There are several pattern companies that produce Civil War era civilian patterns; even mainstream
pattern companies like Simplicity have started producing patterns for historical garments.
companies listed below are ones I have personally used or have been recommended by others involved in living history. If a
pattern company is not listed here, it does not mean they should be avoided or that they are not good choices, only that I
am not familiar with them. No matter what pattern you use, even if you have used the pattern company before, always make a
muslin mock up to be sure of the fit before cutting into the fashion fabric.
Company Tailor, The
Men's coats and trousers custom drafted.
Dancing Leaf Designs
This company produces mostly women’s
patterns through Fig Leaf, Peachtree Mercantile, KayFig and KayFig II patterns. The KayFig division also offers a kit for
a cage hoop. These patterns are all based on original garments and come with spiral instruction booklets that include the
garment background. The instructions include period and modern sewing techniques.
These are children’s patterns produced
by Elizabeth Stewart Clark. She offers patterns for infants, boys to age 6 and girls to age 12. Each pattern offers several
different style options.
Homespun Patterns (available through different venders)
with these patterns can be difficult to follow and are not recommended for someone unfamiliar with 19th century sewing techniques.
Laughing Moon Mercantile
Laughing Moon patterns do not include instructions
for period construction and stitches; however, they do offer background information on the garment and suggestions on where
to find information on period construction techniques. Some of the patterns are dated for a large time span and may not all
be appropriate for the Civil War era even though they are dated within the 1860s.
These patterns are based on original garments.
The text included provides background information on the garment and sometimes images of the fabric and notions used in the
original garment. The instructions are for period construction and include some instruction on period stitches.
Simplicity (not all patterns at this link are Civil War period)
Several of the Civil War patterns by Martha McCain, including the men’s patterns, are out of print. Check the "Out
of Print" pattern search on the Simplicity site for these patterns. New patterns by Kay Gnagey are now being produced.
If you choose to use the Simplicity patterns, be aware that the instructions are not period sewing techniques and may call
for inappropriate notions. This is not a reflection on the pattern maker but are changes made by Simplicity after the patterns
are drafted. The other drawback, especially for the women’s patterns since they are relatively inexpensive, familiar,
and easily constructed, they are commonly used, so they tend to show up a lot at events causing a “cookie cutter”
These patterns are based on pictures and descriptions
of garments rather than originals. The company specializes in bustle era patterns but does offer some for the Civil War era.
They only produce women’s patterns.