Cotton Lawn
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Cotton Lawn

    Cotton lawn is a finely woven, soft fabric that is semi-transparent. Once used primarily for children's clothing, this fabric is now printed in sophisticated and beautiful designs for ethereal garments. When you want something that is cool, soft, and comfortable, but not completely sheer, look to lawn for the answer!


    Because of the delicate nature of this fabric, hand washing is recommended. Use cool water and a drop of baby shampoo, and dry flat. Press with the iron, using steam, to remove any residual wrinkling.

    Needles and Thread:

    Choose the smallest needle you can see to thread; a size 11/75 is the largest size you'll want to use. Cotton embroidery thread is finer than traditional constructions threads, and is a good choice for using which such a fine fabric as lawn. Heirloom sewing thread, such as fine cotton tanne thread, is another excellent choice. If you cannot find these finer threads, use all-cotton sewing thread.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    French seams are traditional seam finishes for this type of fabric. To make a French seam, first stitch your seam with the fabric wrong sides together, at 3/8" width. Trim the excess fabric from the seam allowance and press the seam open. Turn the seam so that the fabric is right sides together and stitch again at ΒΌ" seam width. You'll love the professional and elegant appearance of this enclosed seam! For hems, use a double-folded, topstitched hem, or a hand-rolled hem.


    In order to preserve the semi-transparent quality of this beautiful fabric, choose a solid-colored sew-in interfacing, such as silk organza or cotton organdy.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Lawn works beautifully with sewn details such as tucks, pleats, and shirring. This fabric works beautifully for blouses, dresses, skirts, soft dresses, and shawls.

    Creative possibilities:

    Try using a wing needle or a denim needle to create a hemstitched look in your lawn fabric. Back the fabric with a wash-away stabilizer, and choose an entredeux or point de paris stitch on your sewing machine. These little "holes" create a delicate, beautiful detail that is perfect for such a delicate, beautiful fabric. You might also choose to add glass beading, lace, or ruffles to your lawn garment. Be sure to choose the lightest in weight added details possible to maintain the soft drape of the fabric.

    Additional Tips:

    Store your lawn garments folded, rather than hung on hangers.

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