Arts & Culture, Featured

Creativity in Collars

The word collar has a different connotation to everybody since this extension of the shirt has so many forms. For me, I usually picture the top of a button up or the neckline of a formal blouse. But although collars come in all varieties, there are only really three main types: collars that lie flat, stand up, or roll into a specific shape.

Hannah Lord Montaguead had enough of laundering her husband’s shirts when only the collars got dirty. In those days, shirts themselves could be worn for weeks on end before needing a wash, but the cuffs and collars collected sweat and grime quickly. So, she cut the collars off one of his shirts as an experiment. Now she could refasten these pieces to the shirts when needed and remove them to clean. Manufactures in her hometown loved the idea, and by 1897, Troy, New York was known as “Collar City.” But during WWII, even fabrics were rationed, and the removable collar became a thing of the past.

This is a picture of Queen Elizabeth I taken from the Darnely Portrait.

Long before this time in history, the Elizabethan era ushered in a whole new style ofcollar called a ruffle. A ruffle is a large pleated circle you see worn by people such as William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth. Even the Yeoman Warders’ of the Tower of London have a uniform that includes a thick white ruffle.

This is a portrait of the Duchess of Savoy sporting a Medici collar.

Yet another type of ruffle is the Medici Collar, named after Maria de’Medici. This high arched ruffle frames the face of the wearer by fanning out behind their head. A stylish fashion statement, it still influences clothes from the ready-to-wearo the cat walk couture.

Today, collars are still an important and impactful area of fashion. And to further my exploration into the fascinating world of collars, I created my very own removable Peter Pan styled collar. These collars are flat and shaped like two petals joined at the middle. They gained their name from the original costume from the 1905 performance of Peter Pan.

The first thing I had to do was create a pattern for my neck size, which can be done by using an article of your own clothing. I traced the top of the back of one of my dresses onto a large piece of paper. Afterwards, I measured one-and-a-half-centimeters down from the tip of the shoulder and drew a straight line to the neck. Then, placing the front of the dress on the line, I traced that part. Now, I could create one half of my collar design around the neck hole measured above. Taking a ruler, I placed it at the end of the hole and measured out four-inches. I continued to move my ruler around the circle marking the four-inch mark each time. Then, from the front side of the pattern, I drew my petal shape for the traditional “Peter Pan” look.

Once I had cut out my pattern, I folded my fabric in half. I used leftover upholstery fabric so that it would be stiffer and lie flatter. Then I placed the straight end of the back on the fold and pinned my pattern there. After cutting, I ended up with one continuous piece of fabric that wrapped all the way around my neck. I created two of these pieces, and after making sure they fit properly, I sewed them together much like you would sew a pillow.

And, after turning it right side out, pressing it, and stitching on my clasps, I had a finished product.

Thanks for reading “Creating a Look!” I’ll be back next time with more on the making of fashion!



City of Troy. Rensselaer County Historical Society.

Perez Maldonado, Victor. Fashion History Timeline. 24 Mar. 2017.

Sew Guide.

Throughout History.25 Nov. 2011.

Photo Credits:

Shirt Collar.

Painting of Queen Elizabeth I.

Painting of the Duchess of Savoy.

Other images taken by Bronwyn Dix.


  1. Interesting Article Bronwyn!! Keep up the great work!!

  2. Very creative, Bronwyn! I am enjoying your column, and am looking forward to reading more! 🙂

  3. Thanks y’all!