Making boys cargo trousers

Making boys cargo trousers

Cargo trousers for a mini soldier

I make a lot of garments for Gemma and Evie, and a few for myself, but I very rarely make stuff for Max.

Theres a couple of reasons for that, one because he grows a centimetre overnight, I’m sure of it. The other is that some very kind friends of ours, in the village, often donate to us a huge bag of fantastic boys clothes.

Anyway, I decided all that was to change when I had a look through my fabric stash and found some military camouflage material. I thought what could be more fitting for a pair of boys cargo trousers from Oliver + S. They have some really sweet kids patterns. In fact Evie and I are beginning to tackle some projects from their “Little Things to Sew” book, she loves it.

I think this make has to be one of the cutest ones I’ve ever done.

The pattern itself has 10 panels (6 front and 4 rear), and a total of 6 pockets (2 patch rears, 2 billowed side and 2 inset fronts). Max was so chuffed to have all those pockets…it’s the simple pleasures when you’re a 3 year old boy huh!

The pattern was really easy to follow, basically you assemble the front top panels to the knees and then again to the lower panels. You dart the outer part of the knee panels which give them a great looking slightly curved shape.

The front pockets are made from a single piece of fabric folded back on itself and basted in to the uppers and sides, don’t worry these get held securely in a bit with the waistband and side seams.

The back upper panels get the patch pockets applied to them before joining to the lower panels. Now I’m not necessarily someone who tends to put pockets into/onto garments, I don’t know why, I just don’t do that much. But I promise these are so easy and so sweet to look at, that I’m pretty sure it’s all I’m going to do from here on!! Although saying that I wonder how Evie will be if she finds a pocket on the front of a pink party frock?

Next up, joining the fronts to the backs, simple really and very little to it. Once these are together you can start applying the side pockets.

If you’ve ever made a tote bag with the flat base and billowed corners you’ll find these a breeze. If you’ve no idea what I’m on about then don’t worry, the instructions are quite clear and it makes perfect sense.

After this, I’m left with hemming the bottoms with a simple double turn and top stitch. Making the faux fly and finally attaching the waist band with facing and elastic inner to allow for growth and comfort.

Ok looking back on it there are a fair few pattern pieces, but theres not masses of stitching, it’s just short bursts and then a change of direction.

I did give myself a little more work to do by strengthening the seams, I did this by joining them as normal, then pressing the allowance down, top stitching and then following up with a second line of stitching 1/4” away from the first row. It results in a fab and detailed look, but is a little more time consuming. Bearing in mind we all know, boys clothes need to be quite hard wearing and be able to take the odd spell of rough treatment, so I think it will have been time well spent.

I know I’m perhaps a little bit biased, but I really do think these are possibly the best thing I have made to date!

Well, what do you think, will Private Max pass inspection on parade?

Matt ChappleMatt x

The stitcher. A magnet for foolery & prankster at heart. Loves being creative, whether with some wood and a saw or with a needle and thread. Attempts to disguise his past time activities as manly pursuits, but is actually pretty handy at sewing!


  1. Tiffany 4 years ago

    Hi Matt!

    These are fantastic!!! My husband and I loved watching you on sewing bee in Australia and are so happy you won! My little four year old son Everett broke his leg recently but he only has 2 weeks left in his cast so I think I will have to commit those two weeks to making a pair of these for when he cast free. Does the pattern give instructions for a ‘shorts’ version? Could you adjust the length easily yourself? I made him a ‘cast friendly’ pair of trousers recently…wish I’d gone cargo now though :)

    Best wishes,

  2. These are amazing Matt! Fair do’s to you for putting all that effort into kids clothes :-)

    • Author
      Matt 4 years ago

      Cheers Debs, It’s all worth while when Max struts into nursery wearing them telling everyone that they are his favourite trousers as my Daddy made them 😉

  3. Fran K 4 years ago

    They’re great. My kids would have love them when they were little.

    • Author
      Matt 4 years ago

      Thanks Fran, Max is pretty chuffed with them. I am thinking about making him a little hat/cap to go with them…


  1. […] first Oliver + S pattern! He sewed up a pair of super cool camouflage Field Trip Cargo Pants that he already posted about on his blog. He was kind enough to share it, here, too. He’ll be walking us through the pattern and […]

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