Lawn cloth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Commencement gown made from lawn cloth, 1904 illustration

Lawn cloth or lawn is a fine plain weave textile, made with fine combed cotton.[1][2] Terms also used include batiste and nainsook. Originally the name applied to plain weave linen, and linen lawn is also called "handkerchief linen".[3][4] 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 organza.[5] 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.[citation needed] 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.[6]

Lawn is designed using fine, high-thread-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.[citation needed]


The term "lawn" derives from "Laon", a city in France, which produced linen lawn.[2][3] Cotton lawn rose in popularity due to its breathable characteristics in warmer climates[7] particularly during the period of British rule in India and Pakistan.[6]


Lawn cloth commonly is used for infant wear, handkerchiefs, dresses, blouses, aprons and curtains.[8] Other uses are nightwear, underwear, lingerie, collar cuffs and shirting. It is also commonly used in vestments in Anglican churches, such as the surplice and episcopal rochet.[citation needed]

Lawn is a very popular fabric in Pakistan, with new fabrics released from February each year.[7][9] In 2016, lawn cotton was worth $500 million to the Pakistani textile industry and employs more than 30,000 people.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "lawn". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Vintage Fashion Guild : Fabric Resource : Lawn". Retrieved 2022-03-14.
  3. ^ a b Tortora, Phyllis G.; Johnson, Ingrid (2013-09-17). The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Textiles. A&C Black. p. 344. ISBN 9781609015350. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  4. ^ Woolnough, Richard (2008). The A to Z Book of Menswear. The A to Z Book of Menswear. p. 200. ISBN 9781897403259. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Identifying Textile Types and Weaves 1750-1950" (PDF). The Dress and Textile Specialists. 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Ahmad, Imtiaz (2016-02-21). "As summer approaches, Pakistan prepares for 'lawn wars'". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2022-03-14.
  7. ^ a b "A BRIEF HISTORY OF LAWN". Good Times. 1 April 2019. Retrieved 2022-03-14.
  8. ^ Picken, Mary Brooks (2013-07-24). A Dictionary of Costume and Fashion: Historic and Modern. Courier Corporation. p. 208. ISBN 9780486141602. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  9. ^ Shahid, Ariba (2020-12-26). "Pakistani lawn's biggest market could be in India, but isn't. Because we can't have nice things". Profit by Pakistan Today. Retrieved 2022-03-14.