interior.  This pattern is drafted for sizes XXS-5XL.

sierra fleece pullover

The Sierra Fleece Pullover is a stand out pattern for me – I love the color blocking options – you can use contrast fabric for the shoulders and part of the sleeves to create a very nice effect (check out the other images in the shop to see this look).  You can sew the whole design without yokes and with one piece sleeves (pictured on the left), or you can sew the two piece sleeves with one fabric to match the shoulder yoke (pictured on the right).  So many possibilities based on your fabric and color combos to create a variety of looks with one pattern!  This pattern ranges from XXS-3XL.

halftime hoodie

The Halftime Hoodie is a nice quick project.  Sew a sweater with or without a hood, choose between two kangaroo pocket sizes and sew short or tall cuffs (with the option for thumbholes once again).  This pattern includes sizes XXS-5XL.

rocky tee

The Rocky Tee is a versatile basic – sew it as a v-neck or crew-neck with a variety of sleeve lengths and finishes (you could even choose thumbhole cuffs if you like).  This pattern extends from XXS-5XL.

woven boxersWe’ve received a lot of requests for woven boxer shorts over the years but we haven’t made a pattern for this style – because this great option by 5 Out of 4 already exists!  These shorts have been well thought out – they don’t have a centre back seam and instead feature three back panels that create a roomier and more comfortable fit at the back.  You can sew an optional buttonhole fly and the seams are nicely flatfelled.  These are hard-wearing and will produce a very professionally finished pair of boxers!

The last pattern by 5 Out of 4 is a great one – swim trunks with a million high-end details!

swim trunks

These trunks feature a mesh liner, faux fly, optional drawstring, optional side pockets and optional cargo pockets.  Mix and match these details for a quick or more hefty project.

Welcome to the Thread Theory shop Laela Jeyne and 5 Out of 4!  We are so glad you are designing menswear!



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I hope your final days of 2018 have been restful, peaceful and were full of time to sew!  We are so grateful for the many sewists who sew their Christmas gifts using Thread Theory patterns and for the enthusiastic support that you show for our little business all year long!  Thank you!

This year has been filled with many highlights for both Thread Theory and Matt and I in our personal life.

We’ve launched four menswear patterns:


From left to right: Quadra Jeans, Sayward Raglan, Eastwood Pajamas, Fulford Jeans

Our baby, Noah, was born:


And we’ve had the privilege to see our patterns sewn into many absolutely stunning garments!

Thread Theory Pattern makes

From left to right:

  1. Finlayson Sweater sewn by Jocelyn Buggie for her brother’s Christmas gift and shared on the Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook page.
  2. Another Finlayson sewn by Kayla Kissane for her uncle as a Christmas gift and shared on the Facebook community page.
  3. A paisley Fairfield Button-up sewn by James Nacy and shared on the Facebook page – he altered the collar to become a large 70’s style one to suit his fabric choice.
  4. A Goldstream Peacoat sewn by Léa Provost for her father’s Christmas gift and shared via email.

Matt and I are so excited for the coming year.  We have a nice collection of patterns already drafted so that I can delve into instruction writing once little Noah and I have settled into a routine (we are getting close…as you can probably tell because I’ve actually managed to write a couple of blog posts lately!).  Since last year’s wallet patterns were such a success, the first pattern on my list to write instructions for is a bag.  Instead of a quick bag making project (as our wallets are), this is an involved project which is a lot of fun to sew!  I look forward to sharing the MANY features with you when the pattern is ready!

The rest of the waiting patterns are garments…but I won’t give away any hints about those yet 😀

Happy New Year!

Leave a comment

New Merchant & Mills Sewing Patterns: Women’s Workwear and Bags

We often receive requests to make patterns for menswear inspired women’s fashion – especially workwear (modelled after our Jutland Pants).  While the idea really appeals to me, I haven’t embarked on this project yet since there are still so many gaps to fill in the world of menswear sewing patterns.  Thus, I was thrilled when Merchant & Mills released their recent batch of patterns – all of their latest designs are based on historic men’s workwear but they are cut and sized for women!

We now stock my favourite of the patterns in our shop so our Canadian and US customers need not pay for shipping from Great Britain.  Have a look at these hard wearing designs:

Merchant and Mills Victor Apron

This is the Victor Apron which is a practical (and trendy) full coverage design.  It includes a large pocket and a separate pocket meant to hold scissors.  I can imagine this working well for gardening, in the workshop, for a shop owner (I’d like to keep my scissors handy when packing your orders…I always misplace them!).  Of course, this full coverage design would be lovely in the kitchen too!

Merchant and Mills TN31 Parka

Next we have the TN31 Parka.  It is a relaxed take on the classic fishtail parka.  I love that it uses ribbing for the neckline – this adds a really sporty touch that would be soft against the skin.  It also leaves the neck free of bulk so you can bundle up with a scarf.  It includes both side seam pockets and angled welt pockets which look perfectly placed to keep your hands warm.

Merchant and Mills Ottoline Jacket

The rest of the women’s workwear is designed for denim (but would work well in other woven fabrics too, of course!).  Their jean jacket, called The Ottoline, is described by Merchant & Mills as a boxy workwear jacket but I think it manages to look quite elegant due to the cuff design and the dark denim they chose for their sample.

Merchant and Mills Herione Jeans

The Heroine Jeans are straight legged roomy jeans with a high waist and a large hem turn-up.  They would be great paired with a selvage denim because you could show off the coloured selvage at the hem.

Merchant and Mills Francine

The Francine is a versatile design that can be sewn as a blouse or dress.  It is inspired by the fishermen of Brittany with its yoked collar.

In addition to the women’s workwear, we’ve also added two more of the Merchant & Mills bag designs to the shop – the Costermonger:

Costermonger Bag Pattern

And the Field Belt:

Field Bag Pattern

In addition to the paper pattern, you can buy the kit for each bag which includes high end notions necessary to make each bag.

Merchant and Mills Bag Kits

Here is a sample of the components – including gorgeous leather strapping.

Costermonger Kit Contents

Have you sewn any of these Merchant & Mills designs?  Which ones inspire you?

Head to the shop to check out our Merchant & Mills offerings.


Our Annual Black Friday Sale and an inspiring project from Texas

50% off PDF patterns

As you might remember, every year on Black Friday we encourage you to stay home and sew with a 50% off sale on all Thread Theory PDF patterns – well this year is no exception!

Pop by the PDF section of our online shop this Friday Nov. 23rd to download your discounted patterns and dig in to a weekend of sewing projects!  This is an excellent time to tackle Christmas sewing plans (our quick wallet patterns or the Finlayson Sweater make great gifts) or immerse yourself in large and satisfying project (perhaps the Goldstream Peacoat or our jeans patterns?).

Aside from announcing our annual sale, I want to share with you an email I recently received that helped to strengthen my passion for DIY menswear fashion.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Yohannah of the Homestead Craft Village in Texas.  She was inquiring about becoming a wholesaler of our patterns since she is a weaving and spinning instructor who hopes to use the Goldstream Peacoat pattern in a future class.  While it is always lovely to hear of another DIYmenswear class in the works, what really caught my attention is the format of the class and the story she told me about her students.  Matt and I love to learn about homesteading skills (we’re pretty passionate about everything from cheesemaking to knifemaking…and of course sewing fits in with this theme too!), so the idea of a homesteading village where traditional skills are shared really took our fancy.  Their websites make me want to hop on a plane and head to Texas for a weekend goat keeping class!

Homestead Fair 1

The format of Yohannah’s weaving class has successfully engaged a group of teenage boys and taught them many traditional skills.  I love that they get to experience both the weaving of the textile and the transformation of the textile into a garment that they will wear for many years.  As Yohannah explained, “I currently have a group of high school boys that have been taking classes for a few years. Last year they made wool fabric to make themselves black and red buffalo check jackets. This year they have made a charcoal grey wool fabric that I fulled for them and now we are making them pea coats. I got your pattern and LOVE it!!! (They wove material to make a shirt and they’re talking about making pants next year…).”

After hearing about this, I was intrigued and of course had to see photos!  Yohannah kindly sent me these images which were part of a display at their annual Homestead Fair.

Homestead Fair 2

Those shirts look like they could have been purchased from high end wool workwear companies such as Filson or Pendleton!  They did such an amazing job weaving their fabric and look justifiably proud.

Homestead Fair 3

I hope the boys will be just as pleased with their Goldstream Peacoat project and that their passion for textiles continues into adulthood.  Way to go, Yohannah and the Homestead Craft Village team for encouraging boys to work with textiles and for helping them to create projects that they are proud to wear!

Do you have any similarly inspiring stories of boys and men becoming engaged in textiles and sewing through education?  Or maybe you are or know of a self taught male sewist?  I’d love to hear of men who sew or otherwise work with textiles – please comment on this post with your story!  One of my main reasons for starting a menswear specific sewing pattern company was to encourage men to sew for themselves…and yet so few of our current customers are men.  Let’s hear from more men who create their own clothing – I know you are out there and are very talented and passionate!



Welcome Baby Noah!

Noah (12)

I wasn’t sure I should post this on here but since I have so many family members following this blog, I have been receiving many enquiries as to whether I would introduce our new baby in a blog post!  I won’t be posting about him very often online (this blog is supposed to be about menswear sewing after all), but here is one of what I’m sure will be the occasional exception!  This is Noah, our baby boy, who arrived on October 19th.  He’s filled Matt and I with endless love!  We have been pleased to be surrounded by helpful and loving family who obviously feel the same way that we do about our little baby.

Noah (11)

To honour all the love our family has already given to Noah, this post is sort of a ‘handmade where’s Waldo’…can you spot the lovingly handmade items in each of these photos? As sort of a game I will refrain from telling you about the items within this post but will add a comment with the answers so you can check them out once you’ve had a chance to guess!

Noah (13)

Noah (1)

Noah (3)

Noah (4)

Noah (5)

Noah (6)

Noah (7)

Noah (8)

Noah (9)

As you can imagine, we are fairly busy with our new baby right now but Matt has been a super-dad so far and has been managing to feed me (while I feed Noah) and provide all of the customer service for Thread Theory.  If you have sent us an email lately or made an order that required shipping, it is likely Matt who you have been in touch with.  I’m grabbing the occasional 10 minutes of Thread Theory time here and there but am more or less on maternity leave at the moment (our jeans sew-along posts were pre-scheduled…don’t worry, I wasn’t sewing jeans while in the hospital!).  I hope to phase back in to accomplishing more Thread Theory work over the next couple of months as I am very excited to dive into the instructions for our next pattern.  The pattern is sitting on my shelf all drafted and ready to go and is proving to be a great incentive to get back to work once Noah and I have found our rhythm.

Until then, I look forward to connecting with you via the occasional blog post!  Happy sewing!

Leave a comment

Men’s Jeans Sew-Along: Finishing Details

Today we will finish our jeans!  These are the most satisfying steps of the whole sewing process: We will add the belt loops, add the optional tag and hem the legs.

Let’s start with the belt loops.


With the wrong side facing you, finish the right side of the long belt loop strip using your choice of a serger or a zig zag stitch.


Fold the long raw edge towards the center of the belt loop and press.


Fold the finished edge over the raw edge so that the belt loop is pressed in thirds.


From the right side of the belt loop, topstitch along either edge.  Be sure to catch all three layers of fabric.  I usually topstitch just a little less that 1/4″ in from the folded edge (rather than edgestitching) to ensure I’ve caught the serged edge.


Cut the belt loop strip into five equal lengths.


Place the belt loops as per the diagram in the instruction booklet.  They should be extending above the waistband with right sides together.  They are positioned as follows: 2 are on the front of the jeans about 1/2″ from the front pockets (so there is enough room to add a rivet to the front pocket later), 1 is at center back, and 2 are about 1.5″ back from the side seams.

Stitch the belt loops in place in line with the waistband topstitching.


Fold the belt loops down and curl under the raw end of the loop 1/2″.  Stitch across the bottom of the belt loop with topstitching thread.  Stitch across the top of the belt loop with topstitching thread – line up this stitching with the waistband topstitching.


And now are belt loops are finished!


Before we hem the jeans, it’s a good idea to try them on the recipient to check for the perfect length.  Make sure they are wearing their favorite shoes.  You can also compare the length to their favorite storebought jeans if you are trying to keep the jeans sewing project as a surprise gift!  Make any small length adjustments as necessary by trimming a little off the hem or by sewing with a slightly smaller hem allowance.


Press the hem up – the Quadra jeans need to be pressed up 3/4″ and the Fulford Jeans need to be pressed up 1/2″.


Press up once more to enclose the raw edge (again 3/4″ for the Quadra Jeans and 1/2″ for the Fulford Jeans).


From the right side of the jeans, edgestitch around the hem.  Give the hems a nice press to finish them off.

And now we can apply our rivets!


Add rivets to all of the front pockets – the two front pockets and the coin pocket.  Use the manufacturer’s directions.  Here I am using the Prym rivets that we stock in the shop with the included tool.  Since jean rivets are quite a ways from the fabric edge, I simply use a cutting board instead of folding over the other half of the rivet application tool.  I still use the purple holder and the top half of the tool for the right side of the rivet as this helps me to hold it securely in place and prevents me from squishing the shaped metal.


Aren’t you amazed how professional these little details have made your project look?  If you really want to pull out all the stops, you can add one last detail to your jeans: a leather or Kraft-tex (washable paper) label to the back of the waistband.


Cut a label measuring 3″ X 2 1.2″ and position it about 3 1/2″ to the right of the center back belt loop.  Edgestitch around it using topstithcing thread.


I love the cheeky statement this blank label makes…”Look, I made this myself…there’s no brand!”

We’re now done our Quadra or Fulford Jeans!  Way to go!  You might like to give them a wash before they are worn to give them that soft, worn in look (new jeans can look a bit too pressed and stiff).

Quadra mens jeans sewing pattern-12

Congratulations on finishing such a big project!  Thanks for sewing along with me.

1 Comment

Men’s Jeans Sew-Along: The Waistband (and how to adjust the waistband fit after the jeans are finished)

We’re on the home stretch now!  Today we will be sewing our waistband and attaching our jeans button.

Begin by ensuring that your waisband pieces are interfaced.  Note that if you are working with a denim with quite a bit of stretch, you may want to consider using a knit interfacing so that the interfacing doesn’t stabilise the waistband so much that it no longer comfortably stretches!  I’ve used a woven interfacing here because I decided I didn’t want my waistband to stretch (I only wanted the denim to stretch when extra room for movement is needed through the legs).


Place the right and left waistband with right sides together and pin along center back.


Stitch using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  If you found you needed to take in the waistband slightly when you fitted the jeans to the wearer, you can do so at this point.  I took the waistband in a total of 1/2″ (by stitching 1/4″ in from the seamline) but I left the extra wide seam allowance untrimmed in case the wearer’s weight fluctuates and he needs the waistband let out at a later point.  We will go over how to do this at the end of this post!


Press the seam allowance open.


Press up the bottom of the waistband 5/8″.  Be sure to have your waistband laid out so that the left waistband is to the left, the right is to the right and the wrong side is facing you – this way you will be pressing up the correct edge of the waistband.


Pin the waistband to the jeans with right sides together.  Match the center back seam, the side seams to the notches, and then allow the waistband to extend 5/8″ beyond either side of the fly.  Pin thoroughly.  You will notice that the jeans and the waistband are slightly different lengths, we will be easing as we sew to provide a very nice fit (no gaping waistband).


Stitch using a 5/8″ seam allowance.


Grade the seam allowance.  I like to trim the bulky jeans seam allowance narrower and leave the waistband seam allowance wide as this reduces the most bulk.


Press the seam allowances towards the waistband.


We will now be finishing the front edges of the waistband.  Fold the waistband in half with right sides together.  Make sure the seam allowances stay tucked up towards the waistband.  Pin through all layers (both layers of the waistband and both seam allowances).


Create a vertical line of stitching along the edge of the waistband.  Make sure it lines up as perfectly as possible with the edge of the fly.


Trim the seam allowance thoroughly to remove as much bulk as possible.  Notice how I’ve clipped in towards each corner and graded the seam allowance.

Repeat this process for the other end of the waistband.


Flip the waistband right side out and press in half thoroughly.  We will now be stitching the waistband close.  It really helps to take a few extra steps at this point to ensure your topstitching catches both layers of the waistband and hides the seam allowances entirely.  I like to very thoroughly pin on the wrong side of the jeans and then baste the waistband in place, also from the wrong side of the jeans.


From the right side of the jeans, start the edgestitching on the right front (the fly underlap) so that backstitching is not visible when the button and fly are closed.  Edgestitch around all edges of the waistband.


Doesn’t that look lovely?


Here you can see the backstitch on the right front – nicely hidden from view when the jeans are worn:


With our waistband complete, we just need to add a buttonhole and button!


Mark your buttonhole with chalk.  Remember to adjust the length of the buttonhole to suit your chosen button.  Create a buttonhole that is big enough to make it easy to slip the metal shanked button through.  You might like to test the size out on a scrap since I find metal shank buttons need more room than you would normally expect!


I like to stitch a contrast buttonhole as is often found on storebought jeans.  Nice contrasting colors include red or brown but you could customize to match your pocket bag colors of your recipient’s favourite color!


Open the buttonhole using a button hole chisel or a seam ripper.  I love using the buttonhole chisel as I am far less likely to rip into the buttonhole stitches with it…I always manage to break a few of the zig zag stitches when I use a seam ripper!


Now it is time to apply the button.  The button is placed directly above the zipper on the right hand side of the jeans.  I’m using the pliers and Prym buttons that we stock in our shop.  You can also use a hammer and a sturdy surface to apply jeans buttons (such as a cast iron fry pan, for instance).  I find a sturdy surface is very important when I am not using some sort of application tool in order to ensure a strong application.


And there you have it, a finished waistband!

Now, before we finish up for today, I want to show you how useful the center back seam design can be for men with fluctuating waists.  It is also helpful if you plan to sew these jeans as a surprise gift and are not able to fit as you go.


Normally, finished jeans are VERY unpleasant to alter because the entire waistband must be removed (including all that topstitching!) in order to bring the waistband in and you really can’t let the waistband out since it is necessary to grade the seam allowances at the front edge of the waistband so thoroughly.


With a center back seam everything is simplified!  We can bring the waistband in or let it out by removing the center back belt loop.


We then just need to remove some of the topstitching.  Here I’ve chosen to remove the topstitching all the way until the side belt loop (left in the photo) and the tag (right in the photo) so that I can hide my backstitch when I re-topstitch under the belt loop and somewhat under the edge of the tag.  Be sure to remove the topstitching from the top edge of the waistband at the same time.  I didn’t do that here but needed to do so when I opened up the centre back of the waistband in a couple of steps…so you may as well remove that stitching now too!



Open up the waistband and stitch rip the original seam.  I am only bringing in this waistband 1″ so I didn’t need to rip very far.


Now open up the center back waistband seam.


If you are adjusting only a small amount you may be able to ease the new waistband length back on to the jeans without changing the seat seam at all.  If you are changing things a bit more, open up the seat seam…this adds a fair amount of work but isn’t impossible!  Stitch rip the topstitching either to the yoke seam or all the way to the inseam so that you can hide your new backstitching down there.  I chose to just rip to the yoke seam but in retrospect, I think this was too short of a distance to taper the seam (as I was removing 1″ which is 1/2″ from each leg) and this resulted in too steep of an angle when I stitched the seam up again.  I would recommend doing the small bit of extra work to stitch rip all the way to the inseam so you can create a smooth curve when you take in or let out the seam…it will save you the work of having to re-do your adjustment when you see the seat seam no longer sits well against the wearer’s body!


Stitch rip the seam as far as necessary in order to smoothly taper the new seam when you take in or let out the jeans.


Ok, now we are ready to reassemble!  Stitch the seat seam starting with 5/8″ at the point you chose (here I am stitching from the yoke seam, but again, see how sharply I had to taper?  It would have been better if I created a smooth curve by tapering all the way to the inseam).  Taper to the necessary amount by the time you reach the waistband.  If you are letting the jeans out to make more room, taper to a smaller seam allowance.  If you are taking them in, like me, taper to a larger seam allowance.


Re-do your edgestitching and topstitching along the seat seam.


Stitch the center back of the waistband.  Be sure to take it in or out the necessary amount.  Check that it will nicely match the jeans when you go to stitch the waistband back on.


Press the center back seam open.


Reattach the waistband to the jeans and press the seam allowance towards the waistband.


Fold the waistband over and press to enclose all raw edges.  Baste it in place.


Re-topstitch from belt loop to belt loop.


And lastly, reapply your belt loop.

And now your jeans should fit perfectly, even if the wearer’s waist has fluctuated an inch or so since you originally sewed the jeans!

Leave a comment

Men’s Jeans Sew-Along: The Fly

As part of our Men’s Jeans Sew-Along, today we will be tackling the zipper fly.  During the last post we prepped our fly extension and inseam.  Today we prep the zipper shield, attach the zipper, and perform all the necessary topstitching!


Grab your zipper shield piece.  The above zipper shield is from the Quadra Jeans pattern.  The Fulford Zipper shield looks a little bit different (narrower and less angled on the bottom) but you will still need to perform the same steps.

Fold the shield in half with right sides together.


Stitch along the bottom angled edge of the zipper shield using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Trim if desired to reduce bulk and then flip your shield right side out and press.


Finish the long, straight edge of the shield with a serger or zig zag stitch.

Jeans fly tutorial-2

Using the template provided on the pattern piece, mark the zipper tooth placement line and the zipper notch on the shield.  The photo above (and the rest of the sew-along post) features the fly pieces from the Fulford Jeans so you can see the difference to the shape of the Quadra zipper shield.

Jeans fly tutorial-3

Align the zipper on top of the shield with the teeth centered over the marked line.  The left zipper tape will likely line up with the edge of the shield but the marked line is there to guide you in case your zipper tape is wider or narrower than the zipper tape I used!

The bottom of the zipper stop should line up with the zipper placement notch.

Jeans fly tutorial-4

Stitch down the zipper along the left side using a zipper foot.


Place the zipper shield unit under the right front (the left side of the jeans when you are looking down at them on your work surface).

Jeans fly tutorial-5

Make sure to line up the bottom of the zipper stop with the zipper placement mark on the right front.  Pin the length of the zipper in place.  Don’t worry if the zipper shield and zipper extend over the top of the jeans!  This is just because you are sewing a smaller size (and the shield fits all of our sizes).  I will show you how to shorten these momentarily.

Jeans fly tutorial-6

Edgestitch along the zipper using a zipper foot until the zipper placement notch.

Jeans fly tutorial-7

If you need to shorten your zipper, you can do so now, as I’ve done on my Quadra sample below, or you can do so just before you add the waistband (as I did for my Fulford sample).  I’d actually recommend shortening them as late in the sewing process as possible to avoid the risk of accidentally pulling the zipper to far closed and thus pulling the slider right off the zipper (ug!!).  No matter when you shorten it, though, the process is the same:


Use narrow scissors or a knife to cut off the excess teeth and tape.  I like to use my sturdy little Merchant & Mills wide bow scissors for this job.  They are already handy since they are my thread clips and they cut between the teeth easily.


You can also remove teeth with pliers along the seamline where you will be attaching the waistband.  Many sewists like to do this to ensure their stitching will not have to go over the metal teeth when they attach the waistband.  I usually avoid this step by hand cranking my machine any time I am stitching near the zipper – this removes the risk of breaking a needle on the metal teeth because I can subtly shift them out of the way if I feel the slow hand-cranked movement of the needle come against a tooth.

Anyways, now we’ve talked about the ways to shorten the zipper and avoid broken needles, let’s proceed with the fly!

With the right side of the jeans facing you, close up the fly as it will look when it is finished.  Make sure that the left front completely covers the zipper (since there is a 1/4″ overlap).  Pin in place at the top of the fly through all layers.


See how the zipper is nicely hidden under the left front?


Flip the jeans inside out so you are looking at the wrong side of the fabric.  Fold the jeans to the right so that you are looking at only the fly elements and the rest of the jeans are out of the way.

Jeans fly tutorial-9

Lay the zipper flat so you are looking at the underside of it.  The fly extension is beneath it and extends to the right.  Adjust the extension until it is sitting straight beneath the zipper (using that pin we placed as a guide for where the extension should sit).  Pin the zipper in place.


Stitch the zipper tape down to the fly extension (no other layers should be in the way).

Jeans fly tutorial-10

Now both sides of the zipper are secure, let’s complete our fly topstitching!  Flip the jeans right side out and place the fly topstitching guide on the left front.  Line up the bottom of the guide with the fly notch.  You’ll notice that the bartack marking sits just below and just to the left of the zipper stop so you won’t need to worry about stitching over metal teeth when you are making your bar tack.

Jeans fly tutorial-12

Trace the topstitching guide with chalk.  Also transfer the bartack markings.

Jeans fly tutorial-13

See how there is an opening below the zipper stop?  We will be closing this up by the time our topstitching is complete!

Jeans fly tutorial-15

Before we topstitch, fold the zipper shield out of the way.  A common mistake when stitching a fly is to accidentally stitch it closed by catching the zipper shield during the topstitching step!

Jeans fly tutorial-16

Here is how the zipper shield looks when it is folded out of the way from the wrong side.  You can see on the right hand side of the zipper that we will be catching the fly extension and the jeans front only when we topstitch.


Sew the first row of topstitching along the chalk marking.


Backstitch tidily or leave tails on your thread and pull the upper thread through to the wrong side of the jeans and knot the threads.  This creates a cleaner look at this visible point but I still prefer to backstitch since I feel it produces a stronger result.


Complete a second row of topstitching 1/4″ away from the first row – this second row is closer to center front and lines up with the vertical bartack marking.


With the zipper shield still out of the way, edgestitch along the entire seat seam on the left leg of the jeans (if you were wearing the jeans).  This edgestitching should go through the left leg and both seam allowance layers.


Continue the stitching all the way up to the zipper placement notch (just below the zipper stop).


Jeans fly tutorial-20

With this edgestitching complete, there is no longer a hole below the zipper stop.

Jeans fly tutorial-19

Create a second row of topstitching 1/4″ away from the first.


This second row of stitching also extends up to the zipper placement notch.

Jeans fly tutorial-22

Finish off the fly by folding the zipper shield back into position.

Jeans fly tutorial-25

Create bartacks by sewing a narrow zig zag stitch or by backstitching thoroughly at the two bartack markings.  These bartacks go through all fly layers (including the zipper shield) so they keep the shield in position so that nothing can be caught in the zipper!

Jeans fly tutorial-24

From the wrong side of the jeans, you can see where the bartacks catch the zipper shield.  Please excuse my snarled topstitching thread – as I mentioned earlier in the sew-along, my machine doesn’t really like backstitching while using topstitching thread!

Jeans fly tutorial-26

And there we have it, a finished zipper fly!  We are almost done our jeans!  We will be sewing the waistband on in the next sew-along post.

Leave a comment

Men’s Jeans Sew-Along: The Seat Seam and Fly Extension


Today we are preparing for the addition of the zippered fly.  To do this we will add the fly extension and sew the seat seam.  Before we begin, ensure that both jean legs have the zipper and fly notches thoroughly marked.


Now we need to prepare the extension.  You have cut two extensions (mirrored) but we only need one.  Select the extension that matches the left leg (it looks like the photo above).  Apply interfacing if you haven’t already and finish the curved edge using your choice of a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears.


Lay the extension on the left leg with right sides together.  The top of the fly extension lines up with the top of the jeans.  Pin.


Stitch the extension in place using a 5/8″ seam allowance.


Finish the seat seam allowances using a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears.  Make sure to finish both the jeans front and extension seam allowances during this step.


Press the seam allowance towards the fly extension (or, in other words, press the fly extension away from the jeans front).


Now the extension has been added, it is time to stitch the seat seam!  We will be stitching from the back up until the fly notch (the lower notch).  Prepare for this by placing the legs with right sides together.  I like to keep my pant legs right sides out and simply place them together as they will look when they are finished (see the photo below).  Alternatively, you could turn one leg inside out and place the other pant leg inside of it so that right sides are together and pin the seam that way…whichever method makes more sense to you!  I like to skip the step of turning a leg inside out.

Either way, make sure you line up the yoke seams and inseams!


Stitch the seam using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  Backstitch thoroughly when you get to the fly notch.


Check that the inseams and yoke are indeed lined up.  If they are slightly off you can just stitch rip the area around the intersection and ease the two pieces together so they match perfectly.  If they are quite a bit off, you may need to re-do the seam!

Once you’re happy with the results, stitch the seat seam again to make it extra strong.


In order to allow the seam allowances to be stitched to the left front (this topstitching is completed in a later step), it is necessary to clip into the right front seam allowance at the fly notch as pictured below:


Fold the fly extension to the wrong side of the jeans and press.  To keep the extension crisply in place, edgestitch along the extension seam until the zipper placement notch (the upper notch).


Finish the fly preparations by pressing the right fly seam allowance under only 1/2″ (not the full 5/8″.  This allows you to slightly offset the zipper so it does not peek out from the fly opening.


Our preparations are now complete and we are ready to create the fly during the next sew-along post!  Don’t worry, we’ll take it step by step and by the time it is complete you will be very proud of your creation!


Men’s Jeans Sew-Along: Yoke, Inseams and Side Seams

By the end of today’s sewing session, we will more or less be able to try our jeans on!  Let’s get going by attaching the yoke.


The yoke is sewn with a flat fell seam.  To begin this seam, place one back and one yoke with right sides together.  Align the notch and pin the rest, easing the two lengths together.  These two different lengths and curves will help to shape the jeans to the curve of the bottom in the same way a dart shapes clothing.

Stitch using a 5/8″ seam allowance.


Trim the jeans back seam allowance to 1/4″ as consistently as possible and leave the yoke seam allowance the full 5/8″.mensjeanssewalong-3

Press the seam open (left in the photo below) and then press both seam allowances towards the yoke (right in the photo below).  Pressing in these two stages ensures a nice crisp seam with no tucks or puckers.


Fold the 5/8″ yoke seam allowance down so that the raw edge meets the jeans back seam allowance.


Press as you fold.


Fold the whole seam allowance package down towards the jeans back.  This will cause no raw seam allowance edges to be visible.


As you can see in the photo below, those raw edges are nicely tucked out of the way!


Pin the seam allowances in place and then edgestitch along the bottom edge of the seam allowance package.

If you used a denim colored thread when originally stitching the yoke seam, you might like to add a second row of topstitching to the top of the flat fell seam (1/4″ away from your edgestitching).mensjeanssewalong-11

Repeat this process for the second yoke and then we are ready to move on to the inseams!


The inseams are also sewn with a flat fell seam.  Place a jean back and jean front with wrong sides together and pin along the length of the inseam.


Stitch using a 5/8″ seam allowance and then trim the jeans back seam allowance to a consistant 1/4″.mensjeanssewalong-2

Press the seam open.


And then press both seam allowances towards the jeans front.


Fold the 5/8″ seam allowance towards the smaller allowance so the raw edges meet in the middle.  Press thoroughly.


And now flip the entire seam allowance package towards the jeans back so all of the raw edges are hidden.  Press.



Pin the seam allowances in place.


And then edgestitch to secure them to the jeans back.  Depending on your style preference, you could create a second row of stitching 1/4″ from the edgestitching.  Have a look at the storebought jeans in your closet – some have two rows of contrast stitching and some do not.  I find the two rows along the inseam gives a bit more of a workwear or western look to the finished jeans…


…and one row looks dressier.


Ok, the inseams are done!  Before we proceed with the side seams, I want to remind you that this is a perfect time to baste together the side seams and seat seam to do one more fitting on your recipient.  At this stage it is easy to adjust the shape of the hips, the taper of the wasit, and the width of the legs by taking the jeans in or letting them out within the 5/8″ side seam allowance.  In the photo below, you can see that I’ve done this and marked my new shape along the waist and hips.  I took the waist in 1/4″ and then increased this to 1/2″ at the hips all the way to the knees.


If you’re ready to stitch the side seams permanently, switch back to a regular stitch length and pin each front and back pair with right sides together.  This will be stitched as a regular seam (not a flatfell seam).


Stitch using a 5/8″ seam allowance unless your chalk marking indicates otherwise.


Finish the seam allowance with a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears.


Press the seam allowance towards the jeans back.


Reinforce a common stress point by edgestitching along the jeans back from the wait down to the bottom of the pocket bag.  I feel for the bottom of the pocket bag with my fingers as I stitch but you could also premark the point with chalk or a pin before you begin to stitch.  You want to make sure both sides are even!


Wow, our jeans are really beginning to look like something amazing!  Sit back and admire all of that detailed topstitching we’ve created.  Next post we will be moving on to the seat seam and fly extension.