Fashion A-Z

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


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.

Bias Cut

Bias cut means to ‘be cut on the grain’. Rather than following the straight line of the weave, the bias cut places the pattern at a 45° angle on the woven fabric. At this angle, the ‘warp’ and ‘weft’ threads give the fabric more of an elastic ‘stretch.’ The bias cut is popular for accentuating body-lines and creating more fluid curves or soft drapes. It was championed in the 1920s by Madeleine Vionnet and later became one of John Galliano’s signature style.