In any shirt, the collar is the first casualty of wear and tear. This is so, because it is stretched out, interfaced, and it is a curved portion with more than one seam close to each other. And the abrasion against the back of the neck with sweat and oil– all leading to a collar disaster.
And you always apply the most heat to this part, when ironing. You like your collar crisp.
And on top of this, you sweat a lot in the neck portion; this and oil, and whatever body lotions you apply all combine together to create the perfect concoction that will destroy the collar, sooner than later.
In my house, I was a destroyer of collars, through sheer silliness. This is a secret, and if my husband comes to know about this, I do not know what will happen. I used to regularly use a cloth brush on the collar insides between the washing cycle. This continued until I came to my senses (when all the collars started to look like cat has got them in its claws).
I still do not know what my hubby thought was happening with his shirts. He must have thought they were self destructing. lol.
Repairing or replacing collars
If you have a very worn out collar no amount of patching or darning is going to make it look as good as new. But darning and such mending stitches can stop the collar from further deteriorating.
If you can sew moderately well, you can sew a shirt collar from scratch and attach it to your neckline.
For this, carefully remove the collar with a seam ripper. Do not stretch the neckline at all. You can stay stitch the neckline as soon as you have removed the collar.
Sew the new collar from scratch. It is very easy to sew one – just follow the tutorial to draft a pattern and sew the shirt collar.
If you do not fancy sewing a new collar, the first and foremost thing you can do, is to check if the collar looks alright on the back. You see, a collar is reversible, usually. That is, you can just flip it and use the other side. The worn out portion would go the back and inside the collar leaf.
How to switch the collar side ?
First, repair the worn-out portion with a patch or tiny darning stitches so that the tears wouldn’t spread. After that, take out the collar from the neckline edge with a seam ripper.
Turn the collar to the other side and pin it the same way, it was before; just the collar side is changed.
Topstitch or make small whipping stitches with matching thread. If you are top stitching, I would suggest making basting stitches to attach the whole thing together before using the sewing machine.
You will have to change the buttonhole and button to either side. Remove the button from the collar. Close the buttonhole with some hand stitches and sew the button on top of it. Now you will have to make a buttonhole on the other side.