Detail Inspiration: Sailor collars



You know what’s funny to me?

Every single year when the weather starts to warm up, we start to hear about the “nautical trend.” Every year, without fail, all things sailor are described as being “hot this year.”

Can it really be a trend if it’s THAT predictable? I mean, I guess it’s easier to sell that way. But I think we can safely call all things nautical summer classics.








Here are some really cool sailor-inspired collars and neckline details from the 40s through the 70s. A long-lasting “trend”, for sure.

{images: baby blue sailor dress with polka dot collar from simplicityisbliss, 1940s deep navy dress with buttons from Nosilla Vintage, 1940s style dark blue wiggle dress with buttons from Miss Mittens Vintage, grey plus size halter dress with stars from shesabettie, 1970s French mini dress from SmokeandOakum, pink sailor dress from honeytalkvintage, red, white, and blue sailor dress from luckyduckyvintage, Cacharel dress with striped neckline from fridalarsensvintage}

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 31


I’ve noticed exactly the same thing with floral prints being suddenly ‘in’ every time spring rolls around! Although I really love both these styles so I’m kind of glad I can rely on their constant ‘comebacks’.


New for SS 13 … Nautical themed outfits – as in SS 12, SS 11, SS 10, SS the year Noah built the Ark (and probably before that too!) LOL. Still, it is a very versatile theme, and I know I shall be using a nautical print for one of my new creations. The good thing is, it will never go out of fashion.


Wow I love all of these! Seriously I do :)


Hahaha that’s hilarious! I was just thinking about that the other day, too. Is nautical a trend… or classic that no one wants to admit has become a classic??? All I have to say is – thank goodness we can rely on SOMETHING to make a “comeback” year after year!!

Navy is my all-time favorite color to wear, so I’m happy to see it everywhere.

By the way, I love the gathers on that top dress, the way they are placed on the hips. It creates such a beautiful, more curvy silhouette. :)


I’ve noticed that nautical trend, too! The recurring safari one is harder to explain, though.


It’s funny you mention this… I took a class from Sarah Hatton (a knitwear designer who worked with Rowan Yarns) and she mentioned that because most designs are worked out a year in advance, there are certain themes that recur to ensure that the designs aren’t out of date by the time they appear. Nautical was one for Spring, Military was one for Fall, Safari for Summer etc., etc.

So, you’re not imagining it when it seems like this is a recurring trend year after year.


Yep, Nautical, Floral…even Safari as mjb mentioned, all great repeating trends. I think the Safari one is so popular as the colours are great for almost all skin tones, and the shirtdresses are SO easy to deal with…but Im certainly no fashion expert so what would I know? *big grin while shrugging*

LOVING pic #1, #3, and the last one. Gee, wonder if any of those would be neat addidtions to the Laurel? Re-gig the neckline a little… Dang! Wish that darned Laurel pattern sewing challenge / contest didn’t heve me in such a tizzy over what to make! *LOL*


Summer invariably means at least one of three ‘trends’:

1. Nautical
2. Safari
3. Floral

Once I figured that out the summer mail order catalogues became a fun little game. :)


I love the blackk dress with the red hearts! GREAT…looking till I found the Pattern ..pleas deliver in Germany or the Netherlands ;-)


I love Nautical patterns and print but for the next few months I’m working for a (very much) maritime institution, it might be just a bit over the top (and what would the real sailors think?) So no cute sailor collars for me, sadly.


I just love anything nautical and, yes, I do think it funny that it’s an annual trend!

xenia katie

I love that first dress! Is that a zipper up the center front? Interesting! I’ve never been much into nautical things for myself (love it on other folks, though). These dresses are making me reconsider :)


I have never been into nautical, but I do like a few of those square nautical necklines…


Never been a fan of the square sailor collar (or collars in general, it seems), but I always dig stripes and navy blue.


Great timing because I just fell for a dress that Joan on Mad Men wore in season 5 and I didn’t know how to search for ways to replicate the collar because I didn’t know it was called a sailor collar! Makes so much sense after seeing your post.

Caffy Bundy

I must admit… I do love nautical!

So bring on the predictability!

Bundana x

Lise Neely

One of my earliest fashion favorites was a kid-sized replica of the sailor dress that Barbra Streisand work as Fannie Brice in Funny Girl. She work it in the roller skating number, before she became a Ziegfield girl. And now, I’ve just picked up Simplicity 5386, a great 60’s set with capri pants and sailor top. Can’t wait to sew it!


We love nautical here. I made my daughter a sailor suit (at her request) and the blouse has a collar like the blue luckyduckyvintage dress (second from bottom). She brought me a a book illustration and said, “I would like one like this!” and the research was fun to do. One of Hayley Mills’ costumes in Disney’s Summer Magic movie is also very similar.

I love the different color combinations you’ve displayed here. I would like to make a nautical blouse/dress/something for me someday! :)


There’s a reason it’s a classic. Although I might hold off on the full on sailor collar for me, I’m still haunted by the giant collars I wore in the 80’s!


I have a Laurel Question : is it necessary to sew the dress with a zipper? I was wondering how this would work as a pullover dress. I just made my muslin, and it seems roomy enough for me to just pull it on over my head, without being too huge.. was there a reason for the zip? ( if this is the most confusing comment/weird comment ever, its probably due to lack of sleep.. ) :)))) thanks girl.


I made the Laurel with a zipper however it was roomy enough for me to pull it on without unzipping it. My laurel isn’t very form fitting but I prefer it roomier for hot weather.


I’ve made several without a zipper. But the zipper is included in the pattern because those with larger bust, hips, or shoulders might have trouble with the dress without one. So it depends! If you normally find it easy to wriggle in and out of dresses, you can probably do without the zip.


Oh goody!!! I cannot wait to get started on my laurel now. I am going to get on that muslin as soon as I finish my spring cleaning so I can see if I need the zipper or not (sure hope I don’t) Love the easy pull on for summer. I have some gorgeous gold lace I want to try for an upcoming event. I do love my shift dress. So many people seem to dislike it, but I just think it is the all time perfect dress. So flattering and carefree. I have never made a colette pattern and knew this would be the perfect one to try out!

My Love Wedding RIng

It is so true! Then I find that come autumn its a military look that is the*new* go to trend! As it is, these necklines rock and have given me just the inspiration I need to get the sewing kit out again!!

Anita McAdam

Great blog and wonderful teaching style. Have just subscribed and already looking forward to your posts. My blog:

michelle philip

how can I get a hold of this pattern and am I allowed to make more then just one to share with my friends?


I recently did a post reviewing an issue of Burda from July 1989. Sure enough there is the “nautical look”. Almost as ubiquitous as the “Safari look”. Check it out


I recently did a post reviewing an issue of Burda from July 1989. Sure enough there is the “nautical look”. Almost as ubiquitous as the “Safari look”. Check it out if you like a laugh!

Simple Simon and Co

Nautical is classic…I think the only thing that changes is the shade of the blue, the shape of the collars, and the size of the stripes…
And I’m ok with it always coming back…I kind of love it.

Despoina Saggana no

Goodmorning from Athens-Greece.
This dress is so so nice for me. How is the price?

Thanks a lot
Despoina Saggana

Despoina Saggana no

Saillor Collar.

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