Pattern Test – StitchWitch Patterns, The Basque Dress

I’m in love. I knew when I saw Madeline’s sneak peeks on Instagram that I was going to love the Basque dress (which is also a top pattern) and I was delighted when I was offered a spot on the tester team as I wouldn’t have to wait until it was released to give it a go.

It really is a beauty and it is composed of several variations – there is a blouse version, two skirt options (an A-line and a gathered skirt) and two sleeve options as well as instructions for making the garment sleeveless. There are so many cute combinations you could make with this pattern. The pattern gets its name from the beautiful basque waistline. It gives the dress a historical feel to it, which really appeals to me.

The Size Range for this pattern has been extended, too, which will be welcome news for many. The size chart now goes up to a size 34 (B:58″ W:51″ H:60″). The other patterns are all being updated to this range, too.


Obviously, as the name suggests, the Basque waistline originated in France; they’re basically a type of bodice that either extends below the waistline or over the skirt. They have a V-shape and are contoured to fit closely to the body, in the style of a corset. Adopted from the traditional Basque country dress, these waistlines were popularised in the Victorian era. Even Queen Victoria’s wedding dress was influenced by the Basque.

The structured, eight-piece bodice features a pointed waistline with a deep v-shape, which is automatically the image I recall when I think of the basque. This and sculpted lingerie pieces which has taken the name today.


From the variations on offer, I opted for the gathered skirt and puff sleeve options.

The instructions are so clear and the illustrations are good, too – this was a Saturday afternoon project, it comes together so easily and at no point in the construction do you have to second guess yourself.

The bodice itself is shaped by waist and bust darts; the neckline has a corresponding facing which can be interfaced (or not), depending on your preference. I interfaced mine but I only had medium weight interfacing handy and I would recommend using a lightweight interfacing, for sure, as the neckline really doesn’t need much support and the heavier weight has made my facing frustratingly rigid. You can see the facing trying to escape in the corner in the photo below even though it has been clipped and understitched:

I opted to make my dress tight fitting (as it traditionally the style of a basque) so I probably didn’t need the waist ties but I think they make the dress pretty cute at the back so I added them for the extra detailing.

The V in the bodice was also much more easy to achieve than I had imagined; shortening the stitches and reinforcing them by backstitching a few stitches also helps. It’s not too easy to see in this print but that’s where I think colour blocking would elevate this dress to another level (and I do have plans for that).

It’s such a dreamy pattern, made all the more so by my fabric choice for my test run. I pulled out this pastel lilac floral cotton thinking I had 3m and therefore plenty to sew with (I always buy fabric in 3m increments if I don’t know what I plan to make with it as I’m assured being able to make a dress with this quantity) but I discovered I must only have bought 2m as it came up as 1.75m as it had been pre-washed. I supposeI bought it back last year when I just began sewing so wasn’t really sure how much I needed. I bought it from Til The Sun Goes Down which is one of my favourite places to shop vintage / vintage inspired fabrics. I think it was made for this pattern.

Will you be making the new Stitch Witch Patterns Basque Top and Dress?

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