Thursday, July 25, 2013

Focus On: Collars

By Sherri of Sew Betty and Dot

We may not often give too much thought to collars, but the collar in its many forms is an important design element on a garment: when one says "Peter Pan," "sailor," or "Mandarin," we all instantly know what those specific collars look like. And the word "collar" features in several English-language idioms: "blue collar worker"; "hot under the collar"; and in law enforcement terminology, a suspect is "collared" (perhaps derived from the fact that policemen grabbed suspects by the belt and collar).

The history of collars is a bit murky, but it appears that they developed out of the drawstring edge of a chemise, the undergarment that men and women wore for centuries under their outer garments. That ruffled edge developed into ruffs--think Queen Elizabeth I--and then into other forms and shapes.

Until the early twentieth century, men's shirts had detachable collars (and cuffs)--because the body of the shirt was usually hidden under a waistcoat or jacket when the man was out in public, the fact that it hadn't been washed for several weeks wasn't readily apparent; filthy collars and cuffs, however, would be instantly noticed, so clean ones could be substituted much more frequently than the shirt itself was laundered.

Let's take a look at some collars--by no means an exhaustive examination--and observe how they change the look and feel of a garment.
 Clockwise from top left:
1. Stand-up collar with horseshoe neckline: Simplicity 8307
2. Sailor collar: Butterick 3532
3. Wide notched collar: McCall's 5251
4. Jabot collar: Butterick 4658: DejaVu Patterns

Clockwise from top left:
1. Petal collar:  Simplicity 8485
2. Nehru (technically a Mandarin collared jacket, but wanted to show the guys some love!): McCall's 9484
3. Cape collar: Advance 8234
4. Ruffled collar on bateau neckline: Vogue 1355
 Clockwise from top left:
1. Peter Pan collar: McCall's 4162
2. Roll collar: Advance 3111
3. Ruffled collar on V-neck: Simplicity 5896
4. Flat collar with ruffle: Simplicity 4913
Clockwise from top left: 
1. Mandarin collar: Simplicity 6537
2. Sailor collar: Marian Martin 9442
3. Bow collar (and Mandarin!): Simplicity 3438
4. Scalloped shawl collar: Butterick 4558
 Clockwise from top left:
1. Dog ear collar: Simplicity 9691
2. Cowl collar:  Vogue 5558
3. Wing collar: Butterick 5216
4. Chelsea collar: Simplicity 3615

Picture yourself in one of these collar styles--which one do you prefer? Tell us in the comments If your favorite style is not pictured here, tell us about it.


  1. This is my favorite: Stand-up collar with horseshoe neckline. Such a clever topic, I love it! Here's a collar you're sure to love

  2. Love the '60s petal collar - just like a flower! So hippie :-) Great blog post

  3. I had heard of all but three of these types of Collars, I'm so proud of myself!

  4. What an informative blog post! I'm not quite as sharp as Jantiki though and have to say that though I have seen these collars, I didn't know their names.

  5. Collars are like a frame for the face. Every one is a statement.

  6.'ll love this!