Collars are both functional and decorative features sewn to the neckline of a garment. As decoration, the collar is often the
focal point of the garment drawing the eye upward to frame the face. As a functional feature, collars often provide warmth and protection from the
elements. Both the neckline and outer edge of a collar contribute to its overall appearance. Collars can be wide or narrow, flat or rolled, cut-on or
sewn-on. The outside edge of the collar can be straight, curved, scalloped, or pointed. This article describes the anatomy of the collar, terminology,
and style options.
For more inspiring color blocking ideas, check out my Collars and Necklines Pinterest Board
Collars typically consist of an upper collar, an under collar, and interfacing. They can be cut on the lengthwise, crosswise,
or bias grainlines depending upon the desired effect and the type of fabric selected.
Collars typically fall into five main categories:
- Stand Collar: collar that has no fall or roll. It stands straight up from the neck edge. Examples include the mandarin or Nehru.
- Flat Collar: (also called non-convertible) the neckline edge of the flat collar closely conforms to the neckline edge of the garment. When the garment is unbuttoned, the collar stays in place. The Peter Pan is an example of a flat collar.
- Rolled Collar: collar that has both a stand and fall integrated into the collar. The shape of the collar’s neckline edge that attaches to the back neckline of the garment determines the amount of "roll" a collar will have. In general, he straighter the neckline edge of the collar, the greater the amount of roll at the back neck. Examples include the convertible or shirt collar.
- Shawl Collar: collar that is "cut on" or connected to the bodice.
- Notched Collar: two piece collar attached to a "cut on" lapel.
For sewn-on collars, the neckline seam of the collar will have one of two basic shapes regardless of the shape or design of the collar styleline.
- Non-convertible Collar: closely follows the actual shape of the neckline. This type of collar will stay in place when the garment is not buttoned. The most common example of a non-convertible collar is the Peter Pan collar. The Peter Pan collar is drafted from the shape of the front and back neckline seams.
- Convertible Collar: the neckline edge of the collar does not conform to the neckline edge of the garment. It is typically straight or convex. Convertible collars are designed to be worn with the garment open or closed. When in the closed position, the convertible collar appears similar to a half roll collar. When worn open, the front of the garment folds back to assume the appearance of revers and the collar has a notched design. Convertible collars are usually sewn with a facing attached to the bodice front so the garment will have a finished appearance either way it is worn or sewn to a separate stand
- Neckline Edge: the side of the collar that sews to the neckline of the garment.
- Stand: the portion of the collar that rises up from the neckline edge.
- Fall: the visible portion of the collar that falls back down over the collar stand
- Style Line: the outer edge of the collar that defines the design of the collar and where trim may be added.
- Roll Line: The actual point along which the roll appears when collar is being worn. It may be imaginary or pressed into a flat edge.
- Break Point: indicates the point where the lapel or revere, which is cut on the bodice, starts to fold back to form the lapel.