Pietra Shorts: Lessons in topstitching

Welcome to my first pattern post! Ironically, the Pietra pants and shorts pattern is the last pattern of my Closet Case Patterns Learn to Sew Clothing class. Leading up to shorts/pants, I have made 6 Cielo tops/dresses and 4 Fiore skirts.

As you might imagine, having made 10 garments, I felt ready to take on pants. Sure, people said the inseam would be tricky. They said there would be all kinds of fitting considerations. I’d heard more than one person on the Love to Sew podcast who was afeared of jeans in particular. But these were not jeans. I was just starting with shorts.

I thought shorts would be easier because there is less fabric. Well, they turned out to be a little more difficult I think because the pocket piece was nearly the same size as the front pant piece. So I had a very hard time telling them apart. I need to get in a habit of pinning a descriptive post-it note to the piece.


My favorite part of this make was the Hong Kong seam on the edge of the inner facing. It’s a wonderful little detail that you’d never see in ready-to-wear. I also love the white topstitching detail on the black shorts. Super cute!


Only two parts gave me trouble: 1) pocket topstitching, 2) edges of the waistband.

1) Nowhere in the instructions does it say to (optionally) topstitch the pockets, as it does for the front seam and hem.  In the class videos and on Instagram, #pietrashorts, I saw topstitching on the pockets and liked the look. However, with it not being mentioned in the instructions, I didn’t realize I wanted this until I came to the note about optionally topstitching the front seam. By this time, my pockets were completely finished. I pulled and shoved the finished pockets under the sewing machine needle and managed to topstitch them, but this would have been easier and looked better had I done it before the pockets were finished.

Grainline Studio recently did a fantastic article on topstitching that explained you don’t want to backstitch when you’re topstitching. You want to pull the top thread through to the back and tie a knot. Had I also read this earlier, I wouldn’t have the thread bulk on both sides of my pocket front.

2) When folded over, not all of my waistband came down far enough to allow me to catch with a stitch-in-the-ditch. Both ends did not reach. Heather Lou had the same issue in the video and said she would hand-sew it later. Maybe they can draft waistbands wider at both ends?

Overall, I’m very happy with my fine pair of shorts. They are quite short, and I’m not used to wearing shorts at all, so I’ll have to get used to the shortness. For some reason, I’m finding it’s a lot easier to get used to a style I sewed than something I bought.