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Introducing Phoebe: The Versatile Sheath Dress


Hey there & thank you for reading the Colette blog!

This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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Back in 2009, when Colette Patterns was founded, vintage inspired frocks were our bread and butter. Over the years our brand has evolved, and adopted a more modern style. Though patterns like Laurel and Mabel are some of our most popular items, we have been itching to revisit our vintage roots. We set out to create something that was rooted in the past, but could be easily modernized. And thus, Phoebe was born.

We’re so excited to introduce Phoebe, a versatile sheath dress. This pattern is already clearly a team favorite, as we are all sewing up our own versions at the moment!

Phoebe is a modern a-line sheath dress that recalls a vintage-inspired fit reminiscent of the 1960s. The princess seams on the bodice make Phoebe incredibly easy to customize to your figure. Phoebe has two versions, both featuring a fully-lined bodice and finished with a centered coil zipper. Angled waist darts create a flattering shape that is echoed by the lightly flared skirt.

The classic fit of this pinafore works especially well with layers, and can be worn in any season. Like some of our most favorite designs, this dress is extremely versatile in its simplicity, so have fun with styling!

Version 1


Phoebe comes with two bodice options, and both are lined. Version 1’s double breasted bodice is perfect for showing off your favorite buttons.

This version is sewn up in lovely boiled wool from Dragonfly Fabrics. Keep reading for a chance to win fabric from their shop!

Version 2


Version 2’s clean, classic bodice makes a dress perfect for layering. This version is sewn up in a beautiful velveteen, from Silk Road Textiles. Silk Road Textiles also supplied the vibrant orange velveteen on version 1 at the top of this post.

Fabric Suggestions

Phoebe works with a wide variety of medium weight wovens.

Outer Shell: Medium weight wovens

  • Twill
  • Wool flannel
  • Gabardine
  • Corduroy
  • Velvet
  • Velveteen
  • Wool crepe
  • Denim
  • Silk dupioni


  • Light weight cottons
  • Acetate
  • Rayon
  • Silk

Features and Skills


Learn These Skills

  • How to sew darts
  • Install buttonholes
  • How to line a bodice
  • Sew a centered zipper
  • Use understitching for a clean finish
  • Try finishing your seams using a Hong Kong finish

Discounts and a Contest

Phoebe is 15% off through December 23rd, which is when we will be taking a short holiday break.

Leave a comment sharing how you will wear Phoebe for a chance to win a prize! One lucky winner will get a copy of Phoebe, and a second lucky winner will receive a £25 gift certificate to Dragonfly Fabrics, who supplied the gorgeous gray boiled wool pictured above. Winners will be announced here on the blog on Friday.

Find Phoebe Locally

The following stores across the world have ordered Phoebe:

United States

Cool Cottons (OR)
Finch Sewing Studio (VA)
The Needle Shop (IL)
Pintuck & Purl (NH)
Bernina of Oklahoma City (OK)
Fancy Tiger (CO)
Modern Domestic (OR)
Handcraft Workshop (PA)
Fabric Temptations CA
Silk Road Textiles (OH)
Crafty Planet (MN)
Bolt (OR)
Pattern Review
Modern Textiles (ND)
Thread (AL)
Brooklyn General Store (NY)
Picking Daisies (CA)
Stitch House (MA)
Altman’s Needle & Fiber Arts (NY)
Fiddlehead Artisan Supply (ME)
Mulberry Silks (NC)
Hawthorne Threads
Grey’s Fabric And Notions (MA)
Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics (CA)
The Cloth Pocket (TX)


Effiloche (QC)
Fabrics Etc (BC)
Spool Of Thread (BC)

UK & Europe

Cambridge Sewing (GB)
Dragonfly fabrics (GB)
Trixie Lixie (GB)
Guthrie & Ghani (GB
Fabric Godmother (GB)
Backstitch (GB)
M is For Make (GB) (NL)
Brin de Cousette (FR) (SE)
Metermeter (DK)

Australia and New Zealand

Stitch 56 (AU)
Indie Stitches (AU)
The Drapery (AU)
Sew Indie NZ (NZ)
Pattern Postie (NZ)

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.

Comments 288


I would like to make a wool or corduroy Phoebe to wear over a turtleneck and tights.


Boots and a big colorful scarf for the office! I get pretty warm, so am often sleeveless in the winter.

Mc Gonzalez

Id wear it with a big, proud smile !


I learned to see as a child in the 60’s and this totally takes me back to one of my first creations, an olive green corduroy jumper lined with red calico. I think I will re-create that look, but maybe lined with something more sophisticated than calico. Looks like a fun pattern to make and wear.


I have this rad cotton plaid twill in my stash that I am itching to make version one out of! It is green, orange and white and will look great with a cute cardigan and tights. It will totally be a vintage inspired piece.


I’d wear this layered with a long-sleeve shirt, thick tights, and boots. Matter of fact, wish I were wearing it right now! Love the rust-colored velveteen…

Worsted Skeins

The beautifully named Phoebe needs to be adorned with a bird brooch–A Phoebe for the Phoebe?


I’d wear Phoebe with tights and my Blundstone boots! I’d love to make a double-breasted version!


I love the double breasted version in wool. As a well-endowed gal, I might modify the neck to be lower and square, so in a wool or tweed it’d be like a faux jumper.


Nice pattern! I noticed side bust darts on one of the examples, but they are not in the technical drawing. Are they included in the pattern or is this an adjustment?


Nice pick-up Suzy! After reading your comment, I went back over the photos and am now also curious about if the bust dart is drafted or a fit adjustment?
I think it is probably an adjustment. I wear a 32H and (in addition to performing a FBA) I usually need to add/adjust bust darts on sleeveless dresses so that they do not gape at the armhole.
In my experience, when drafting for over an F cup it can be tricky to move the bust dart completely into the mid-clavicular line (as in the Phoebe Bodice) and still preserve the intended grainline of the seam/pattern piece. I learnt this the hard way when a self-drafted (but not toile tested) bodice kept pulling and twisting in all the wrong places!


i’ve learned so many sewing lessons the hard way. :-) and yet i still try to avoid making muslins.

Erin f

Would totally make this my art studio uniform. I love feeling cute while i work and this would surely do the trick ?


Thankyou Colette Team! The Phoebe dress is a true trans seasonal (and trans event) wardrobe staple.
Version 2 in black silk shantung is my ultimate Little Black Dress. I’d wear it to the office with red mary-janes and a chunky wooden necklace, or throw on a leather jacket and some ankle boots to head out to a bar, or pair it with some killer stilettos and a string or two of pearls for a Cocktail event – Oh, the possibilities!
Version 1 is the perfect project to use some green/brown/taupe herringbone weave Italian wool tartan I fell in love with at Clegs (Melbourne) last winter – I knew I’d bought it for a reason! I’ll wear this layered with an ivory button up shirt and knee-high boots as my go-to smart casual outfit in the cooler months.


I think the best place to wear Phoebe would be in a tweed bicycle ride:
I’d wear it with tights, long wool socks, and a nubby blazer. And bright plum lipstick and silver hairclips.


And would definitely make it in a wool tweed, possibly in a teal or sapphire color.


I would wear my navy corduroy Phoebe with my mustard tights with a chunky necklace and flats…and, of course, a smile.


I would sew up phoebe in a color velvet — maybe a rich forest green – or even a lightweight wool — for some reason I am thinking fuchsia. I would wear it in winter with a black turtleneck and opaque black tights and accessorize it with boots and some earrings. Perfect for work/school but also could work for an evening out.


I’d wear version 1 in black needlecord, with a black & white 3/4 sleeve t-shirt under!


I’d love to make a velvet version in a rich color for party wear – plus a wool version to layer for work wear!

Francesca a

Love! I’d make the unbuttoned version in linen for summer work wear, and right now, I can see it in one of my jewel toned wool crepes from the sadly missed afashionablestitch shop – or even some lovely suiting from my stash – with a fine knit 3/4 sleeve sweater underneath….


I really like this pattern. I think I would like to make it in version one with buttons. I think it would look good either in light grey woolen fabric or in black velvet with silver metallic buttons. Can’t wait to start sewing this project and try out new techniques ?


I’ll wear it as a dress! ;) With some awesome fall boots.


Wow, this is a really nice dress!
I do knit a lot of sweaters, but because the bodice of this dress really ought to be the highlight of any outfit, I’d wear it with a simple, unbuttoned cardigan.

The dress itself I would make in corduroy, for sure, and in Version One. Patterned leggings, leather brogues probably.


I’m going to make this in a soft flannel gray, to wear over a white button down and leggings. So excited!!


This is very retro and reminds me of my 20’s. I would make it in a brown cord with a cream stretch polo neck.


I would wear the Phoebe with long sleeve tshirt/sweater underneath, tights, boots and a coat in the winter (version 1 or 2) or with a necklace, tights, and heels or flats for a party (version 2).


I’m currently planning a work wardrobe so I think i’d make it in a dark grey.

Also, I love the diversity Collette and Seamworks has in its models. I think it’s really important to see how different patterns work on different bodies and how adjustments can be made to get a good fit.


When I was a little girl my dad bought me a red wool pinafore & I wore it till it was threadbare, so in homage to my dad I would make phoebe in red wool & wear it with black tights & boots for Christmas :)


So sweet, I love this idea!


I ‘d make it with a green and blue plaid wool I have in my stash, I think I would give it a try sewing the central front/back panel on the bias, just thinking about the possibilities this pattern brings makes me want to sew it now! I would love to wear it with a black turtleneck, thights and Mary Janes or black boots, if it’s too cold outside!


I’d wear Phoebe with contrast tights ankle boots and long sleeve, great as winter is kicking in here in the uk.


I really like Version 2 in the velveteen. I would probably wear it with a shirt underneath and some boots. Looks like it could be a great workhorse pattern–really versatile.


I would love this in velvet!!!

Amelia E

such a lovely pattern! I envisage a version in cosy needlecord layered over a black long sleeved tshirt, thick tights and a pair of doc martens…


Love love love this pattern! I am going to back stitch this weekend and hope to find it there! I would love to make a grey version to go with coloured tights.


I love the cozy velveteen versions.


Cute! Since it’s warm where I am, it would have to be a lighter-weight fabric with sandals!

Karen Belote

I was a child in the 60’s and my favorite “dress” to wear for years was a straight jumper with a turtleneck underneath. This dress fits the bill more than any that I have seen since then.I will make this in a wool and wear right, my turtleneck and perhaps my denim jacket to modernize it. I will also wear my suede booties. I can’t wait to make this!


Another fantastic pattern, already bought and printed it! I was just lamenting about the lack of simple sheath dress patterns this weekend after I failed to find one to replace my old LBD :) off to find a mid-weight wool!

Show and Tell Meg

I love the retro styling! I miss your vintage inspired designs, so I was really excited to see this one :)


I think it would be gorgeous for work with a shirt underneath and some wooly tights

Charlie M

What a versatile pattern! I would wear version 1 in a check wool blend over a skinny tee, finished off with knee-high boots and a hand-knitted shawl. Version 2 would make a fabulous little black dress.


Phoebe is such a great dress, I would make her to wear to work. I love Dragonfly fabrics, their customer service is fantastic and swatch service is great too. Can’t wait to make a smart work-wear Phoebe ?


I have ordered my pattern and am looking forward to making it in a thin navy corduroy fabric and wearing it with a cardigan. I am also considering making it in a worsted wool as well – there are so many options!

Emilie LG

I’m in love with the double breasted front closureversion <3
As it's winter here, I would love to make a denim version of this beauty and then another one in a yellow wool fabric.
I can't wait to be in spring/summer because I already see it in seersucker or swiss cotton…

Terry Cullan

Gosh, so many ways! Winter with a cardigan, summer as is or with a light blouse. Great pattern as always.


I like that you showed two body types . I all so prefer it without buttons.
I would use a thick velvet just like picture one.
thank you for the opportunity for the lovely fabric.


I love this! It is so versatile with the ability to cross the seasonal borders. I started thinking about adding a contrasting piping to many of the seems, especially with the double breasted option with the buttons. Solid dress with a flower piping or a bright colored piping? I’m thinking…yes please!


seams, not seems. Sorry!!

Lodi Srygley

I recently made my first English purchase and the postage was quite reasonable. Shockingly reasonable in fact. Yet another reason to shop globally!

I love the Italian wools. Yum! Prize…pretty please???


I could see wearing this dress on Xmas Day with a cowl neck top, tights and boots.. Just lovely!


So pretty – can’t wait to make this!

Phylis Anderson

Love the beautiful fabrics you’ve chosen for Pheobe. Too hard to choose between the herringbone and burgundy!

stephanie costello

Hey Phoebe, I love love the herringbone fabric. yuummmm I think I would make one in the Green.


I love the lines of this, and have a very similar and favourite RTW dress in cotton that I wear endlessly in summer – so I know the style would suit me. I’d love to make this up in the gorgeous teal velveteen on the dragonfly website and would wear with a longsleeved t , tights and boots. Then I’d make a summer version to replace my RTW one, and maybe one in a Liberty print cord……


I’d wear a warm woolen Phoebe with over-the-knee boots and turtleneck! It’s a great patern, I especially love clean, flattering lines of the bodice.


Ha! I have no idea . . . I am the worst at styling . . . I guess I will read through all these comments and hopefully find a look that will work for me.


Great dress – Fabric makes it however ~ Hope I win


I love the dress and the fabrics are beautiful! Merry Christmas and thanks for the giveaway. :)

jane denny

I really like the denim with mismatched buttons idea!


It’s cold at the moment so I’ll wear mine with thick tights, boots and a hand knit cardigan!


I’d wear it with the biggest smile- I’d be grinning at the sense of achievement of managing a set of buttonholes for the first time! The patterns and blog have been great tutorials for someone like me- learning and having a go on their own without support! Thank you for teaching me and getting my confident at sewing my own clothes.

Geraldine Cooper

I would make phoebe out of a lovely vintage, plaid wool I have in my stash. I saw a jumper similar to this at Anthropologie today. Great winter look! I love dresses with tights and boots in cold winter months. Thanks for another great pattern, hope I win.

Geraldine Cooper

I’d make it up in a heavier fabric and wear it with a soft cardigan.

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