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Smitten, Looking Forward & Machi...

Smitten, Looking Forward & Machi...

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What do Bonnie & Camille, Jen Kingwell and Debbie Maddy have in common?  Aside from being lovely, smart, talented, kind women, of course.

These are the Regent Street 2018 Lawns... that's a hint.

Bonnie, Camille, Jen and Debbie all love cotton lawn - and all three of their upcoming collections featuring lawns.

Bonnie & Camille have six lawns in their coming-in-August Smitten collection.  We'll talk more about Smitten soon, including about this lovely two-sided whole-cloth Smitten quilt... it's blissfully soft, lightweight and cuddly.  (It's a good thing I have this picture because I haven't seen the quilt in weeks!)

Jen Kingwell also has six lawns in her coming-in-November collection, Looking Forward.

The print on the far right in two colors - three if you spy the aqua-teal in the upper corner - are the lawns prints.

As soon as Debbie Maddy's Machi lawns arrive, we'll share a picture of them.

So what is the appeal of cotton lawn?  The truth is that a great many sewists and quilters are interested in experimenting with cotton lawn for quilts, clothing and accessories but we aren't sure if there is anything special we need to know beforehand.  Other than a few small adjustments to make with thread and sewing-machine needles, sewing with cotton lawns is just like sewing with any regular quilting-weight cotton.

If you've ever seen one of Jen's trunk shows, you'd see that almost all of her quilts are backed with lawn.  Why?  A cotton lawn quilt with a lightweight cotton batting - or wadding - and a beautiful lawn backing is the perfect weight for a summer quilt.  And we use our quilts all the time in the summer.  

This is Jen's Rising Sun quilt- it's made with one of her Tempter Template sets and a mix of Looking Forward prints and Lollies.  The quilt mixes quilting cottons with cotton lawns.  As Jen says, Don't be afraid of it - just try it! Use it as you would any cotton you'd use for quilting.  Stitch with it, quilt it and launder it as you would any quilt, lawn wears very well.  It's also so lovely to hand-quilt, it's like stitching through butter.  It's also perfect for apparel - shirts, blouses, dresses and such.  It has a softer drape than traditional cottons but still has all the advantages of a natural fiber in being breathable and light... you know, for all we "hot" ladies out there.  Just treat the lawns just as I would any other cotton fabric.  It's really that easy.

What is cotton lawn?  In simple terms, it's a high-thread-count plain weave cloth made with fine, combed or carded threads that result in a silky, smooth feel.  It is a lightweight, sometimes semi-transparent fabric that can be dyed or printed.  As sheer as this fabric looks in the picture below, it will lose that transparency and become much more opaque after it's washed.

Pre-washing. As it is with any cotton fabric that will be used for garments and apparel that will be laundered, pre-washing is recommended.  For patchwork, do what you usually do whether you're using only lawns or mixing them with regular quilting cottons.

If you pre-wash, you'll notice that the first washing affects lawns less than it does regular quilting cottons.  The lawns shrink and fray a bit less due to the high thread-count, and it might take a few washings before the fabric becomes really soft and squishy as the higher thread-count means it will stay "crisp" just a little bit longer.

Thread.  The very fine weight of the fabric means that a fine thread is recommended for piecing - 50 wt. Aurifil, a 60 wt. Presencia or a 50 wt. DMC Embroidery thread.  Which means that you'll use the same thread you probably already use.

Needle.  The finer thread and fabric require a finer needle - no more than a 75/11 for sewing with just lawns.  An 80/12 will work if you're mixing lawns with quilting cottons but a Sharp or Micro-tex is recommended as it will pierce the tight weave of the lawn more easily.

Batting.  I used Warm & White 100% Cotton batting by Hobbs for the Smitten whole-cloth quilt, and we used Kyoto 50/50 Bamboo/Cotton batting for these Regent Street Lawn 2018 Whole Cloth baby quilts.

So what do you think?  Have you used cotton lawns for quilting or backings?  Are you interested in trying them?

Tomorrow is Block Heads Wednesday Block 1 so Happy Tuesday!

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