Sewing | Men’s Cargo Shorts from Great British Sewing Bee

Men's Cargo Shorts Great British Sewing Bee

Ben gets a feature again, yay! And you can just tell by the look on his face how happy he is too about it all 😉 Prior to having these photos taken, he was desperately trying to avoid me so that I wouldn’t force him outside for photos – I found him sitting silently in a chair in the dark in the sitting area of the villa while I wandered round shouting him. Fortunately he was caught and his new, favourite, cargo shorts are now on the blog for all to see! Unfortunately, they’re pretty creased from a day of way (that’s the way things roll on this blog – they get worn and photographed when I have a chance during said day). And the most exciting thing about these shorts? I made them!
Ben got me the book earlier in the year and slyly suggested that I should maybe make something for him from this book. So with our impending holiday, I decided his first Sian-made item should be a pair of cargo shorts from the book. These shorts are probably one of the more detailed pieces I’ve made, and both terrifyingly and excitingly, the book labels them as “Advanced” – eeee! I still think of myself as Beginner to Intermediate in my sewing, but I guess now I’ve made an advanced pair of shorts, my own underwear and a corset (post coming soon on that!), I can’t really call myself a beginner any more!
So let’s have a few more photos of the shorts themselves before I get on with talking about the book, the pattern and the making of them – apologies again that they’re kind of creased and that they aren’t the best photos ever (yes, his pockets are filled with phones and wallets that I couldn’t persuade him to remove), but when you’re working with an impatient model, this is what you get!

Great British Sewing Bee Men's Cargo Shorts Great British Sewing Bee Men's Cargo Shorts Great British Sewing Bee Men's Cargo Shorts

I believe I made these shorts in a size 36 for Ben – he usually wears a 34 waist (with the occasional 36) so I went up a size because I’m a wimp and it’s much easier to make shorts smaller than it is to make them bigger! I did end up taking them in ever so slightly on the side seams and the waistband does fit with a little room to spare, but it’s better than having them too tight and uncomfortable.
The putting together of the short pieces itself is fairly simple, but I had to learn a couple of new techniques including this particular kind of pocket (I used Liberty fabric in the pockets with scraps from a circle skirt I made for myself, so we match!) and a zip fly which turned out so well, I was super impressed – the directions were nice and easy to follow on this bit, and despite being a chronic mistake-maker, I didn’t make a single one on this! The back pieces have a couple of darts from the top then fake pocket flaps. Okay, and now you see my laziness – I sewed the buttonholes (using my buttonhole foot for the first time) but never bothered to sew on the buttons. Fun fact – I hate hand sewing, so with a choice between adding buttons which he wouldn’t even use or not adding them, I went with the lazy option! Then you’ve also got the two side cargo pockets with the pleat which were really easy to add, but could be left off for a simpler looking or smarter pair of shorts. All the seams are topstitched too to give that more tailored look as the pattern directs. The only issue Ben has when wearing them is that the waistband tends to roll or fold over. It does have a medium-heavy weight interfacing within, but it still happens – any tips on this? I’ve read recently a tip on using nylon webbing or harness strapping in waistbands to prevent this, so I may give that a go on a future circle skirt to see how it works then can always do another pair of shorts for Ben with that included. The fabric is a soft linen I got from a local shop, and I was surprised at how cheap it was – I think it was either £5.99 or £6.99 per metre, which is crazy cheap around here, makes me wish I had more uses for brown linen!
I’ve used the book for a few patterns now and overall, I like it a lot. The directions are very nice to follow and there’s a good variety of patterns to choose from for beginner right up to advanced. I’ve read a few people complaining about the pattern sheets and have to admit I fell prey to the same trap as them – it seems like a number of pieces/patterns are missing, but make sure you check the other side of the sheet! Unlike my previous Sewing Bee book, this one has a handy list on each sheet showing which patterns are on that sheet (with my other book, I’ve had to number my sheets and label the directions in the book with those numbers to help me find them more quickly!). What I didn’t realise is that the pattern sheets are double sided and that they have a separate list on the back for the pieces on that side, duh! So simple, but it took me a long time to figure it out, and apparently others too, so not just me at least!
Anyways, I’ve apparently been useless at sharing my sewing makes recently – I’ve made so many new things that I haven’t yet blogged about, so I’ll make sure to get on with that soon. I tend to spend most of my free weekend time and the occasional evening after work (when I’m not at choir, Brownies or elsewhere!) sewing, so I’ve gathered up quite a few makes! Plus I got lots of lovely sewing things for my birthday including several new books (and a pattern drafting one!) from Ben, so those need to have go soon – very exciting!


  1. Jen
    June 17, 2019 / 11:44 pm

    wait…are the back pockets imaginary? ie just the flap and no pocket bag at all? What’s the point of that?

    • Sian Thomas
      June 18, 2019 / 3:53 pm

      Yes, and I’m not sure either!! I was fairly glad of it at the time because it was one less job to do to complete them, but it is very strange that the pattern doesn’t include them!

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