Behind the scenes: Phoebe



This year, our production team grew to include 4 awesome individuals. Phoebe was the first pattern that involved the whole new production team, so we thought it would be fun to share some behind the scenes peeks.

Kris is our designer for both Colette and Seamwork patterns. We caught her in between researching and sketching our 2016 designs to ask her some questions about Phoebe’s design process:

As a designer, where do you find inspiration?

I take a lot of inspiration from street style. I’m always eyeing what people around me are wearing, or checking out street style blogs to get a feel for what people wear day-to-day in other cities and countries. I also have a passion for vintage garments – I love borrowing details from antique clothing and applying them to updated silhouettes. Creating wearable garments while incorporating classic and unique details is an important way for me to keep my love of vintage clothing alive.

What was your inspiration behind Phoebe?

I have a long time love of pinafores. I especially love how cool they can look when layered up with collared shirts, sweater, thick socks and boots. Inspired exactly by this style, I attempted to sew up a hideous under-bust jumper out of brown and blue polka dotted quilting cotton when I was 15. When I didn’t exactly achieve the look I was going for I tossed it into the donation pile and decided that a pinafore style just wasn’t for me.

Earlier this year I was puttering around on the internet and stumbled upon a beautiful image of Audrey Hepburn wearing a jumper. She looked so pulled together and effortless in her pinafore styled with a simple black sweater underneath. I instantly knew a jumper would be the perfect addition to the Colette line.

Kris in her Phoebe dress.

Kris in her Phoebe dress.

Often designs have a tendency of evolving through the pattern process. How does Phoebe vary from the original sketch, if at all?

I originally designed Phoebe to have pleats at the skirt waist. During the first fit session it was obvious we weren’t going to achieve the clean, modern silhouette I had envisioned with the pleats creating large wrinkles of fabric near the midsection, so we replaced them with darts.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when producing Phoebe?

The biggest challenge was that I wasn’t really around for much of the development of Phoebe. I took a two and a half week trip to Europe, and it was the longest I’d been away from my post since starting at Colette almost three years ago. Being away for so much of the process for the first time was pretty nerve-wracking!

How did you overcome these challenges?

We had recently brought on Anna, our production assistant. I did my best to impart all of my knowledge to her during a short-lived training period and then set her free. Anna was catching on fast, so when it was time to get on that plane I felt completely confident she and our patternmaker, Wallis, would have it totally handled. When I got back the project was in great shape and running on time. Having an awesome team that you can fully depend on is so important.


Have you sewn Phoebe yet? Feel free to leave a link in the comments (even if it’s just a photo on instagram!) of your #phoebedress. We’d love to see!

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.

Comments 3


I am such an unabashed fan of Colette Patterns and Seamwork – I follow all your blog postings and social media postings faithfully. I’ve learned so much from your company it would be impossible to list it all. I wish you all at Colette the best of continued success in 2016 and look forward to following and admiring from not so far away (Victoria BC Canada).


Thanks for the kind words, Kathleen! Happy 2016 to you as well.


I must say that when I first saw Phoebe, I wasn’t convinced it would fit my style, but after sewing it, I really love this pattern. You can easily dress it up or down and I like the fit a lot. Here is the first Phoebe I made and I am already planning on sewing another one in a lightweight denim after I finish my 3rd Wren, ha-ha.

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