View Full Version : To Starch a Detachable Collar

10-10-2006, 10:06 AM
Okay. Now we have an idea of what to do with a petticoat.

How to starch and iron a detachable collar?

I have a white, detachable collar from Corner Clothiers. It was kinda stiff when new. Now it seems kinda limp, and I would like to iron it with some starch to get it to stand up again.

Also, I have wrinkled silk cravates which need an ironing. Any ideas on proper iron settings so's I can iron them?

Robert A Mosher
10-10-2006, 10:21 AM
Noah -
If you want a period solution for the collars, I can't help you.

Re the cravats - I have one that is clearly cotton and the other appears to be silk or possibly satin. The setting for cotton is pretty easy and for the other one I take the cooler setting as a just in case measure. It may also help to use a dampened cotton cloth (wring it out pretty well) over the cravat between it and the iron as a further precaution.

Robert A. Mosher

Delia Godric
10-10-2006, 10:27 AM
I found a little bit on cravats. I hope this link works right:

If not, it's the Family Manual, New York, 1845 at the Harvard University Library page 3.

Anna Worden

10-10-2006, 11:15 AM
Thanks to both of you for your tips! As it turns out, I have a four-inch wide, five-yard long strip of cotton cloth which I can use for the cravat ironing. (It's also known as a bandage.)

Edited to add - I have a spray can of starch I was going to use on the collar. The question is how to apply said starch to the collar without ruining the collar itself when I iron? Obviously, I am not looking for a period solution this time, because I am not actually washing and ironing it at an event. I just wanted something to put some stiffness back into the collar.

Subject change - good kid gloves may be had at Abraham's Lady in G'burg. I do not know how accurate they may be. They run about $30 a pair, if my memory bothers to serve me correctly. Apparently there are perfect "repro" kid gloves for sale from an Italian manufacturer, but they are a bout $300 a pair or so. (I put "repro" in quotes because I do not think the manufacturer was considering reenactors for their market.)

10-10-2006, 11:56 AM
Edited to add - I have a spray can of starch I was going to use on the collar. The question is how to apply said starch to the collar without ruining the collar itself when I iron?

About the only way you can ruin the collar by ironing is scorching it, and that's most apt to happen if the collar is really wet, or you use too high a setting. Spray the starch on and if the collar is just barely damp, you can iron right away on a medium or cotton setting. If you spray it on really thick so it's soaking wet, let it dry for a short while, not completely dry, but just so it's damp.

The only downside of spray starch is that you can't get the collar as stiff as with boiled starch. If the spray starch makes it stiff enough, great. If you want it stiffer, you can make boiled starch by getting Argo powdered starch and following the directions on the box, or using a spoonfull or two of cornstarch in a small pan of water and bringing it to a boil while stirring. Dip the collar in that, let it dry until barely damp, and iron as above.

Hank Trent

Pvt Schnapps
10-10-2006, 03:27 PM
If I had only known then what I know today, I would have made an enameled steel collar in shop class.

Catherine Kelly
10-11-2006, 01:33 PM
even with spray starch... let it soak in a bit and rest a min. before you iron it. If you let the starch soak in and actually be absorbed by the fibers, it is less apt to scorch the fabric and less likely to gum up your iron.

the idea of a pressing cloth is a good one, then do a final pressing with out the cloth to give a good crisp finish. Well as good as it gets with spray starch.


Carolann Schmitt
10-23-2006, 10:10 AM
As others have mentioned, using a cooked or liquid starch will give the best effect. Allow the starched collar to dry, then dampen with a spritz of water, and iron on the appropriate setting. Several applications of spray starch (starch/iron, starch/iron) will give a less satisfactory result. If you are "ironing challenged", take it to your local shirt laundry/dry cleaner and tell them you want "heavy starch".

Before ironing your silk cravat, carefully test the setting on a inconspicuous area (section hidden by your collar). Ironing at the wrong setting can be disastrous, and some the color of some silks is permanently changed when ironed, even at the correct setting.

A man's plain white cotton handkerchief makes a great press cloth.

10-23-2006, 12:12 PM
Cravates ironed. No wrinkles. Literally.

Collar - satisfying stiffness, no Viagra used or needed.

Thanks again for your tips!

10-27-2006, 07:01 AM
Oh, Noah!


Further to this point, I've noticed that the more I starch some items the less I need to fuss with them later. The starch seems to build up after a while, doesn't it? I have collars, cuffs, and the brim of a corded bonnet that I starch every time I wear them, and they seem to retain the shape pretty well. They also appear to repel dirt better now than when they were new. I find I don't have to use quite as much starch now.

About silk -- when I hand wash silk items, I squeeze out moisture between two towels and carefully iron the item while still damp. Your cravat is black, no doubt, so this isn't as much of an issue, but my understanding is that when you air-dry white or off-white silk it's apt to go yellow.

10-27-2006, 08:41 AM
Well, this will be the first time I starch this particular collar, so if I starch again and again, then by your logic I can expect it to retain its shape over time.

Being the Victorian clothes hound I am, I have a wide, black silk cravate and a mint green thinner one from Corner Clothiers. I also found a yellow, cotton strip which was originally for tying around a tree to indicate the location of my field dressing station. Turns out it's almost the same size as the black silk cravate, so for "g-its and sh-iggles" I tried it on. It works, assuming the character wearing it is a real fop who does not mind wild colors and clown references by passers-by.