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Lawn cloth or lawn is a plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. The fabric is made using either combed or carded yarns. When lawn is made using combed yarns, with a soft feel and slight luster, it is known as "nainsook". The term lawn is also used in the textile industry to refer to a type of starched crisp finish given to a cloth product. The finish can be applied to a variety of fine fabrics, prints or plain.
Lawn is a lightweight, sheer cloth, crisper than voile but not as crisp as organdy. Lawn is known for its semi-transparency, which can range from gauzy or sheer to an almost opaque effect, known as lining or utility lawn. The finish used on lawn ranges from soft to semi-crisp to crisp, but the fabric is never completely stiff. Lawn can be white, or may be dyed or printed.
The term "lawn" derives from "Laon", a city in France, which produced large quantities of linen lawn.
Lawn cloth commonly is used for dresses, blouses, nightwear, underwear, lingerie, curtains, collar cuffs, shirting, infant wear, and handkerchiefs.
It is also commonly used in liturgical vestments in the Anglican churches, such as the surplice and episcopal rochet:
"No— it was not for love of lucre that he wished to be bishop of Barchester. ...But he certainly did desire to play first fiddle; he did desire to sit in full lawn sleeves amongst the peers of the realm; and he did desire, if the truth must be out, to be called 'My Lord' by the reverend brethren."
See also