Fashion A-Z

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


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.


Batwing sleeve is also known as a ‘Dolman’ or ‘Magyar’ sleeve. It is a long sleeve, cut wide at the shoulder with deep armholes that leads to thin tapered wrists, giving it a‘wing-like’ appearance. The Dolman traces back to the Middle Ages, when it was a loose cape-like robe with a sleeve folded from the fabric. It is simpler to sew than a set in sleeve, as it is cut in one piece. But it lost popularity during World War I and II because of fabric shortages. It underwent a revival in the feminine 1940s, before being re-named the Batwing in the 80s, when it owed a lot to Madonna.