Fashion A-Z

From applique to zippers, a comprehensive dictionary with definitions and
meanings of key fashion vocabulary, written by Camilla Morton.


Basque waistlines are French in origin. They are a type of bodice that either extends below the waistline or over the skirt. They have a V-shape and close contoured fit, in the style of a corset. Adopted from the traditional Basque country dress, these waistlines were popularised in the Victorian era. Today they share their name with a piece of similarly sculpted lingerie.


Basting, a bit like its cooking parallel, is an essential stage in the preparation of dressmaking. It refers to tacking — the long, loose stitches that, rather than pinning, anchor the material in place until the final sewing. If toiles need to be fitted on a body, it is far more professional and comfortable to baste, not pin, your silhouette or person in place.