Lawn cloth

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Commencement gown made from lawn cloth, 1904 illustration

Lawn cloth or lawn is a fine plain weave textile, now chiefly of cotton. Terms also used include batiste and nainsook. Originally the name applied to plain weave linen, and linen lawn is also called "handkerchief linen".[1][2]

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".

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 linen lawn.[1]


Lawn cloth commonly is used for infant wear, handkerchiefs. dresses, blouses, aprons and curtains.[3] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.