Civil War Uniforms: Top 10 Things to Do with Your Trousers
By Paula and Coach McCoach
1. Military pants of the day came right off the patterns of the
civilian pants. Irregular or civilian pants were very common since
pants wore out quickly.
2. A little bit of patch work on pants would be fine, but I
wouldn't go for the dumpster look. I would patch if I needed it. I
would make a proper hand-sewn patch.
3. Use a color of fabric that blends in with the material of the
pants as closely as possible. You don't want to look like a walking
4. You have a little more leeway with pants. I don't recommend
making a pair of pants off of a modern pattern and wearing them low.
5. Use an old pattern and make them so you can wear them high
above the waist as they wore them in that era.
6. They had a rise anywhere from 2-4 inches more than the rise
on modern pants. They wore them above the waist.
7. I also would recommend making your pants from a lighter
weight material than your jacket if you can find a proper weave
because of the heat factor.
8. Pants are extremely important because you take your jacket
off at events but you always have your pants on. So, go with pants
that fit well, are good in the heat and look accurate.
9. Contrary to popular belief that the smaller the size the
thinner you look. If you want to look gaunt and thin, get pants that
are a few inches bigger; they make you look thinner. Remember, the
lean look will enhance your impression.
10. Cotton pants were common, so if you don't want to wear wool,
feel free to fit yourself out in a pair of cotton trousers just like
the ones pictured on p. 119 of TROIANI'S REGIMENTS AND UNIFORMS OF
THE CIVIL WAR worn by Pvt. James A. McKinstry of the 42nd Alabama. I
have cotton pants, which have served me well over the years in the
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