August 5, 2011

Andy's New Civil War Trousers

 Andy needed some new pants this reenacting season after another soldier exclaimed that the patches on his old pants "drew the eye places he shouldn't be looking at." :D

I like to sew but I do not sew that often because of the cost. I also can't rationalize having a wardrobe of clothing devoted to reenacting. So Andy and I wear our stuff until we really can't anymore. Then I get to sewing. I do have to admit, I do not have problems sewing dresses, but trousers really like to torment me.


 Maybe my next pair will actually have a watch pocket. Every time I attempt to sew one, I spend many hours and  waste a lot of fabric before I let him know that there "will be no watch pocket."

 I used a mix of antique buttons and new bone buttons. I would have used all new buttons but I had a lot of antique ones in my sewing box.
 I kind of wish I just left the lining white. This was a scrap of left over fabric from the very first reenacting shirt I made him. The shirt matched the lining of his hat and he liked it a lot. Recently he lost his hat and had to buy a new one and caught on fire while wearing the shirt. (He was okay, but there's a funny story there you should ask him about if you see him.)

 I tend to like trousers with buckles on the back and haven't decided if I am going to add a piece to the back yet. The buckle look nice but is not as comfortable to sleep on. I still have to put on the buttons for the braces but I need him to model them for me to do so.
This is a pretty lightweight wool that I originally purchased to make a sack coat out of. It is a little thin for pants but he will be wearing them in the summer and they are civilian pants and not standard  military.

 I was really excited to get this fabric because the weight is much more similar to what museum sack coats are made out of rather than blanket wool which some people mistakenly use.

Sometime this year, I hope to get a new dress that is a little nicer than the two I have now. Both my dresses are dirty old work dresses and I'd like something to be able to wear to nicer events.


  1. The pants look great! My dear wife was supposed to make me a pair with my new sack coat...time gets away, doesn't it? Hopefully, she'll have 'em done before next season!
    Anyhow, I'm going to show her your post in hopes that will motivate her!

  2. Fabulous job! I've made men's shirts, but have never made men's pants. . . I'm not brave enough!

  3. Thanks Ken! I hope she gets to it.

    Sophia, I think you can do it. If you are using a pattern, it helps to have an already made pair that you can look at in case you get stuck.

  4. I recently made a pair of these trousers in Off white Cotton Duck. They look quite good for my first time ' But i had to shorten the legs .. Do you know ' If i still need to taper in the bottom of the legs ? Or should i keep them baggy ..
    I know there is a line across the leg below the knee in the Pattern where it says to shorten or lenghthen them , should i taper in the leg at this line / mark and then keep the bottom of the leg at the ' width ' as it was in the pattern
    Im not 100% sure what to do. Most pics of these trousers on the net seem to be tapered in .. Can you advise me please. Thankyou for your time .

  5. I shorten at the bottom for the simple reason that men were issued/sent standard sizes and had to do alterations later. Andy is much shorter than the pattern called so we rolled the legs up at the bottom. It is helpful to have the extra in the bottom for patches if he rips the pants.

    In our case that doesn't matter as these were probably homemade. I would have tapered slowly from a little higher up on the leg. If you have the pattern, make a fold at the "shorten line" and fold it up until it is short as you need the leg. Then "whittle" the extra paper off the sides until the leg part above the fold is even with the bottom part. I hope this explanation is clear enough.

  6. Where would you suggest I buy fabric for trousers online? There are a few places out there that I know of but I'm not sure what would be more reasonably priced and still getting something fairly historical. Any thoughts?

  7. I got an order to pattern and reproduce a pair of trousers. The man suggested fabric from Townsend (I don't think he knows of any other company) ...but their wool is so expensive so I thought if you knew of anything better priced I could suggest it. He is going for something moderately accurate for his personal use but of course, definitely 100% wool.

  8. Hi Barbara!

    I don't know if they would be any cheaper but here are a few sites to look at:

    Anywhere I look it's about $18-$20 a yard. Hope to see you at some events soon!


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