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Our Phoebes: Part One


I knew we had a good thing going when every single person (save Kenn, sadly Phoebe just isn’t his style) on the Colette team was planning their Phoebe half way through the production process. I was immediately struck by how different each plan was. I rallied the ladies together and proposed we document the process of making our Phoebes.

In this two part series we will share our finished Phoebes, the alterations we made, our inspiration, and of course, our plans for styling Phoebe.

Phoebe is incredibly flattering, and each member of the team made minor fit changes to achieve a totally custom fit. I love that the diverse range of body types showcases how genuinely flattering Phoebe is on these gorgeous ladies.

Today is all about fall and winter looks. Meg, Taylor, and Anna whipped up some seriously awesome Phoebes that are packed full of inspiration.



What alterations did you make to your Phoebe to get a custom fit?

I used a size 6 for the bust, grading to a size 10 at the waist and hips. I also shortened the bodice by 1/2” and reduced the shaping at the princess seams of the bodice in lieu of an SBA. The skirt was shortened by one inch, and I used a wide hem.

What was the inspiration behind your version of Phoebe?

The fabric inspired the dress for me. I saw this dark Robert Kaufman denim speckled in little rainbow dots, and I knew I had to have it for Phoebe. It matches my favorite pair of socks!

What fabric did you use?

I used Robert Kaufman’s Denim with Colored Moets for the main fabric, and a cotton lawn in gold (also by Robert Kaufman) for the lining. Both were from Fabric Depot.

How do you plan on wearing your Phoebe?

I plan to wear Phoebe layered over a long-sleeved tee in the winter, and I will wear her just as she is in the summer.



What alterations did you make to your Phoebe to get a custom fit?

I ended up grading between sizes in the skirt. I started in the waist at a size 14 and graded out to size 18 in the fullest part of my hips. After making my muslin, it was still fitting tighter than I preferred. I decided to give it more ease in the waist and hips so that I would be comfortable with layering other pieces with it. Something I’m learning is that being able to make my own adjustments to what I know I’m comfortable with is really important!

What was the inspiration behind your version of Phoebe?

I recently finished re-watching Mad Men and pretty much wanted a lot of Peggy Olsen’s outfits. I love the way she layers, and her more cutesy way of styling is appealing to me. I knew doing the button version would be more in that genre for me.

What fabric did you use?

Since I’m newer to sewing garments, I’ve been slowly stocking up on fabric here and there. I had this burnt orange stretch brushed twill that I purchased from Mill End and knew it’d be perfect because:

A.) It has stretch. Since it is a more fitted dress I’d like the extra give.

B.) The thick structure of the fabric was just perfect. I have a feeling that the fabric has been displayed in the store for a minute, but here is something similar from Mood.

How do you plan on wearing your Phoebe?

I plan to wear it in the winter and fall months with tights, button up shirts, a turtleneck (if I find the right one, or find the right pattern to make one), a good pair of loafers, clogs, or boots…all in the brown color family obviously.



What alterations did you make to your Phoebe to get a custom fit?

I did a lot of alterations, but that is mainly because I am 3 different sizes from top to bottom. What I love about Phoebe is that the princess lines on the bodice make this pattern very easy to alter, especially in the bust area. I took it in quite a bit at the neckline and bust, and let out a lot at the hips and adjusted the dart lengths and intake. Another alteration I made, which seemed like a good idea at first, was putting in a side zipper instead of a center back zipper. Since I made Phoebe out of a plaid fabric, I thought a side zipper would help to match the plaids, however I don’t think it made a difference as my plaid matching skills are still novice. Oh well! I still really love how it turned out.

What was the inspiration behind your version of Phoebe?

60’s Mod style. However there is a fine line between 60’s plaid dresses and 90’s plaid dresses, so you could say I was inspired by both decades ;)

What fabric did you use?

I used a plaid cotton shirting purchased at Bolt Fabric Boutique. They don’t have a picture online, but as of this past weekend they still have a bolt of this fabric left plus many other great plaid shirtings and flannels.

How do you plan on wearing your Phoebe?

I plan to layer it a lot in the cold months – with my favorite winter garment, Oslo, a hat, boots and warm socks. In the summer, I’ll wear it with moccasins or flats.


Are you excited to get started on your Phoebe? We will be hosting a Sewalong with the lovely and knowledagable Devon Iott in January. Stay tuned for more details after the new year!

On Thursday we will share three more amazing Phoebe dresses, all styled for spring.

Haley Glenn

Editorial Director

Five years ago, Haley left the apparel industry to join the world of home sewing. She has been empowering women to sew ever since – first through years of in-person teaching at Sew LA, and now through her writing at Colette. Haley writes tutorials and articles on our blog, teaches sewalongs, and writes and edits for our magazine, Seamwork.


Paige @ Very Paige

December 15, 2015 #

I’ll admit when I saw the plus size sample on the first post I was less than swayed, but it looks super cute on Taylor. Is the waist lowered?


December 15, 2015 #

Taylor’s Phoebe turned out so cute! There were no alterations made to the length of the bodice. The plus size model we worked with for the Phoebe photoshoot was just very short waisted.

Jill Plamann

December 15, 2015 #

I simply must begin to sew again. These articles are very inspiring.

nothy lane

December 16, 2015 #

I love this dress and it is so versatile. I noticed everyone expects to wear this year round which really makes it a deal!


December 16, 2015 #

A➕ , Ladies. You look amazing!


December 16, 2015 #

really like the general silhouette and versatility…. but cannot wear a neckline cut that high… well, i could, but have no neck and it looks stubby… anyway… a tutorial on changing the neckline to something more open/deeper? or is there already such a tutorial like that out there and i’ve just not seen it?

Olivia Flatcher

January 9, 2016 #

Thanks for sharing the coat photos, I really loved them. One of my colleagues who is writing a compare and contrast essay about fashion got interested in Phoebe dresses and want to order one from this collection.Please give me the link to order the dresses mentioned above.