Drill (fabric)

Drill is stout durable cotton fabric with a strong bias (diagonal) in the weave.[1] It can be used unbleached, although it is more often bleached or dyed.[1]

Use in clothing

Antique khaki police uniform at Jurong Police Division Headquarters

Light weight drill is used in clothing items such as shirts, safari jackets, blouses, and sports clothing.[1][2] The heavier weights were often used in corsets,[3] and are commonly used in work clothing and uniforms.[1]

The most common use of drill in uniforms and casual wear is in the form of khaki. See:Khaki drill. Usually taken to be a sandy or tan colour, the word comes from the Hindustani "khak", meaning the color of dust; a term that became current in mid-19th century India. In the late 1840s native regiments raised for frontier service in the newly conquered Punjab were supplied with 'drab' coloured uniforms to make them "invisible in a land of dust." Learning from this practice, British troops took to dyeing their white drill uniforms to obtain more serviceable campaign clothing; a practice that became widespread during the crisis of the Indian Mutiny. Initially, improvised dyes produced clothing that range in shade from lavender grey to earth brown, although all were referred to as 'khaki.' In the mid-1880s standardised cotton drill uniforms were produced using a colourfast mineral dye of the shade now recognised universally as khaki. The fabric soon became a popular material for military uniforms, and, in the United States following World War II, as veterans returned to college campuses, it became popular in casual dress as well.[4]

Heavy cotton drill is widely used for making cooks' uniforms (chefs' wear) because it is thick enough to protect the wearer from heat.

Other uses

Drill is a versatile fabric that has been used in a variety of applications. Boat sail drill is a lightweight, unbleached drill used to make sails for sailing craft.[1][5][6] Although duck (canvas) was more commonly used for these purposes,[7] drill has also been used to make tarpaulins, tents, awnings and canopies,[8] but the use of both fabrics has been supplanted in modern times with synthetic fabrics. Like duck, drill is used as a covering for furniture and cushions.[9]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Drill Fabric". Fabrics Manufacturers. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  2. Kerr, Adelaide (4 May 1938). "Maids Go Angling in Cotton Drill and Sail the Sea in Hopsacking". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, FL, USA. p. 26. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  3. "Portrait Gallery: Other Centuries". Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  4. Boyer, G. Bruce (27 March 1987). "KHAKI". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  5. Taylor, Stillman (June 1916). "How to Build and Sail a Small Boat-II". Popular Science. 88 (6): 929. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  6. Booth, Bob. "Retro Tech Sails". Duckworks Magazine. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  7. Carrington, J. C. (26 November 1926). "Cuero Secretary Asks President to Visit Turkey Trot". The Victoria Advocate. p. 4. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  8. Daily Southern Cross. XXI (2378): 7 http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=DSC18650304.2.23.5. Retrieved 2010-03-29. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. "Ask Alice: About cast iron guttering and decorating tips". The Independent. London. 28 June 2006. Retrieved 2010-03-29.

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