Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Plain and simple


The other day I had a dental hygienist appointment and teenage son had the car so I had to take the bus and not wanting to be late I left the house early and when I arrived I then, of course, had a tonne of time to kill. I walked the local shops: bought a T-shirt, a loose cardigan, a pair of olive green jeans; visited but didn’t buy, the Textile Studio and bought a sewing magazine because it had three free patterns and thought I could look at the pictures as I sat in the waiting room. This, of course is all beside the point – the pattern is the point here. And, it turned out to be ultimately a very expensive trip to the hygienist!


Anyway, one of the patterns was New Look 6231 – the jacket’s not my style but I quite fancied the very plain but perfectly serviceable trousers. In fact, these might actually be the same pattern that was used for the British Sewing Bee series 3 ep1. Does anyone know what patterns they use? I wouldn’t normally blog about something so plain and simple, but I’m really impressed and thought you should know about this little gem too.

The pattern is actually good value for money if you’re buying it on its own as you get at least three garments in one envelope.



Two darts at the back, waistband, invisible side zip, narrow legs and finish at ankle length.


Boy, I am impressed with this little pattern!

I made this first pair – note first! – in a very fine plain black wool with just a touch of Lycra. I shortened the back thigh by 1″ and the next pair will be shortened another 1″, but these are perfectly wearable, no worse than RTW and I think will become a staple in my wardrobe.


Because the pattern is so straightforward, it can easily be adapted to include front pockets of all designs, add turn-ups at the hems, include back welt pockets, capri or cropped lengths- the options are limitless. This pattern is replacing Clover for me.

Photographing black clothes is notoriously difficult, so please just believe me when I say these are great!


The new cardigan


I was rather blessed that the crotch fitted perfectly straight out of the envelop which might go some way to explain my joy.  The only thing I would suggest is that any fabric you chose to use, consider 1% or 2% of stretch, just for comfort’s sake and recoverability. Mine aren’t even lined which is unusual for me but the seams were pressed three times and then overlocked.


I reckon I’ll be wearing these with a plain black top and a colourful cardi or jacket. They look equally good with high heels or flats and have slim enough legs that they will easily slip into a pair of boots.


This die hard Vogue girl is mightily impressed with a different pattern company.






21 thoughts on “Plain and simple

  1. Yes. A great look with the white shirt and cardigan. Really very impressive.

  2. Minerva website gives the pattern used in the Sewing bee after each program. Trousers look great

  3. The trousers and the model look great.

    I’ve been very impressed with New Look/Simplicity in the past decade. I’ve made several tops with their patterns for myself and others. Everyone has loved them.

  4. Great trousers and great look overall. I’ve been impressed with New Look too.

  5. Those pants (or should I say trousers?) look great. I am also glad to see they are higher-waisted, so I am putting these on my list. New Looks are quieter patterns and don’t usually jump out at me, but upon closer inspection they have a lot of gems.

  6. This is good timing for me, as just tonight I was fishing around for a simple pants pattern in this style. They look great.

  7. Lovely trousers – your legs look a mile long! Very flattering 🙂

  8. Great trousers. I was thinking about buying that magazine for the patterns but the jacket put me off. I didn’t even think about the trousers!

  9. I thought I was a diehard Vogue girl too, but these trousers are a perfect fit on you Ruth and I love the fact that they aren’t low slung……..I personally prefer a higher waist in my trousers.

    Thanks Ruth for pointing us all in the right direction. I was on the look out for a staple trouser pattern and you have found it for me.

  10. I have great luck with New Look trousers as well. Yours look wonderful!

  11. Your trousers look fantastic. Can I ask you what method you use to shorten the back thigh? I have to do that as well and I am not having much luck these days.

  12. A solid-go-to trouser pattern is such an elusive treasure. Imagine being able to churn out a perfectly fitting pair reliably without a muslin! Ahhhh. A home sewist’s holy grail.

    Will you preserve this pattern by fusing it to a stable interlining or paper or by some other method? It’s going to get a lot of use.

  13. Have you compared them with your older pattern…lay one on top of the other and take a photo for us? Are the crotch lengths the same in front and back? What is different on the news ones? Come on, Ruth…spill the beans, please!

  14. Ruth, you look fabulous in the classic and minimalist outfit.

  15. You are looking great in your slim pants. Love TNT pattern.

  16. Sometimes you can find the best things in the strangest places! Your pants/trousers look great!

  17. Could you explain how you did the short thigh adjustment, please? The interwebs are full of baggy-thighed pants whose seamstresses bemoan that they are unable to fix the problem, and I’ve been looking all over for the secret to no avail! Thank you.

  18. Pingback: Plain and Simpler: Avoid Baggy-Thighed-Pants | corecouture

  19. Hi I’m making these, but yours look like they’re high-wasted, is that right? The pattern says they sit below the waist. I ask as I think they would be better higher so think I am going to take mine in at the back.

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