Saturday, September 24, 2011

fly pattern

Hi, Sorry for the delay in posting, I'm up to my ears getting a bunch of ballet doublets prepared for fittings

I'm just going to talk about the button fly, which would have been used for these trousers.

I start by tracing off the front of the trousers, from the waist down to the inseam.
You can then mark off the placement for the buttonholes.
At the waist, the closure options are either a trouser hook and bar, or an inside button on the fly or a visible button and hole.

We almost always would use a hook and bar at the waist but it is, of course, your preference. You may also want to make your fly piece with an angled tab for an inner button at the waist, to provide more support, like most modern trousers have.

Generally, there are 5 buttons on the fly and they need to be spaced approximately 4.5cm apart.
The first button needs to be set below the waistband interfacing, and I have placed this sample at 1", then spaced the buttons 4.5 cm apart. You also need to leave about 3/4 to 1 inch of space after the last buttonhole to find the fly notch. The notch will be in the curve of the front line.

You can play around with the length of the fly opening a bit, but beware of making the fly buttons too close or too far apart.
The width of the fly piece is usally around 2", tapering gracefully down to the inseam, and yes they were cut that long!

The button hole piece can be cut slightly shorter, but usually still continues below the notch, to reduce bulk in the fly, but the facing and extension pieces usually extend right to the inseam.

When cutting out, you will need these pieces:
A self facing for the left front (unless the fabric is really thick- then use silesia)
The button hole piece which is comprised of a layer of self fabric, a layer of silesia and some kind of interfacing for the buttonholes.
The right front extension which will be a layer of self fabric, and a layer of silesia, and again some kind of interfacing, to support the buttons being sewn there.

Cutting out the fly pieces can result in a lot of concerned moments holding up the pattern to your body to figure out what side of the pattern faces up and how to lay it on the fabric, so here's a hint.
If you always draft the pattern as we did here, flip it over and chalk that onto your fabric, this will give you the extension and the facing, cut right sides together, the extension being topmost.
Then take these and place them on the fabric again and cut one more piece one layer thick (the right side of the fabric is facing downwards). This is the button hole piece. Cut the pieces again on a double layer of silesia and then cut interfacing of your choice. The interfacing should be cut short- to just the level of the fly notch , again to reduce bulk in the fly area.
The fly stitching holds everything in place, and it needs to clear the button holes, and then tapers down ending below the fly notch, not at it like modern trousers do.

The more I talk about it the more I realize I need visuals, which will have to be later, since they are not on my computer. I'll see if I can locate them.

In the meantime, did you find the draft easy or difficult to follow?
Did you draft to the measurements given first before trying to draft to someone else's or your own measures?
Are you going to try them out in muslin?
Just curious!
Should we look at some other drafts?
Let me know.


  1. Thank you for all your work, Terry. Especially your side marks were very valuable and well received.
    The draft was easy, because it worked with just a few measurements. I have not sewed a mock up jet. I expect a tight pants. The round hip curve is not to my liking so I will draft it straighter and ease the surplus in. And I think, I'll have to cut out at the back crotch.
    I would like very much if the drafting will go one. Without your impetus I would have never done it


  2. You are welcome. Where do you think it will be tight? Are you going to straighten the back hip? how much, and would you be adding as much as another dart amount?
    The difference between waist and hip is 6 inches- does that difference mean a full seat that needs two darts?
    I'm also curious about what you mean by cut out at the back crotch.
    It would be great to make a pair up and fit them on someone.

    I am planning to look at another trouser draft that I think has problems, but it may have to wait a little because I have a deadline for a job that is taking up a lot of my time.

  3. Terri,
    the 6 inch difference hip-waist bothered me - it is quite normal. I compared it with some other drafts now. It is more tight around the waist because my other pants have a front pleat or dart about 2 cm! Sorry, that was silly of me. The more room in the back pants area (see different crotch curves) could be tolerated when wearing suspenders?

  4. Hello, This pant drafting information is exactly what might give me the push to try...thanks.
    As you do costumes and I have been trying to reach costumers, is there a way I can write to you privately about some vintage notions I found that might be of interest to you? carmencitab at carmencitab dot com