Civil War Uniforms: Keep Your Jean Cloth from Unraveling


AHHHH! How to keep jean cloth from unraveling?

How authentic do you want to be? Can you zigzag your jean cloth, so it does not unravel because just by touching it, it unravels an inch !!

Depends on how authentic you want to be?

I could not zigzag my jean cloth because it is not authentic!

It would bother me too much!

So, you have two choices on controlling the unraveling of your jean cloth. One is authentic and one is not!

The technique, which is not authentic, is also not machine done.

You can do a loose running blanket stitch – I do not think the Victorians would have done this because it would have taken too long and uniforms needed to be produced quickly.


The easiest way to keep your jean cloth from unraveling is to cut the pattern big and use an extra large seam allowance like inch inch or more.

Many of the uniforms were made out of it. Jean cloth was a very common generic fabric used during the war. It comes in so many different colors and shades that people like it, but it unravels and unravels and unravels.

I double-stitch all the seams – if you are going to stitch the seams, keep the stitches close and if you are doing it by machine, I would run it through twice.

If I were doing it on the sewing machine, I would set it about 1 / 16th of an inch so it would help to keep it from unraveling in lieu of zig zag or blanket-stitching.

For my jean cloth I allow extra seam and around a curve I blank stitch a little extra where I know it has more of a tendency to unravel.

If you really want to be authentic, your best choice would be to give it extra large seam allowance.

Much of the internal construction of the jacket was machine stitched. Even though you see no machine stitching on jackets because exposed machine stitching would not pass inspection

I also do not do cutouts when I go around a curve – I use less of them or I do not use them at all.

Tiger weave is real loose and I do not do the cut outs at all
when I use Tiger weave.

Some of the jean cloth has a tighter weave than others.

When I do button holes with jean cloth, I use a larger buttonhole and use a wider seam allowance.

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Paula McCoach



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