Zip Front Chandler Hack

The Chandler Trousers have always been a personal pattern favorite. I know I shouldn't have a personal favorite pattern from my own collection, but I can't help it! I practically live in the Chandler's, especially as the weather starts to cool.

I have always wanted to write up a post on how to hack the Chandler's to be more like the pants this pattern was inspired by. It has taken me a bit of time to put this together (sorry!) because for some reason, no matter how many times I sew a fly zipper, I always struggle. Something about all the bits and bobs really gets my brain in a tizzy, so I had to take this project slowly to ensure I got it just right. And I have to say, it's been totally worth the effort! As someone who has to add a side zip to my Chandler's to get them to fit just right, this little hack has provided a beautiful alternative to getting in and out of my pants. I just heard that sentence in my head and I feel it may have sounded a bit odd, but it's true!

 

Moving on....

 

For this hack, you will need all of your normal pattern pieces cut out. Make sure that you cut out the faux fly front view for your shorts front as well as your pockets. In addition to your base pattern pieces, you will need the following additional pieces (as well as make a slight alteration to one of  your base pieces):

  • FRONT WAISTBAND - Instead of cutting this piece on the fold, you will want to cut two pieces. To do this, simply add 1/2" (1.3 cm) 2" (5 cm) to the CF fold of your pattern piece and then cut two of your main fabric + 2 interfacing pieces. *Note- My measurements have been updated after @martina_martin went through the tutorial and pointed out that the original measurement was too small - Thanks Martina!! It's always better to have too much fabric than not enough!
  • FAUX FLY GUIDE - We will be using this pattern piece as an actual fly guide as well as for cutting out 2 pieces of interfacing for the inside of your pants.
  • FLY SHIELD - This is an additional pattern piece you will need to cut out of both regular fabric and interfacing. Your fabric should be the length + double the width of your fly guide (4.5" x 10.5" [11.5 cm x 25.5cm] ) and your interfacing should be half the width by the same length (2.25" x 10" [5.7 cm x 25.5 cm])

I won't deny that I find Closet Core Pattern's tutorial on how to sew a fly front zipper blog post incredibly helpful! This is the tutorial I most often turn to when I am stuck on how to insert a fly front zip. However, the Chandler's are a different pant than a jean, so they require a slightly different approach at certain points to achieve the proper finish!

Once you have all of your pieces cut out, you can jump right in to sewing your Chandler's like normal. You will go through interfacing your pieces (including your new ones as shown below!), working with your darts / pleats, and inserting your pockets. Once you arrive at the part of your instructions labelled "Front Pant Faux Fly," grab a snack and meet me back here where I will take you through inserting the front zip as well as an additional button!

Now that you have your two front pant's legs all prepped with their pockets and the like, we can dig in to installing our front fly zip. First, you will want to finish off both edges of your front crotch along the fly extension.

I went ahead and used my serger (for the first time in ages!) because my fabric looked like it would unravel at any moment. However, don't feel as if you have to serge your edges. You can use a zig zag stitch, pinking shears, or even bias tape to give your edges a nice clean finish! Just note that if you do bias tape, the right pant side will be trimmed at a later point so you can omit adding any to the right fly extension.

Next, we are going to pin out front legs together, just as we would if we were sewing the faux fly front. Pin all the way down the fly extension and through the crotch curve.

I like to mark out where I will be sewing, especially on fly front zippers because I feel it gives me a really accurate seam. Plus, following a line is much easier than eyeballing it on oddly shaped pieces such as this one. Below, you will find that I have marked the crotch curve seam allowance as well as a straight line from the CF notch to the beginning of the crotch curve.

When you go to sew, make sure that you are basting your seam along the fly extension and then back stitching and swapping to a tiny stitch from the bottom of the fly extension through the crotch curve.

Next, we are going to make a little snip at the point where our fly extension stitches meets the crotch seam allowance. Make sure you don't accidentally cut through your stitches!

Now you can press your fly pieces open and your crotch seams over to the left side of your pants!

Flip your pants over so that the right side is now facing you. We are now going to sew a single line of stitching along the right side of our crotch seam, making sure to catch one of the fly extension pieces and the crotch seam allowance.

Flip your pants back over so that the wrong side is facing you again. It's time to begin the process of inserting the zipper - eeep!

Line your zipper teeth up so that they sit anywhere from right along the CF edge to sitting 1/2" (1.3 cm) to the right of the CF edge (this is a matter of personal preference!). For mine, I lined my zipper teeth so that they were touching the CF seam.

Once you feel like your zipper is all lined up, pin it in place making sure that it is only being pinned to the right fly extension (and not through the right pant leg!) You can also adjust how far down your zipper stop is sitting. I probably should have brought mine up just a tad as my machine kept hitting it from the front side when I was sewing my fly extension in place. Whoops!

Now we can attach the right side of our zipper tape to the right fly extension. I really like doing two lines of stitching - one close to the teeth and one along the outer edge of the zipper tape - as it looks clean and sturdy!

Please excuse my crooked sewing - I don't have a zipper foot for my vintage machine so it was a bit of a task getting the zipper in!

We are doing it! We are sewing the zipper into place :D

With the wrong side of your pants facing you, pick up the right fly extension and zipper and pull it towards the left fly extension as far as it will go without distorting the fabric.

Pin the left side of the zipper tape to the left fly extension, just as we did for the right fly. Try to keep your zipper steady as you pin so that you don't create any waviness in your zipper.

Just as you did with the right side, you will now sew two lines of stitching on your zipper tape on the left side - one right along the outer edge of the zipper tape and one closer to the zipper teeth.

WOOHOO! You have officially gotten your zipper installed! Give yourself a high five and take a mini break before diving in to the next segment (we've gotten through a tough part. but there is still quite a ways to go!)

When you are ready and feeling refreshed, come back to your pants, making sure they are now flipped so that the right side is facing you.

Line up your faux fly guide to your CF seam and draw around it to create a nice curve. Make sure you don't draw your line right over your zipper stop (like I did!). Instead, try to draw it below your zipper stop by at least 1/2" while still catching your fly extension.

Draw a second line approximately 1/4" (0.6 cm) inside your first line.

Pin around your newly marked crotch curve making sure to catch the fly extension below. This step is optional, but I find it gives greater control when sewing to have all the bits and bobs pinned into place!

Now it's time to sew! Following your marked lines, stitch along your fly extension, around your curves (slowly!), ending right at the CF seam. Make sure you backstitch a few times to secure your stitches into place.

Side Note* I like using frixion pens for projects such as these because they are really easy to use and they come off with the press of an iron. I got these pens as a gift from Topstitch Studio and Lounge (with absolutely no obligation to post! I asked the owner fi she happened to have any in stock and she sent me a few for my projects as a surprise!)

VOILA! Like magic, the pen marking disappeared!

Alrighty, we are at our final steps before we can reveal our glorious zipper! It's time to prep the new fly shield!

I didn't have enough linen left over, so I am using this gorgeous scrap fabric from Sara Parker Textiles I had in my stash!

Fold your fly shield in half (like a hot dog!) with right sides touching.

Sew the bottom edge using 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance, and then snip the corner.

Turn your fly shield right side out (making sure you have enclosed your interfacing) and press it flat.

With the wrong side of your pants facing you, match up the folded edge of the fly shield to the finished edge of your left fly extension.

Pin the raw edge of the fly shield through the right fly extension, making sure you aren't catching the right pant leg.

Sew your fly shield to your fly extension.

If your right fly extension peeks out from the fly shield, you will want to trim that off....

.... and then finish your edge.

Finally, flip your pants over one last time and mark a few spots on your stitched curve. This is where you will be sewing some additional stitches to catch and secure your fly shield. It isn't necessary to do a true bar tack since these aren't jeans. Feel free to do a couple rounds of shorter stitches instead, following your original line of stitching.

You are now free to remove your basting stitches from your CF seam using a seam ripper. If your fabric is delicate (like mine!) go slowly and remove one stitch at a time.

YES! You are officially done... with this part! We still have to attach our waistbands and button, but I definitely think you deserve a small celebration for all that you have just accomplished!

Heck yes! YOU just accomplished inserting a fly front zip!

Whew! I know we have gotten through A LOT, but there is still just a little bit left to go. Whenever you are ready, I will be here to help guide you through the waistband.

Our next steps are to attach the front waistband. It is now in two pieces instead of one, so we will take one side at a time.

With the right side of your pants facing up, pin the right waistband piece to the right pant leg (these will be on the left side when you are looking down at your pants, as shown in the photos below).

There should be a tiny bit of overhang left from your waistband near your fly shield. Fold this bit back and pin in place.

Now, on to our left pant leg (right side when looking at the garment). Pin your waistband just as you did the opposite pant leg, only this time, when you get to the waistband overhang at the CF of your pants, you will loop it around your pants as shown below.

I have flipped this bit around the CF seam so that it comes towards the inside of the pants.

Once everything is pinned in place, sew your front waistband along the top edge using a 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance.

You will definitely want to clip off any excess zipper tape that you may have at this point as well as grade your seams. Mine were getting to be a bit bulky so this helped a lot!

You may have noticed I also finished the bottom edge of my waistband. I realized as I was sewing that this portion would need to be finished before moving on to the final steps!

Press your waistband and seam allowances up, then understitch your waistband to help control the bulk and keep your waistband from peeking out from behind your pants.

Press your waistband towards the inside of your pants.

At this point, we cannot go any further until you have sewn up the back portion of your pants and attached them to the front. You will notice that you will be unable to zip your zipper up fully at this moment because of the waistband. Don't worry- we will be tackling that once you have your back all sewn up and attached! I'll see you back here once you have arrived at the "Finishing Touches" portion of your instructions!

Welcome Back! We are seriously nearly finished - I promise. I am so sorry if this has been a long journey!

Now that your back pants are on and your elastic is in, it's time to finish the last bits of these pants.

With your pants right side out, facing you, take the left side and pin your front waistband to the front of your pants at each of your pleats and/or dart.

Make sure your front waistband is folded back neatly at the end of the fly shield and pin that in place as well. Sew at each of these points, making sure to catch your waistband. I went ahead and restitched my entire pleat to make it extra secure.

On the opposite pant leg, you will do the exact same thing, adding in a place to sew right along your fly front stitches. Do NOT pin your CF seam or waistband  just yet.

Instead, flip your pants so that the wrong side is facing you. Do you see how the waistband is currently obstructing your zipper from being able to fully zip? We need to fix that, but just a little. After looking at the vintage pants the Chandler's were inspired by and measuring where the inner zipper stops, I determined that I would need to cut a small square wedge from the waistband 2" (5 cm) from the top of the waistband edge.

I also cut out any little bits that were unnecessary bulk, like that little dangling bit near the zipper tape.

Flip the raw edges of your newly cut square under and pin your waistband through your zipper.

You can now either sew along the square's edges with a machine or by hand if you prefer an invisible stitch. My thread matched my fabric super well, so I opted to sew by machine, knowing that the stitches would be invisible on the outside. You can also go ahead and tack the places you pinned along your waistband down just as you had done on the other pant leg.

Oh. My. Gosh! Now all that's left to do is add your button and buttonhole and your pants are DONE!

Full disclosure- I marked my button hole as I normally would have and picked out a cute button, but my machine just wasn't really cooperating with me. Honestly, the entire day I had struggled with it. So instead of fighting it, I left the remnants of the buttonhole is created (it looks fine and all, I was just afraid of the skipped stitches unraveling over time if I had cut my buttonhole open) and sewed my button on the edge of it, creating a faux button closure.

I then added a heavy duty, flat hook and eye to the inside of the fly extension so that I could properly close my "button." I rather like how this faux button look turned out!

Are you ready for me to say it? YOU ARE DONE!!!

Thank you so much for following me on this pattern hack! I know it feels a bit involved, but once  you get through it once, it becomes so much simpler to achieve and it offers a wonderful alternative to adding a zip to your pants, especially if you find that you require one (like me!).

If you have any questions or tips you found while sewing your own pair of Chandlers, I would love to hear in the comments below! And I'd love to see your Chandler hacks online, too! Feel free to tag me on IG at @untitledthoughts or use #UTChandlerPants #UTChandlerHack !

 

 

 

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