Substrate Series: Cotton Lawn

Cotton+Steel is partnering with Colette Patterns for a fun and informative Substrate Series! Learn all about a specific fabric substrate here on the Cotton+Steel blog, then pop over to the Colette Patterns blog to see how it sews up into garments and get tons of relevant sewing tips. Yay knowledge!

So, what's a substrate, anyway? It means the type of fabric that a design is applied to. This can involve the fiber (cotton? linen? rayon?) but also involves the weight and weave structure of the fabric.

Today's substrate is cotton lawn.

Vintage Floral from Playful by Melody Miller

Vintage Floral from Playful by Melody Miller

If the word “lawn” makes you think of perfectly manicured grass and a jolly good game of croquet, you can extend that same train of thought to fabric - what kind of fabric would you want to wear in that summertime situation? How about a cool, crisp, breathable cotton? That sounds pretty good to us, and cotton lawn fits the bill perfectly.

Lawn explained

Cotton lawn is a lightweight woven fabric with a soft and silky touch. It is created using smaller yarns and a higher thread count, which gives it a very smooth and untextured feel. Lawn was originally made primarily out of linen (a historical center of production was Laon, France, hence the term lawn), but today cotton has become the fiber of choice. Imagine a crisp cotton button-down dress shirt, and you’re probably imagining cotton lawn.

City Toile from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond for Rifle Paper Co.

City Toile from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond for Rifle Paper Co.

Cotton+Steel releases new lawns every spring and fall, sprinkled throughout each individual designer’s collections. We also have a collection of solid cotton lawns in fun, vibrant colors that are specifically designed to work with our prints.  

In case you didn't catch it in previous posts, here is a video about how our fabric is made in our Japanese facility:

Working with lawn

Cotton lawn is pretty similar to quilting cotton to work with and has the firm stability of a plain weave cotton. If it feels a little thin or wiggly while cutting and sewing, you can use spray starch to help crisp it up and make it easier to work with. The lighter colors of lawn are on the sheerer side, so take that in consideration when choosing whether or not to line something and what color thread to use. As with all natural fibers, we recommend prewashing the fabric in the same manner you plan on caring for the finished garment. Since our lawns are 100% cotton, you can both wash and tumble dry.

Vintage Floral from Playful by Melody Miller

Vintage Floral from Playful by Melody Miller

Cotton lawn is a great choice for lots of different garment applications. It makes beautiful shirts, blouses, dresses, pajamas, and lingerie. It’s also a really fun way to line garments, and it can be a way to incorporate a crazy print or color you otherwise wouldn’t use for a garment. It’s like your clothes have secrets! This Colette Patterns Selene skirt is lined with a fun and vibrant lawn from Melody Miller-designed collection Playful.

Business on the outside, party on the inside!

Cotton lawn can also be a wonderful option for quilts if you’re the quilty type. It’s not always the first type of fabric you think of for a quilt, but its lightweight, silky qualities make the prettiest, softest quilts. Check out our #lawnquilt hashtag on Instagram to see what kinds of quilts people are making from lawns.

photo by Colette Patterns

photo by Colette Patterns

Be sure to hop on over to the Colette Patterns blog today for tons of tips about working with cotton lawn. You can also see more pictures of the beautiful Colette Patterns Violet Blouse (pictured above in our Solid Cotton Lawn), Dahlia Dress, Peony Dress and more, all made from Cotton+Steel lawns!