Craft: Hot under the collar

By Anna Subritzky

1 comment
Need a new frock? Try a new collar instead.

Craft crochet collar. Photo / Supplied
Craft crochet collar. Photo / Supplied

There are so many reasons you need a crocheted detachable collar that I was hard-pressed to fit them all into this story. The best reason I could think of was the next time you feel compelled to attend a neighbourhood meeting about the Unitary Plan, you can cool down by simply unbuttoning your detachable collar and stuffing it discretely in your bag or pocket.

The history on detachable collars is sketchy but they were a largely practical invention designed to be easily washed in a time before electric washing machines and they still seemed a given right up until relatively recent times. My mother recalls a detachable, highly starched collar on her nursing uniform in the mid-60s.

They allowed for shirts and dresses to go an extra round before they hit the washing tub, and they allowed for a little reinvention: who needs a new frock or sweater when you can just change the collar? I could get into them in a big way, which is just as well because I made three of them in next to no time at all.

Don't be put off by the perceived complexity; if you know the crochet basics you'll be well placed to make your own collection, one for every day of the week, and they look quite fetching, too.

This version is derived from an old pattern and is far more elaborate in its original form but I've truncated it a little so you'll look less like a Musketeer and more like an inhabitant of the 21st century.


Step 1 - Right side facing, make a chain as long as you need to go around your neck. Depending on your thread, there will be a little give in the finished item. I chained 69 for a very fine wool thread and 81 for a DMC number 5 cotton thread. Double crochet around the neckline. (1st row): 1 chain, 1 double crochet, * miss 1 double crochet, (1 triple, 1 chain, 1 triple) in next stitch, miss 1 double crochet, 1 double crochet in next double crochet, repeat from * to end, turn.

Step 2 - (2nd row) 2 chain, * 1 double crochet between the 2 triples, miss 1 double crochet, 4 chain, repeat from * to last 2 triples, 1 double crochet between 2 triples, 2 chain, 1 double crochet in double crochet, turn.

Step 3 - (3rd row) 1 chain, 1 double in double crochet, 2 triple in 2 chain space, 1 double in double crochet, *4 triple in 4 chain space, 1 double crochet in double crochet, repeat from * to last 2 chain space, 2 triple in 2 chain space, turn.

Step 4 - (4th row) 1 chain, 1 double in double crochet, 5 chain, * 1 double crochet between 2nd and 3rd triple, 5 chain, repeat from * to last 2 triple, 1 double crochet in 2nd triple, turn.

Step 5 - (5th row) 1 chain, * 1 double crochet in double crochet, 5 triple in 5 chain space, repeat from * to last double crochet, 1 double crochet in double crochet. Finish off leaving 15-20cm tail. Thread onto a large needle and work tail from bottom edge of collar through to top edge.

Step 6 - Pick up a loop with the hook and slip stitch in tail, chain to accommodate chosen button and slip stitch further down collar edge to create loop. Finish off tail and thread into collar with needle. Sew button to opposite side.

Step 7 - Pin collar into shape on ironing board, cover with a damp cloth and apply a gentle iron. Frock up to face off with the council!


Materials/tools

• 3.25mm hook
• Embroidery cotton/ 3ply wool (examples shown are from Spotlight)
• Feature button
• Scissors
• Large needle
• Iron

- Herald on Sunday

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