#PatternTorture: my take on the Tatjana Trousers

Disclaimer: while I received this pattern for free, opinions are my own. This review is intended as a documentation of my sewing and as a helpful tool for my audience, nothing more.

You all know I’m a lover of classic style and pleated pants. So when Delphine of Just Patterns asked…well…months ago to sew a prerelease version of the Tatjana trousers I could not say no. In fact, I basically stalked Delphine to remind her of my interest. Yes, I am that kind of person.

Anyhow, after months of busy PhD life I finally became a Doctor and had time to sew. But of course I could not leave the pattern alone, and the resulting comedy in three acts is what Delphine and I lovingly called “pattern torture”. I appreciate Delphine a lot as she was not fazed by my cavalier approach and did not mind sharing insight and answering all my questions.

The Pattern

Tatjana is a high rise and straight leg pant pattern, with two front reversed pleats (the pleats are open towards the sides) in the front, and darts in the back. The back also features two single welt pockets, and there’s a proper fly with fly shield in the front.

As I said, I could not leave the pattern alone, and modified it as follows:

  • split waistband with facing: my waistband is 4 pieces instead of 1 straight loop folded over. This is because I think a curved waistband with back dovetail first of all hugs the body better, doesn’t gape, and offers a nice spring action to suspenders wearers like myself.
  • Taller waistband, extending more than in the pattern
  • Inverted the direction of the zipper. Traditionally, menswear closes left over right, and womenswear right over left. Before being non-binary and wanting to kick the patriarchy, I’m a right handed person, which makes closures left over right more advantageous as I can use my dominant hand.
  • no belt loops. I dislike belts. Next.
  • suspenders buttons #SuspenderForTheWin
  • no back welts: I generally don’t like back pockets as I feel they disturb the leg line.
  • closed the pleats: to avoid losing all the ease given by the open pleat, I make the pleats smaller (2.5 cm each) and stitched them down. If you want to do this I recommend toiling it first as my first version did not zip closed, lol! Delphine confirmed this as being a problem area for several people.
  • sway back adjustment: I removed a wedge (2 cm at the CB) between the two external back darts. This is a very usual mod for me so I eyeballed it.
  • straight hip instead of the pattern’s curved hip: this is just preference. I prefer not to draw too much attention to my hips, and generally go for a straight cut between the hip and the knee. Curve is already built in this style of pants so I did not want more.
  • all-in-one fly facing

I’d like to explain the last adjustment a little further. I took inspiration from a pattern I made for Husband-san and basically drafted a fly shield which continues into the waistband. This then fastens on the opposite side waistband’s facing with a button. I have slightly exaggerated the proportions here (could have shaved off am extra couple of centimeters from the width), but I like the effect and it actually adds minimal bulk. I did however have to finish everything by hand, which I didn’t mind, but it’s something to keep in mind.

In hindsight, I should also have made pocket stays. This can be added later and depending on my level of annoyance every time I pull the pants back up I may add stays later on. Too bad I’m out of this Tana Lawn, repurposed from a t-shirt Daisy gave me.

The Fabric

Coming to the fabric, this belongs to the fabrics my relatives working for Zegna send me periodically. They are mostly offcuts, or factory seconds, and as such your milage may vary. This particular shipment contained a furry looking fabric with lots of damages I hope I can save enough of to make a coat (I only have 2 meters), and 6 meters (!!!!) of what I diagnosed as wool pique. Yes, you read that correctly. Think polo shirts and the like, but wool, and in the most dreamy shade of charcoal. I’m aware this is not a woven and technically off piste as far as fabric choices are concerned, but spring is coming, I had it in abundance, and why not? I figured it’d make very comfortable pants. Which it does, even considering I underlined them.

However the fabric was frustrating to work with. It doesn’t hold a press, which is not only an issue for the crease, but for the sewing process in general (so glad I didn’t do the welts). It stretches a lot, but this much I knew so I fused with straight tape all edges especially the pockets. I also tried fusing the waistband with a special waistband interfacing, but it did not work as expected so instead I opted for what in Japanese is called マーベルト (ma-beruto), which you could translate as “waist belt”, basically a premade facing which already comes with canvassing and is quite rigid. This of course was of the wrong size, but I did not let that stop me, haha.

This worked out ok, though I can still see the waistband is a bit asymmetrical. I’m not a knit expert so any advice is appreciated.

My thoughts

Honestly, this is quite a nice pattern: it is elegant, edgy enough to stand out in a see of pleated pants, and the simple lines it creates make it a very versatile item to have in your arsenal. Do as I say and not as I do: I did almost butcher it, but following the instructions and especially the fabric recommendations will for sure yield amazing results. While the single-piece waistband feels like a cop-out, the rest of the sewing experience is involved enough to guarantee you’ll spend some quality time with your sewing machine. The instructions are very clearly illustrated – I remember when Just Patterns only listed a series of 3 word instructions! Those were the days! – but they are not doing an extensive amount of handholding, which I appreciate, but I also know is not for everyone. I also like the fact that there is a fly shield and the pocket size is not stingy. I would have liked to have built-in pocket stays though.

I do recommend making a toile before hand. I’m still not entirely sold on the hip shape but that is my issue, not the pattern’s. I do think that fitting these trousers is not as hard as let’s say jeans thanks to the forgiving silhouette and the presence of pleats and darts which can be used to tweak the fit according to one’s preference.

To conclude, this is a great intermediate pattern, with an elegant line and involved process. Make sure you use a mid to light weight woven and muslin first. If you have ideas or comments, please write let me know in the comments or DM me on Instagram. If you enjoy my content please consider supporting my work here



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