As my broken wrist slowly mends… disaster strikes! My faithful me-made jeans… my absolute favourites… the ones with the scissors on the back pocket…

… well, the zipper’s broken… pulled straight off…!

They were a pretty early make, considering, and I’d obviously trimmed the zip too far back. I kind-of knew I’d done it at the time, but it’s held well for over a year. Only now (that I am incapacitated) does it finally give up the ghost. Literally adding insult to injury… Dammit!

So the first thing I need to do once these bones of mine are healed is to replace the zip. Funnily enough I had to do this a while ago on my Sail-Away-Shorts, not long after I’d made them; I’d used a cheap zip which astonishingly got mangled up in the washing machine and the zip pull got all twisted. It came off once, somehow I managed to wrangle it back on only for it to come off again. There was nothing left to do but replace the zip.

I studied it for hours, thinking there must be a way to get the old zip out and the new one in causing minimal disturbance to the existing fly. Well to the best of my (limited) knowledge I can report that there is no such magic… Everything needs unpicking – the zip (obviously), the fly shield, topstitching, even a good couple of inches of the waistband; sewing line, ditch-stitching, topstitching, the lot! You’ve really got to pick that fly wide open.

I’m never much of a fan of unpicking, seeing it as a necessary evil when I’m mid-project. However, when a project starts with unpicking, it doesn’t seem to bother me so much. In fact, I kind-of love it. It’s satisfying like the demolition bit at the beginning of a diy project, clear the slate, fresh page and all that. Hopefully I’ll have some strength back in my left hand soon and I’d welcome the chance to do some unpicking!

So I prepared my new zip, shortening and re-capping like I did in this post. It can be one of the most frustrating things to do. There seems to be no real knack to getting the teeth out first time, patience and perseverance will win over power or practise as far as I can tell.

With the zip prepared I just had to follow all the usual steps for sewing a fly… pretty much all the steps – no shortcuts.


  1. Sew the zip to the right front.
  2. Close the zip and pin and sew to the left facing.
  3. Topstitch the left facing to the front of the trousers.
  4. Sew the fly shield to the seam on the right.
  5. Bar-tack the fly, facing and shield from the front.
  6. Close up the waistband.

Refinishing the waistband was easier than I thought it would be. Some of the allowances were pretty ragged, but the stitching line was still clearly visible, even after pressing, so I could see my way.

Now, it’s not the stealthiest of repairs and doesn’t really stand up to close scrutiny; but it all gets hidden behind my belt… And the most important thing of all… my fly is no longer gaping open.


This photo was taken the day I actually repaired them. It was during Wimbledon season and when I saw the tennis balls decorating a local hotel, I couldn’t resist the chance for a (then) topical photo!

On writing this I’ve just finished week 2 of broken-arm. The x-rays say it’s all lined up properly and will now just take time. Four weeks to be precise. I’ve got my modern, slimline and lightweight cast on, and even go back to work next week. I won’t be hairdressing, obviously, but I’m going to assist in training sessions and help on the phones and in the office. As much as I’ve enjoyed watching Kath & Kim (back to back) with Drag Race re runs I’ll be glad to actually do something, it’s just really frustrating not to be sewing. As I’m sure you can imagine (as well as needing to repair my jeans) I’ve also designed a really useful shoulder bag… and a ‘utility-sling’ but by the time I get to make them I won’t need them anymore. There’s irony.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Notes to self:

  1. It’s funny the amount of people who think a broken bone doesn’t hurt. It amazes me when they ask ‘Does it hurt though?’ – I answer, ‘Yes, it’s broken.’
  2. I have a limited amount of tops that fit over my cast. I’m beginning to regret learning this lesson so long ago!
  3. The sewing list is piling up, I’d better get organised: I’ll try to get some projects lined up… you know, with the right zips etc…!