SEWN - SewHouse 7 Burnside Bibs + How to remove back gathers

SEWN - SewHouse 7 Burnside Bibs + How to remove back gathers

Hello hello!

I’m interrupting the Stephanie Skirt programming to show you the latest garment I made: a gather less version of the Burnside Bibs by Sew House 7. I’ll also explain the changes I made to the pattern n case you want to try it out for yourself. 

I usually have 2 ways of planning my sewing projects: 1/ I find an inspiration garment in RTW and look for a suitable pattern (or draft it if I have to) or 2/ I like a pattern and decide to make it as is or with minimal changes. But, this time was different. For a while, I have been looking at Instagram versions of the Burnside Bibs, and I wanted to try it out. But the gathered back had me hesitant. Then, the other day I saw that RTW style shared by Erica B in her Instagram Stories, and I could not get it out of my mind:

They are the Carmen overalls from the Apiece Apart. I instantly loved the minimalist look and styling. I took full advantage of the brand showing the garment on different figures, including on shorter models, and I realized that I liked the shorter cropped length best. I could have found a pattern closer to the look, but I was determined to try out the Burnside Bibs. I don’t know about you, but when my sewing mind is made up, it’s tough to change it… So I went the complicated route and hacked the pattern to turn the gathers into a fitted back.

In addition to picking a pattern requiring significant modifications, I also decided to skip the muslin stage. I live a risky life! I was fortunate that things worked out well. If you own the pattern and you want to try something different, or if you share my masochistic sewing tendencies, I walk you through my changes in this post.


The first step was to combine the bottom part of View 1, with the darts and already reduced gathers and the straight bib of view 2 and then to blend between sizes. My hip measurement put me between a size 2 and a size 4. I decided to go with a 2 for the hips and legs, grading down to a 00 for the bib.

Looking at the pattern pieces, I realized that the pants side seam is almost straight, so I could use the Persephone Pants pattern to guide my changes:

  •  I removed 2cm (¾”) to the center front and 4cm (1½”) to the center back and the back waist facing piece. That’s a total of 12cm (4¾”) from the waist circumference. 

  • The darts of size 00 or 2 would have been too close to the Center Back (CB), so I went the darts from size 10. 

The below diagram illustrates those changes:

Something I forgot to do was to true the CB corner. I should have raised the waist at the center back so that it meets my new CB seam at a 90° angle. I managed to avoid a dramatic dip at CB by reducing my seam allowance when I attached the facing. But please don’t make the same mistake, true your center back seam on the pants and the facing! For the front, I usually have to remove length from the front crotch seam, so it wasn’t an issue.

Next, I drafted front slant pockets so that they would be less visible than the pattern patch pockets. I used the original patch pockets for the overall dimensions of the pocket bag. When drafting pockets, I recommend to draw all pieces on the pattern and then use pattern paper to copy the individual pieces. The process becomes logical, and you are less likely to make mistakes or forget pieces (which has happened to me in the past!). The below diagram is what I drew on my modified front pattern, with the dimensions:

From there, I removed the opening part from the front legs and created pieces for the pocket bag and 2 facings. Remember to add, grainlines, cutting information, and seam allowances where they are not included. In case you are not sure how to construct this type of pocket, Closet Case Patterns has an excellent tutorial from the Sasha sew-along. But in general, I find that since you have to think through the construction as you draft pattern pieces, you don’t need tutorials or instructions while you assemble.


  • Fabric - Unknown fabric content from Lanvin

  • Notions - thread, invisible zipper and snaps from stash

The fabric comes from a Parisian store, General Diff, and is an attractive synthetic remnant from Lanvin. If you are familiar with fabric stores in Paris, this one is in the traditional garment district of Paris called Le Sentier, rather than in the fabric shopping area of Montmartre. The selection here is small and curated, with a focus on special occasion and some French designers deadstock. 

My only hesitation in recommending this store is that I was “encouraged” to visit the cheaper area of the shop. It was said in that particular French way: with a polite smile but hinting that you cannot afford what is on the main floor. The fabric selection was good enough for me to brush it off, but living abroad for the last ten years has lowered my tolerance for this kind of thing. A long time ago, I worked briefly on the sales floor of a Christian Dior boutique, and I learned that you could never judge how much people are going to spend by just looking at them. First, because it’s rude, and second because you will almost always be proven wrong. Rant over.

As far as the construction goes, it was straight forward. I found the instructions excellent and accessible to all sewing levels. I changed the seam allowances from ⅝” to ⅜” everywhere, but this is a personal preference. Seam allowances are serged, and I kept the topstitching on the waistband to the bare minimum for a clean silhouette.

When I tried the pants with the side seams basted, I realized that I wanted a closer fit. I increased the side seam allowances by ¼, which means that I should have used size 0 instead of size 2. The problem with doing as an afterthought is that it reduced the opening of my slant pockets. But that’s the price you have to pay for not making a muslin!

I omitted the extra straps meant for tying around the waist and used anorak snaps to attach the straps to the back instead. By the way, I meant to ask, am I the only one that gets nervous when it’s time to insert hardware? I used the snaps and the pliers from the Prym box I bought over 15 years ago when I was really into corset making. I clearly remember debating buying this box because it felt like a considerable investment at the time. But it has come handy regularly over the years, and I’m grateful to my younger self for splurging on quality tools despite a tiny budget!

Overall, I got lucky with my alterations. The final item is close to what I had in mind: a minimalist yet structured garment that I’m excited to pair with the tops in my closet. I wore it already on a couple of occasions, and I’m happy to report that it’s as practical as jumpsuits can be. I’m unsure about my ability to wear this at work (once I resume working) because it may look too casual. I’ll report back!

I tend to make extensive changes to patterns, but I don’t document them anywhere, even just for myself. So I’ve decided to try to do this kind of posts a little more often if time allows, I hope that you found them interesting! If you have feedback, questions, or if you attempt something similar, please let me know!

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