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MN2208 Dawn / Sewalongs

Dawn Sewalong: How to sew a button fly

How to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns

One of my favourite things about the Dawn jeans is all the options you have for a fly closure. With all the different leg views + the fly options, it makes what could be just a basic jeans pattern so much more personal and customizable. You can choose between a zipper fly (find that post here), a classic button fly (which is what we’ll go over today!), and an exposed button fly (watch out for that tutorial tomorrow). So, today we will go over the button fly construction. It’s a classic vintage denim closure, and probably the most popular option for Dawn. It provides the same look as a zipper fly from the outside, since the buttons are hidden, but without the intimidating zipper installation. It’s a really fun and rewarding step to get through, so I hope you enjoy it, too!

P.S – you’ll need to swap between regular thread and topstitching thread throughout the construction. I’ve marked which one is being used in bold for each step.

Now let’s just get to it!

Apply fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your button fly.

Fold your button fly in half, with wrong sides together and press well.

Transfer the buttonholes from the pattern piece to the fabric. You can do this with a fabric marker or tailors chalk, pins, basting stitches, or whichever your preferred method is.

Sew the buttonholes in these three positions, and cut them open (it will be too hard to cut them open later on). Above, I used my machine’s keyhole button feature. Don’t have a keyhole feature, and need help creating your buttonholes? We have a post here to help you!

Also, these buttonholes should be, and typically are, sewn with topstitching thread. But if your machine is struggling to sew buttonholes with topstitching thread there is an alternative method – you can instead use two spools of regular thread in the same colour as your topstitching thread. I’m going to show you what I mean quickly…

SEWING BUTTONHOLES WITH TWO REGULAR THREADS

So here’s an example of the two side-by-side. Again, this is my machine’s keyhole button feature.

The top one is sewn with two strands of regular thread.

The bottom one is sewn with topstitching thread.

Psssst, wanna know a secret? I actually like the look of the two strands of regular thread better! On my machine, at least.  

Here’s how I did it…

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen PatternsIf your machine has a spot for a second spool, you simply thread both strands through your machine together. Just like you normally would, it’s just two strands of thread together instead of one.

If you’ve ever sewn with a twin needle, it’s just like how you would thread your machine for that.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns But for this, you want to thread both strands through your one denim needle.

And that’s it! So whether you choose this method or topstitching thread, get your buttonholes made and cut now.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Now move on to the fly extension piece.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Fold your fly extension in half, with right sides together. Line up the bottom curved edge, and sew that bottom edge only using regular thread, 1/4″ from the raw edge.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Turn your fly extension the right way around, re-shape the bottom curved edge, and press.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Grab your fly, fly extension, and button fly pieces. You’re going to need to finish the edges of all three pieces. You can use your preferred method. But if you use a serger/overlock, make sure you finish the edge only and do not trim off any seam allowance.

On the fly (7) finish the curved edge only. This is only one layer of fabric.

On the fly extension (8) finish the raw, straight edge only. This will be through two layers of fabric.

On the button fly (9) finish the raw, outer curved edge only. This will also be through two layers of fabric.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Now lay your right front pant leg piece down with the right side facing up at you.

If you haven’t already finished the raw edge of the crotch, do it now.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Place the fly extension on top of the right front piece, lining up the finished straight edge with the edge. Make sure the notches are aligned and pin in place.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen PatternsSew in place 1/4″ from the edge using regular thread.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Clip into the seam allowance (1/4″) on the front crotch, just below the fly extension.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Flip the fly extension out so that the right side of both the right front and fly extension are nothing facing up at you. The seam allowance should be towards the right front pant leg, not the fly extension.

Press well.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Using topstitching thread, topstitch 1/16″ from the seam on the front piece, not the fly extension. You’ll be stitching the seam allowance to the front piece at this point.

Do not backstitch. Instead, use a hand sewing needle to pull the topstitching thread to the wrong side, and knot.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Now lay your left front leg in front of you with the right side facing up.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Place the fly piece down on top of the left front leg, with right sides together. So the wrong side of the fly piece is facing you. Line up the straight edge with the crotch edge of the left front leg, and make sure the notches match up.

Pin in place.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Using regular thread, sew 5/8″ from the raw edge along the entire length of the fly.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Clip into the seam allowance (5/8″) on the left front leg, just below the fly.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Turn the fly around towards the inside (wrong side of the left front leg). Press the folded edge, ensuring that the seam and fly will not show from the right side of the garment.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Turn back around to the right side. Using topstitching thread, topstitch 1/16″ from the edge along the entire length of the fly.

Do not backstitch. Instead use a hand sewing needle to pull the topstitching thread to the wrong side, and knot.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Once again, flip around to the inside, so you can see the fly.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Place your button fly piece down on top of the fly, align the curved edges, and pin in place.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Using a contrasting regular thread, set your machine to a long stitch length, and sew a line of basting stitches around the curved edge. You will be sewing this through the button fly, fly and front leg piece.

Keep it close to the curved edge, and go slow to keep it neat. This is going to be used as your guide for topstitching.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Flip back around to right side, and you can see how those basting stitches create your guide for topstitching.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns On the right side of the garment, using topstitching thread, topstitch along the basting guide.

Go slowly! This is a very visible area of topstitching so you want it to be as neat as possible.

Do not backstitch. Instead use a hand sewing needle to pull the topstitching thread to the wrong side, and knot.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Remove the contrasting basting stitches.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Now sew the second line of topstitching, 1/4″ away on the inside of the first line.

Again, do not backstitch.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Place the two front leg pieces together with right sides together. Line up the remaining crotch section and pin.

Sew together 5/8″ from the raw edge, using regular thread.

Press the seam allowance towards the left leg side (the side with the fly and button fly).

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns From the right side, close up the front by overlapping the fly over the fly extension. The folded edge of the fly should line up with the centre front notch on the right leg waistline.

Pin in place if necessary.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen PatternsSwitch back to topstitching thread. On the right side of the garment, topstitch along the crotch 1/6″ from the seam.  You are doing this on the left leg side (same side as the fly). Start at the bottom of the crotch, and head up towards the fly.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Stop 3/4″ above the bottom edge of the fly. Pivot 90 degrees, and sew 1/4″ across the fly through all layers of fabric.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Pivot again, and sew back down the crotch, 1/4″ away from the first line of stitching.

how to sew the fly front on the Ash jeans pattern // tutorial on Megan Nielsen Design DiaryNow we need to add some bar tacks. Bar tacks are just tight zig-zag stitches sewn with topstitching thread. They are used in areas with a lot of stress, for added reinforcement.

To set your machine for a bar tack, choose your zig-zag stitch setting. Then lower your stitch length. Not all the way, just lower than a normal zig-zag stitch. My machine has a little mark (see above, just above the zero) to indicate a bar tack setting. But after some testing, I went just a bit below that. So make sure you test some bar tacks out on scrap denim before doing it on your garment.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Sew one bar tack along the 1/4” horizontal line of topstitching that connects the two parallel crotch topstitching.

Sew another bar tack along the inner line of topstitching of the fly, just above where it begins to curve.

These bar tacks will be through all layers of fabric, including the fly extension.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns Once you’ve finished the rest of your garment (find the links for all of the other steps below!), you can add all of your buttons. You can find the post on how to install the buttons here.

Make sure you overlap the button fly over the fly extension correctly, and mark your button placement on the fly extensions along the very left side of your keyhole buttonholes (not in the middle of the buttonholes). The buttons should end up being right along the very edge of the fly extension.

how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns how to sew a button fly on the Dawn jeans by Megan Nielsen PatternsAnd that’s it! You have a classic button fly front!

LOOKING FOR MORE DAWN POSTS?

Here is the full list of Dawn and Ash jeans posts:

We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNdawn and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!


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Dawn & Dawn Curve

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About Author

Holly writes part time for the Megan Nielsen blog– sewing like crazy, creating tutorials and sewalongs. She has been sewing since she was a little girl, and has her degree in apparel design. Now she’s a stay at home mama, and spends all her free nap times at her sewing machine.

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Betty
Betty
3 years ago

This is a great tutorial. I can’t wait to make a pair of white Dawns with gold thread.

Liz
Liz
3 years ago

Love this look! A random jeans question… I clip into the seam allowance below the fly/fly extension as you say, with both my jeans and my husband’s jeans but always end up with this bit pulling and creating a hole in the jeans. I’ve tried bartacking and this helps, but for his it’s a real issue, and I don’t know how to avoid the clipping in, as this I think is the problem and weakens this area. I suspect this means I need to make an adjustment to create more room, as we both cycle and I suspect this puts more strain on this area, but I’m not sure how! Would you have any advice? I thought this might be a brand related issue, but have had the same problem with my Ash jeans as other companies, so looked forward to your sew along, and I see that you do the same with Dawn, so I suspect this is a me-issue not a pattern-issue… Would be grateful for any thoughts!