Achievement Unlocked: Fly Front Shorts

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So the fly front has bedeviled me for years.  Decades, even.  Something about it seemed so complicated, and it seemed to require more precision than I have the patience for.  I've read at least dozens and possibly hundreds of tutorials, but it has never clicked for me.

Hiking was the main activity I had planned for our Greece trip.  Since the only non-exercise shorts I own are my Adventure Shorts, I decided to add another pair to the stable.  And I also decided it was time to face my biggest fear:  the fly front zipper.

Elizabeth of SEWN recommended the fly instructions from Kwik Sew 3614, so I bought it at the last sale.  The instructions seemed good, although when I actually started following them I realized that step 4 is missing several crucial words and phrases:  "Move zipper toward as far as it will go without puckering underneath (edge of zipper is not even with extension).  Using a zipper foot, ."  I mean really, comma-space-period?  The missing word after "toward" I can maybe see getting by a very bad, very lazy proofreader, but comma-space-period is ridiculous.

EDIT:  Thank you, Elizabeth!  She supplied the missing text: "Move zipper toward right fly extension as far as it will go without puckering underneath (edge of zipper is not even with extension). Using a zipper foot, stitch only through zipper tape and right fly extension.

I also pulled up Debbie Cook's truly excellent jeans fly tutorial to keep Kwik Sew honest, though I had to mirror-image it in my head because a jeans fly is the same for men and women, while a women's dress fly is reversed.

Fly Opening

In the end, I don't know why I was so exercised about this!  I went slowly and completed each step without trying to think further ahead, and it came out perfectly.  I am always telling people that most sewing is not difficult, it just involves a LOT of simple steps.  There are a very few exceptions--I found bound buttonholes difficult, some origami patterns make my head explode, and sharp corners are extremely fiddly to execute--but most things are not that hard when you break them down.  And it turns out the fly is one of them.

For the pattern, I used the sloper developed in Annette Hickman's class.  She had to cancel the third session of the 3-session class due to a family emergency, so my pattern is not totally final.  The shortness of the shorts hides the fact that there is still a little bit of cascading wrinkling on the back legs.  Someday this will be solved.  Someday.  Also, the front needs a little more room over the belly.

Slant Pocket Construction

Another thing I faced was the slant pocket.   I copied the pocket and side piece as well as the leg width from McCall 5391.  I have never successfully made slant pockets that sit flush and don't poke out, and I didn't fully succeed here.  I interfaced the slant edge on the pocket, as instructed by M5391, but I should have interfaced along the opening edge of the yoke and then taped the seam when I sewed it, too.

Ribbon Stabilizer for Pocket

I retrofitted the pocket opening edge with ribbon for as far as I could reach after construction, but it is too little, too late.   The pockets poke out a bit in wearing and always will.

Center Back Seam with waistband

Redeeming itself from the typos in the instructions, I used the curved waistband from KS3614.  What fabulous drafting!  I will be using this waistband again and again.  I have been looking for years for a great curved waistband for my body (Burda's are ok but not wonderful for me).  Something about the way the grain is at CB it just snugs right against the body.  I taped the upper edge of the waist with ribbon to keep my very stretchy fabric stable.

Hike from Fira to Oia

The shorts star in another favorite photo from the trip, from our hike from Fira to Oia on Santorini.  Oia is reputed to have the best sunsets in the world, and there is a lovely cliffside hike from Fira (the main city) to Oia, where at some points you can see the ocean on both sides of the island.  Unfortunately, we didn't leave Fira until 4:30 so we had to hustle the 7 mile hike to get to Oia on time for sunset.  We made it in the nick of time! (You can see the photos from the trip here; the photos from this particular hike are here.)

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


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