The Pattern 1896 Khaki Drill Tunic

The idea for this project came about after seeing Matthew Williamson's post on Facebook on the Second Boer War Reenactment page. He took the “Boer War” What Price Glory tunic and reworked it into a proper pattern 1896 khaki drill tunic.

The What Price Glory tunic is based on the pattern 1906 khaki drill tunic and needs some alterations to be used for Boer War re-enactments. I figured I could draw upon the talents of my well known tailors (IE, my mom and sister) to duplicate Matthew's project.

Matthew Williamson’s photos did not have any instructions, so we had to infer what to do just from looking at the finished photos. With our attempt here at reworking the What Price Glory tunic, we wanted to include at least some basic instructions on how we did it for others who may be wanting to do the same.

It's starts with the rather terrible fitting (two sizes too big) size 44 tunic...

Getting the tunic too large was deliberate to have enough material to create the look of faux princess seams in the back.  Plus, to allow for shrinkage with washing and drying, and it did shrink quite a bit both in length and width.

The first step was to create the look of princess seams on the back. They need to line up with the seams on the sleeve. After trying various exact methods of measuring and chalk marking on the inside to get the look of faux princess seams…

…none of which produced satisfactory results…

The easiest method ended up being just pinching and pining on the outside purely by eyeball method and topstitching. The end result turned out quite well.

Next, each pocket needed to be removed and lowered to a new position approx. 2 inches ( 5 cm) below the original position. They should be placed somewhere between the second and third button from the top.

In this photo, the pin marks the top edge of the new pocket position.

Here you can see the new position of the one pocket compared to the old position of the other.

And both pockets done.

The tunic was hemmed to about 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) all around. The body of the tunic should be slightly shorter than the sleeve.

The collar has to be changed from a stand and fall collar to just a stand collar. This is easily measured because the original collar on the What Price Glory tunic has several lines of reinforced topstitching, which are not historic but help in this case with the collar conversion.

Cut the collar 1/4 inch ( 0.6 cm) above the last (6th) reinforcing stitching line, shown with red dots in the photo below. The 5th and 6th lines of topstitching will need to be removed in order to finish the collar.

The finished collar is approx. 1 5/8 inches (4.2 cm) high. Fold in a slight seam allowance, we used 1/4 inch seam allowance and edgestitch closed. This becomes the fifth topstitching line on the collar.

Here is the look of the tunic so far. All that’s needed now is an underlap on the collar to keep the hooks from rubbing on your throat.


To create the underlap, cut a rectangle of fabric from the leftover material from the cut collar. The finished piece below is 1 1/2 inches ( 4 cm) high and folded to 2 1/2 inches ( 6.5 cm) long. We used 1/4 inch seam allowances.

Here is the back,

Shown here attached to the collar. The edge of the underlap should line up with the edge of the tunic.

Here is the underside.

Most, but not all original examples of the 1896 Khaki tunic have two interior pockets. One is for dressing bandages and the other for an identification card, referred to jokingly as a “death ticket”.

The What Price Glory tunic came with only one interior pocket (the one on the left of the photo below). We decided to add the other pocket. It is just made of plain white cotton and measures 5 x 5 inches (12.5 x 12.5 cm) finished product. Both are top loader pockets.

The original pocket that came with the tunic needed to be moved slightly up when we re-hemmed the tunic to the new length.

The new pocket topstitched into the inside of the tunic. The stitching of the pockets to the inside of the tunic shows through to the outside and that is correct. We see that in historic examples.

Here is what the new tunic looks like on.

And the new tunic with all the gear.