Pietra Potential

I must admit that my first impression of this trouser / short pattern wasn’t very favourable: I actually plain didn’t like them. It was only when tester versions started to appear that I saw their appeal: there was something about the Closet Case Patterns styling that just wasn’t working for me.

Pietra Shorts Closet Case Patterns www.heatherymakes.wordpress.com (15)


We booked our holiday to Ljubljana last week, and I knew I needed a new pair of shorts. I’ve needed more for years, but after my failure in this department last year I wasn’t rushing into making a new pair. When I started looking I discovered that shorts patterns are few and far between and I think my tastes must be very old-fashioned as there weren’t any alternative patterns that really attracted me, so the Pietra it was!

Again, as per almost always, I shopped my stash. I had two choices of fabric and to help me make the decision I held both against my peely waly* legs and checked out which made them look least bad most attractive. The pale blue twill won, and I cut out that same night.

*Scottish term for something pale, normally relating to skin tone: “Jings, she’s looking peely waly, do you think she’s alright?”

Pietra Shorts Closet Case Patterns www.heatherymakes.wordpress.com (2)

I graded between the 10 at the waist and 8 on the hips. There’s a lot of ease in the hips, so I decided against making a straight size 10 as I thought I’d lose the streamlined look with too much ease. Also, one of the issues that I’ve noticed from the other versions, is a rather generous crotch curve, which leads to bagginess around the front in a location that a woman generally does not need bagginess.

This is my first time making a CCP item, and I was disappointed by the lack of lengthen lines for the length of the shorts. The only shorten/lengthen line is located above the crotch, but that’s no use for lengthening the legs of the shorts! I pondered what to do, and decided on adding an inch below the crotch notch (catchy title), following the grainline to make sure length was added in the right direction. This was a real experiment and I just crossed my fingers that I would be happy with this.

Then, my worries took hold and I decided to add half an inch at the official lengthen/shorten line. And this is my biggest regret of them all.

Pietra Shorts Closet Case Patterns www.heatherymakes.wordpress.com (3)

The shorts came together really quickly: I cut them out one night, the next night made a small start, and then the next morning had them finished before lunchtime and on my body for my afternoon walk in the hills. I took a tripod and camera in order to get pictures, which was great fun!

I was interested in wearing them out and about before finishing this blog post, so that I could find out how they feel to wear, for I am not sure about what to think of this look! However, in terms of usefulness, they definitely pass the test. They’re comfy (this fabric is gorgeous to sew with and to wear), the pockets are large enough to be useful, they stay up… all very positive things.

I am also very glad that I added that inch to the leg as I like the length I’ve ended up with, but I really regret adding that half inch extra in the rise. Completely unnecessary, and that was just me being ultra-cautious. In future I will try to trust my instincts as to how a pattern is going to fit me. The excess fabric in the crotch becomes more apparent in the action shots:


Despite all of the above, I still don’t love the elastic at the back. In fact, on my way back I had basically made the decision to rip it out, add some darts and draft a new back waistline. However, these are finished beautifully, with bound seam allowances throughout (apart from the side seam) and it will take quite a lot of effort to unpick all of that! Time will tell whether I wear the shorts as they are, or whether I decide to do some modifications to better suit my body.

Pietra Shorts Closet Case Patterns www.heatherymakes.wordpress.com (16)

What I wear on top will have a big impact, I quite like it with the flowery cotton tee (for more details, see here) which I do actually like. I am planning on making a scrappy tee with this pattern, adjusting the armholes so that they fit me better.

With the yellow t-shirt (not yet blogged), it looks incredibly unflattering tucked in, and then the t-shirt is too long and makes me look very shapeless, untucked. It will require a bit of playing around with my tops to see how to wear the Pietra, but I will try and get a style that works.

Pietra Shorts Closet Case Patterns www.heatherymakes.wordpress.com (10)

If I make this again, there will be big changes. I will swap the back elastic for darts and an invisible zip as I do like the front (apart from the baggy crotch!). They might make useful trousers, but I will need to see how much these are worn prior to making more.

What do you think? Should I rip them up and remake the back? Or do you think they’re wearable? Would you wear the Pietra? Let me know, I am really interested in how this pattern is received.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Mhairi Beaton says:

    I love the shorts! I think perhaps you are looking too critically at them. They look so nice to wear, in my opinion they are comfy and flattering. And I really like with yellow top tucked in! Another lovely blog HB xx


    1. Thanks MB! 😀 wore them this morning and just need more sunshine to get more use out of them!


  2. I like them too! Maybe a bit baggy in the front. It’s always hard when you make something you wear. Your always going to analyse everything.


    1. Yes, very true! I wore them today and I think the excess fabric in the front bothers me more than the elasticated back. But overall I have become very fond of them, so that’s good 😀


  3. Casey K says:

    I chuckled at your frustration over the placement of the shorten/lengthen lines because I felt just the same! My thighs are very long and I straight up added two inches to that line when I made my first pair of these (huge mistake…). The fabric pools at the crotch just like yours. I just hike that first pair up a little more on my waist when I wear them. I made a second pair with no length added and love them. For my third pair, I want to take your advice of adding length by the crotch notch. I was searching to see if others had added length and where! Your photos are gorgeous, btw! (If you want to see my first pair of these, I’m Noirgirl39 on IG)


    1. I loved your comment: thanks! I am surprised that more people haven’t commented on the shorten/lengthen lines, or the lack thereof. I see a lot that I think are too long in the crotch though! Yours look very comfy and the fabric is gorgeous! I’ll look out for your second and third pair, I suspect I’ll be making more too. Since making these I’ve taken in the back elastic massively- so much that I can hardly get them on and off(!!!) so I need to insert a zip. Another thing to add to the never ending list 😀


  4. yoli says:

    I spliced my back pattern to add 1.5″ and then had the same thought as you–these fit great above the crotch, I just liked the unhemmed length and would like to make it permanent. So thank you for the tip of making my own cut line below the crotch. The actual hem lines are not perpendicular to grain, especially on the front, and your solution seems perfect! Thanks for being the top Google result and writing such clear directions.


    1. I am so glad you found this useful and I bet your shorts are fab! I had no idea this wee blog was even coming up on google (😅) so I’m glad you found me. Enjoy your shorts!


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