Jackets and sweaters this fall season will have a more feminine style, and can be personalized with hand crocheted accessories to make an ordinary outfit become a stand-out. Using a satin cord (made inexpensively from rayon) a matching collar and belt can be quickly crocheted to dress up an outfit. The matching collar and belt are removable when it is time to wash the garment. Materials needed are a crochet hook size F or G for a compact look or a larger hook such as J size if a more open stitch is desired. The cord should be a satin-look fabric such as Rattail Rayon #2 Heavyweight Cord. This heavy satiny cord will provide a distinct modern contrast to the old-fashioned white and tan lacy crochet collars of the past, and can be used to update many different types of outfits. The matching belt, while based on the throw-back hippie style belt worn on the outside of a tunic or at the waistline of a sweater, is also updated by the smooth satiny cord.
How to Measure
For those wanting an exact pattern for a crocheted collar of this type, there is a good sample pattern at http://whipup.net/2008/08/08/pattern-crochet-collar/ but because of the simplicity of the work, it will be easy for anyone who knows basic crochet stitches to invent their own custom collar without a specific pattern. The same applies to the design of the belt. Simple measurements are taken for the neckline of the collar based on the jacket or sweater it is being designed for. Hang that item of clothing nearby on a hanger so that the collar can be tried on it frequently while crocheting. Measure for the belt by simply making the initial chain whatever length suits best. The belt can have a purchased belt loop at one end, or can simply be tied.
Make the Collar
Begin the collar by creating a chain that exactly matches the circumference of the neckline of the sweater or jacket. It is better to err on the side of tighter rather than looser – the satin cord will stretch a bit, especially if the crochet hook is larger and the stitches looser. The first row and maybe the second row of stitches should be single crochet, which will be compact and will keep the neckline from stretching too much. From the third row on, branch out into double crochet and varieties of treble stitches. The outer rows of stitching on the collar could be shell stitch or even open shell stitch. This will give the outer edge of the collar a scalloped design.
When the end of the last row is reached, don’t turn. Instead, single crochet down the collar’s end, do 3 sc in the corner, then sc across the inner edge of the collar to the opposite corner. Make 3 sc in that corner, then sc along that end of the collar until the scalloped edge is reached. Slip stitch into the first stitch of the scallop, break off and weave ends. Sew on a button, or add tie cords at the neck to make a bow.
How to Join Two Cords
Because of the thickness of the cord, joining two ends of cord with a knot is likely to make a bad lump. If one spool of cord is not enough for the size of collar desired, place a small piece of fabric tape around both cord ends and stitch the cords together through the tape with beading thread. Cut off excess, then treat the ends of the cords with an anti-fray fabric product.
Make a Lengthwise Belt
Crochet a chain that is the full length of the belt. Choose a crochet stitch that is more compact if the belt is not going to be stiffened. Continue to add lengthwise rows until the belt is the desired width. If a metal belt loop is used, add it to the end using half-hitches. Otherwise, the belt can be loosely tied. If a belt with more open stitching is desired, then the finished product can be sewn to a stiff fabric for backing. Choose a color of backing material that will not detract from the belt color; the best choice would be a stiffened piece of the same fabric the jacket is made from.
Another style of belt, usually worn a little below the waistline, is also crocheted lengthwise. This style of belt is slightly tapered – smaller at the upper side and widening just a little as the rows continue downward. A scalloped lower edge could be used so that the belt design matches the collar edge. The belt ends could be joined with a button, similar to a collar, and the belt would require less cord because it is a shorter than the first style of belt, which hangs down.