Trouser fly fastening – buttons

After my last post about a zip fly, here is a how to do a button fly. It’s really similar but you need to have your buttons at the ready from early on. I’m making a pair of skinny jeans (Butterick 5682) using some stretch denim from I bought from Backstitch. I absolutely love this rust colour so I’m excited to finish these but I’m having to tell myself to go slow as they’re my demo piece for this term’s intermediate course at college. Here’s a link to my courses if you want to take a look.

Step one – Attach the facing

Step one is the same as the zip fly. First sew the centre front a couple of inches from the base of the opening towards the crotch.

Attach the facing. As this is a stretch denim, I think it’s really important to use a fusible to give it some structure. I’m using a woven fusible so that it doesn’t deteriorate and can’t be stretched.

On the last post I showed you under stitching but for comparison I’m top stitching this because I’m using a feature top stitching thread. To get a clean crisp edge, first press the seam open. I’ve then trimmed the seam allowance on one side down. This is called layering and helps prevent a bulky seam as the seam allowances are now different widths so there’s not such a big step. Next I fold the facing back and give it a good press so that the fold is directly over the seam. Finally I top stitched, I’m using a gutermann top stitching thread (which is nice and thick) with regular thread underneath. If your thread keeps shredding in the machine, a little tip is to put the thicker thread underneath on the bobbin and stitch everything upside down.

Step two – Make buttonhole stand

Attach the buttonhole stand pieces together along the vertical edge. If you’re making a buttonhole fly from a zip fly pattern, just cut an extra pair of fly facings. Definitely use interfacing in one of these pieces. This will prevent the buttonhole from over stretching. Under stitch or top stitch to get a clean, crisp edge. Then tack or overlock the remaining edges together.

Decide how many buttons you want to use and mark horizontal buttonholes on buttonhole stand. I got my buttons at the same time as my fabric from Backstitch. Just remember that once fastened the button will sit at end of buttonhole closest to centre front. So do your marks from the point where you want you button to sit once fastened. I think it’s always advisable whenever doing buttonholes, to do samples first. You need to check that you like the stitch length and that the hole is not too big/small for the button.

Make the buttonholes and cut open. I love to use a Frixion pen to mark the buttonholes because they iron straight off and my Clover button hole cutter to make clean cuts.

Step three – Attach the buttonhole stand and button stand

The button stand is the same piece as the zip guard. Press back the seam allowance towards the inside on the side which doesn’t have the facing. Lay the button stand against the pressed edge and top stitch into place. You’ll notice that my button stand/zip guard is set back. The pattern I’m using had a tailor tack to mark where to press the seam allowance back. Once fastened, you’ll not see the join, so I’ve used regular thread to attach it.

With the buttonhole stand, lay it behind the fly facing and top stitch through front of garment and facing to hold in place. I would set the button stand back slightly so that you can’t see it when it’s fastened. Keep the button stand completely out the way.

As with the zip fly, top stitch the base of button stand with either a bar tack or a top stitch.

Step four – Attach buttons

I would generally attach your buttons once you’ve finished your garment, you don’t want them to interfere with stitching other seams.

When you do attach them, lay your fly closed and mark buttons through the buttonholes. If you’re using jean buttons, use an awl to make a hole for the pointy nail bit of the button. Push the nail through. Use the little tool (if you have one in button pack but if you don’t, it’s not end of world) and a hammer, to smack the buttons into place.


So there you have it, two ways to make a fly. However for these jeans I’ve decided to have the buttons on show. I’ve eliminated the buttonhole stand and done the buttonholes through the front of the garment and facing.

If you’re inspired to do this, deep breath and go for it! I’ve finished my buttonholes with a hand sewn buttonhole stitch. I’ll admit I’m not very good at them but I wanted to use my top stitching thread on them and also it helps prevent the machined buttonholes from fraying after heavy use.

I hope you enjoyed reading.

Rosie xx

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