Drill (fabric)

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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[edit]

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. Strictly speaking, khaki is a tan color, and the word comes from the Hindi "khak", meaning the color of dust. Troops of the British Empire during its occupation of India wore uniforms of a white cotton drill. During the 1840s it was discovered that dying this drill to a tan closely matching the color of the dusty surroundings resulted in an effective camouflage. 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.[citation needed]

Other uses[edit]

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. ^ a b c d e "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 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  9. ^ "Ask Alice: About cast iron guttering and decorating tips". The Independent (London). 28 June 2006. Retrieved 2010-03-29.