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.
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
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
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
1. Mandarin collar: Simplicity 6537
2. Sailor collar: Marian Martin 9442
3. Bow collar (and Mandarin!): Simplicity 3438
4. Scalloped shawl collar: Butterick 4558
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.