Light weight drill is used in clothing items such as shirts, safari jackets, blouses, and some types of sports clothing. The heavier weights were often used in corsets, and are commonly used in work clothing and uniforms.
The most common use of drill in uniforms and casual wear is in the form of khaki drill. Usually taken to be a green colour (rather than the tan or sandy color which has since come to be called khaki), 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; this practice 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.
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. Although duck (canvas) was more commonly used for these purposes, drill has also been used to make tarpaulins, tents, awnings and canopies, 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.
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