How to Make a Confederate Uniform

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A Confederate officer presentation may include gold braid on the cuffs and a saber.
A Confederate officer presentation may include gold braid on the cuffs and a saber. (Image: confederate officer sword image by Robert Young from Fotolia.com)

A Confederate uniform is traditionally thought of as a gray wool costume of matching jacket, known as a blouse, and pants. To be completely authentic, more detail and research is required. Various Confederate units included special trim, buttons and epaulets in their uniforms. The Confederate soldiers also had uniforms made from cotton and denim as well as the traditional wool.

Things You'll Need

  • Gray trousers
  • Gray blouse
  • Gray kepi or hat
  • Russet leather belt with cap box and cartridge case

Research the Confederate unit and the period of the war the uniform is intended to recreate. Online sources and local historical re-enactors can provide input as to uniform details. The design and number of the buttons, branch of service and unit insignia, and type of cap or hat are common details that can vary from unit to unit.

Sew, or have sewn, the uniform blouse and trousers. These two basic uniform components are also available commercially from retailers, known as sutlers, specializing in Civil War re-enacting. Patterns for home sewing a uniform are also available from the sutlers. The standard colors for a Confederate uniform are gray or butternut. They can be made of wool, cotton or denim.

Acquire or sew a hat or cap appropriate for the uniform presentation. The standard cap of the Civil War, worn by both sides, is the kepi, a slouch cap with a bill on the front. For a Confederate uniform, the hat would be gray or butternut to match the uniform blouse and trousers. The kepi will carry the branch insignia, indicating the soldier as a member of the infantry, cavalry or artillery, and the unit designation.

Add the leather goods necessary for the uniform. A Confederate soldier would have worn a russet leather belt with a cap box and cartridge case. Accessories to complete the uniform can include a gun, haversack, canteen and bayonet.

Tips & Warnings

  • The total look, including the accessories, helps the individual present an image as a member of a Confederate military unit. The level of accuracy necessary in the presentation varies with the events the uniform is worn at. A high school theater production does not require the historical accuracy of an American Civil War battle re-enactment.

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