How to Make a Union Soldier Costume

A Union Soldier costume is easy and inexpensive to make.
A Union Soldier costume is easy and inexpensive to make. (Image: civil war flag image by Stacey Lynn Payne from

A Union Soldier costume is sometimes needed in Civil War reenactments. Union Soldiers wore dark blue clothing that was mostly made of wool, which makes a Union Soldier Costume great for chilly weather. Best of all, you can probably make a Union Soldier costume with clothing items that you already have in your home, making this an easy and inexpensive costume.

Things You'll Need

  • Blue pants
  • Blue long-sleeved shirt
  • Gold buttons
  • Thread
  • Boots
  • Wool cap

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Find a pair of dark blue or navy blue pants or slacks. A pair of jeans can be used in a pinch, but a pair of well-fitting dark blue dress slacks would be best to use. You can also try using a pair of dark blue work pants. Be sure to press the pants so that there is a crease down the front of the legs.

Find a dark blue long-sleeved shirt to match your pants. Make sure that the shirt is clean and pressed. When you wear it, tuck the bottom of the shirt into your pants neatly. You should consider using an old blue long-sleeved suit jacket or blazer that has buttons in the front to complete the Union Soldier costume. If you don't have a blazer at home, you can find an inexpensive one at your local Goodwill or thrift store.

Sew six large buttons evenly spaced down the center in the front of the blue shirt. If possible, use buttons that are gold in color and are a minimum of 1 inch in diameter to help them stand out. These buttons can be found in your local craft store or on Ebay. If you plan to use the shirt for regular attire after you use it for the Union Soldier costume, be sure to tack the buttons down lightly with thread so that they can be removed easily when you are done.

Find a dark-colored wool cap to wear as part of the costume (see Resources). These caps loosely resembled a train conductor's cap. Union Soldiers wore these wool hats with a leather brim on the front. These wool hats kept their heads warm and the bright sun out of their eyes.

Add a pair of dark-colored shoes or boots to your costume. Union Soldiers wore low cut black or brown boots to protect their feet while marching and fighting.

Consider adding a bag or knapsack as an accessory to your costume. The knapsacks that were used by Union Soldiers were black and resembled a messenger bag (see Resources). It had straps and buckles for closure. Union soldiers would carry blankets, cooking utensils, grooming supplies and other necessities in their bags.


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