achievement unlocked: gray linen Burnside Bibs


I just finished these overalls two days ago, but I can already tell you that I LOOOOOOOOVE them. The Burnside Bibs are the newest pattern release from Sew House Seven, & it’s entirely possible that I might be the first person blogging about them that wasn’t a pattern tester. I saw them linked in a sewing group I’m in on FB, & there was even a sale on, to celebrate the new release. I didn’t jump because I had earmarked this gray linen for a different project. But I couldn’t get the overalls out of my head & I knew the linen would be perfect, so two days later I went back & bought them, even though the sale was over.

Just an aside on what I originally intended this fabric to be: I was going to make the Chameleon dress by Hot Patterns, which I won during Indie Pattern Month at the Monthly Stitch last year. But I could not figure out how the damn PDF was supposed to come together! I pored over the website & the directions to see if I was missing something, but I couldn’t find PDF assembly instructions anywhere. & it’s not like I am new at taping together PDFs. I’ve done it dozens of times. But this one bested me.

I finally emailed the folks at Hot Patterns, & they directed me to some random YouTube video that cleared up my confusion (maybe clearly link that video in the downloadable instructions, yeah? Or just say, “Assemble the PDF by butting up the pages, do not trim or overlap”?), but by that point, I’d moved on & had hacked my trusty M6966 into a V-necked hi-low sleeveless shirtdress. Then I saw the Burnside Bibs & was like, “Hold everything. I’m making that.”


I decided to make the more fitted version, with back darts & a zipper, plus back pockets, full length, & a straight bib. I waffled on whether or not to futz with grading between sizes or doing any advance pattern alterations. I considered adding some length to the bib &/or adding a bit more front crotch depth, but ultimately I just sewed a straight size 18.


The drafting was great. Everything came together perfectly, & it was generally a really enjoyable sew. My only quibble with the instructions is that they don’t say anything about grading the seams on the belt loops & straps before turning them right side out. You gotta grade that shit, man.


This pattern hit my sweet spot of having enough technique to keep me interested, without being needlessly fussy. There’s understitching, edgestitching, topstitching, darts, & a zipper. The bib & back waistline are faced, & I liked the way that all came together. The fitted version that I made has a narrower back waist than front, so I got alarmed when I sewed the back facing to the bib facing. I thought I’d somehow cut out the wrong size. But nope, everything came together perfectly. The only bit that was a WTF for me was the rear pocket placement. I followed the pattern marks, but guys? Those marks make for some low fucking pockets. Maybe my general asslessness exacerbates the problem, who knows. I think the real issue that the pants are supposed to be a bit more gathered in the back, which would raise the pockets a little, but my larger waist reduces some of the gathering.


I am still striving for that elusive “perfect sew,” & these don’t make the grade, but they’re damn close. I don’t have an invisible zipper foot for my Pfaff, so my zipper isn’t quite invisible, even though I sewed as close to the coils as I possibly could! & as always, my waistband facings could look more neat on the inside. Even when I baste them, I never get the stitch line perfectly even. Someday! & really, these are nitpicks, because the topstitching all looks perfect from the right side.


These overalls were giving me a serious 1930s-hobo-with-a-rope-belt vibe, which is always a good thing in my book! That’s basically my personal aesthetic. To up the hobo factor, I sewed on a patch that my friend Jessika Rae made like ten years ago (maybe more?). She & I met through zines in the early 00s. The first time we ever met in person was when she hosted the Midwest Zine Fest 2003 at the Trumbullplex in Detroit. The Trumbullplex is a long-standing collective punk house. The weekend of the Fest coincided with the Great Black-Out of 2003. The conference space was lit with generators, & all the stoplights were out. It was the first time I had ever tabled my zine distro, Learning to Leave a Paper Trail. J Rae & I barely knew each other at that point, but we became good friends afterward. We traveled in a hobo-y fashions (hitchhiking & Greyhounds) to see each other all the time & went to assorted punk fests, skillshares, & anarchist conferences together. I’m sad that I haven’t seen her since Ramona was a wee baby (our first family vacation was to Detroit), but I haven’t been up for much traveling in the last few years, & surprise! Not a lot of people want to come visit you when you live in Kansas. I definitely had a lot more houseguests when I lived in Boston!


J Rae & Baby Ramona, April 2013!

Anyway, I have been on the alert for the perfect setting for this patch for years now. I knew I’d found it when I saw these overalls. I left the edges of both the patch & the background fabric raw & cut somewhat unevenly, & just zigzagged them on. If I really wanted to get punk about it, I would have sewn them on with dental floss, but I don’t do that anymore, now that I know how to sew for real.


pattern: Burnside Bibs from Sew House Seven
size: 18
fabric: 3.5 yards of Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Blend Yarn Dyed in Steel
notions: universal needle, gray thread, 9″ invisible zipper, a bit of lightweight interfacing for back facing, J Rae’s patch, & patch background fabric
total cost of all supplies: around $40 (including the pattern)
alterations: shortened legs 1.75″
next time: add .5″ to bib height, add .5″ to front crotch depth, raise the back pockets by…ummm… a lot
remarks from the public: “You look like a Valentine’s Day card, Mama.” — Ramona
photos: Ramona took the photos of me, I took the rest

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

9 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: gray linen Burnside Bibs

  1. These look incredible!! I love the patch you put on the front 🙂 I was discussing this pattern on a different site and I’m excited to see a finished version. It’s so hobo-rific I think I have to make it 🙂

    1. They are SO hobo-riffic. I couldn’t help myself & totally bought some railroad stripe denim to make another pair. Definitely fun to sew too, though I suggest settling in with a podcast or something when it comes time to turn the straps/ties right side out. They are looooooong & very narrow.

      I wonder if you were discussing this pattern on the site I am thinking of…

      1. Nice!! There’s some green rayon-linen I have my eye on for these. Good idea on those ties…I haaate turning little fabric tubes so anything to take my mind off it helps!

        Haha! I think so…I was discussing this on a pattern site where I can really ham it up

        1. I see what you did there, & yes, that’s the one I was thinking of. You may have even been discussing the pattern…with me.

          I also hate turning those damn tubes. & these are literally like close to five feet long…& there are two of them! But I guess it’s kinda worth it.

          1. I think it was me!!! I wondered when I saw your post if you were the person discussing it, too! Mega cool! Your secret identity is safe with me.

            Ugh that’s alot of turning. I might need a stiff drink or something 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: