Everything You Need to Know About Cotton Lawn

Everything You Need to Know About Cotton Lawn

Cotton fabrics have always been, and always will be, an excellent choice for  dressmaking projects as they are a durable, natural fabric. They are widely available and come in a variety of styles and textures, including plains and printed cotton fabric. Here at Fabrics Galore we stock a wide range of high quality, affordable cotton fabrics for our customers. With so many different designs to choose from, we have decided to highlight one of our personal favourite types of natural cotton -  cotton lawn fabric.

What is cotton lawn fabric?


Liberty Tana Lawn™ Cotton


A plain weave textile made from  cotton, cotton lawn fabric has become very popular in recent years. It is usually a very sheer and opaque cloth with a smooth look, perfect in the warmer months. It was first produced in the French city of Laon, which is where the term ‘lawn’ derives from, and it was manufactured there in great quantities. 

Introduced to the UK in the 16th century, lawn fabric was traditionally made of linen but by the 20th century was generally made of cotton. Liberty of London made their Liberty Fabrics Tana Lawn™ famous in the 1920s using a fine, long staple cotton from Africa and naming it ‘Tana Lawn’ after Lake Tana in Ethiopia.

One of the beauties of lawn is its availability in gorgeous, vibrant prints which provides the dressmaker the opportunity to add more flare to their garments. You can not only have fun when working with cotton lawn, but also design unique, creative garments which you are guaranteed to fall in love with.  

Many people confuse cotton lawn with voile, despite being completely different fabrics. They do look similar, but the thread count is higher in lawn cloth with smaller yarns, and lawn fabric has a much crisper feel to it. And as with most fabrics that are lightweight, the paler colours such as white or pink, often have some element of transparency to them - so this is something to consider when making your colour choices.


What is the Difference Between Cotton Lawn and Cotton Poplin?


Cotton Poplin Fabrics at Fabrics Galore

Cotton lawn fabric is known for its light, crisp and airy qualities, making it a favourite for summer dresses and blouses. It's a finely woven fabric that tends to have a high thread count, resulting in a smooth and untextured surface.

On the other hand, cotton poplin, is a stronger, medium weight fabric that's characterised by its very fine horizontal "rib" or cord. This gives it a crisp, smooth feel with a simple, plain weave. Poplin is versatile and is often used for men's shirts but can also be used for dresses, blouses, and even light jackets.

So, when deciding between cotton lawn and cotton poplin, consider the drape and feel you want. The lightweight, breezy lawn might be perfect for a flowy summer dress, while the more structured poplin could be just right for a chic work blouse or a stylish jacket.

Uses of cotton lawn fabric?

One of the great things about this material is the fact that you don’t need to be an expert to make a nice piece of clothing with it, as this lighter weight shirting can be used for button-down shirts, blouses, and all kinds of lined dresses and skirts. Of course, the ease of use depends very much on the pattern you have chosen as some patterns can be trickier, but in general, cotton lawn fabric is incredibly versatile and easy to work with. 

As we have already mentioned, cotton lawn fabric is a very lightweight and sheer fabric, so the result is a subtle drape that is a great match for warm weather garments and linings. From shirts and blouses, dresses, nightdresses, and even children’s wear, there are so many different uses for this fabric. As well as dressmaking, cotton lawn can even be used for  furnishing projects such as sheer curtains as an alternative to lace curtains. 




A Few of Our Best-selling Cotton Lawn Fabrics

Working with cotton lawn fabric

When working with cotton lawn you don’t need to feel intimidated as it is a sturdy, reliable fabric which is a great choice for any beginner sewer. 

As with most cotton fabrics, it is advisable to pre-wash cotton lawn before cutting, as this prevents shrinkage after the design has been completed and ruining the sizing of your garment. 

It is recommended that they undergo a machine wash in cold water and line dry or tumble dry on the low setting.

If you find the lightness of the fabric tricky to handle, a great tip is to use spray starch to help crisp it up and make it easier to work with, whilst using a fresh rotary blade to avoid snags when cutting. Depending on how fine the cotton lawn fabric may be, you can also use finer pins to keep everything in place while you work.

As with any fabric, choose a needle size for your project based on the weight and type of thread the material has. In this case, when working with cotton lawn you should use the smaller universal needle, as it is a very lightweight fabric that is mid-range. 

Would you like assistance from Fabrics Galore? 

As a business, cotton lawn fabric is one of our favourite fabric choices, as we have a carefully curated range of beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn™ Cotton for you to purchase. This highly regarded brand, founded in 1875 by Arthur Liberty, is well known for their range of quintessentially British fabric designs, and the cotton lawns are no different. 

As an authorises supplier, we have stocked Liberty Fabric since our store first opened over 30 years ago and we have an excellent relationship with Liberty’s fabric supplier. If you are interested in learning more about our fabrics, please call us on  020 7738 9589, and we would be happy to assist.

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One stop fabric shop

Welcome to the Fabrics Galore London online store, packed full of beautiful fabrics to inspire your next dressmaking, patchwork quilting, craft or home furnishing sewing project. We stock a huge range of different materials alongside designer fabrics from Liberty, Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely, Laura Ashley, William Morris and Alexander Henry. We source the highest quality fabrics, so whether it be a cotton, linen, viscose, chambray, jersey or wool, we have you covered.Check out our dressmaking fabric for something with drape, fabulous Liberty cotton lawn prints, quilting fabrics for patchwork inspiration or the home furnishing section to pimp your pad. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get sewing!

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