A Proper Princess Dress- Hacking Phoebe

So many little girls dream of becoming a princess and wearing princess dresses and tiaras. I wanted to make my daughter’s dreams come true this year for her birthday, so I made her a proper princess dress.

The Phoebe Party Dress  and Phoebe Add On patterns were the perfect starting point to make my daughter’s princess dress dream come true. I’ll walk you through the process of hacking your Phoebe and Phoebe Add On patterns into this spectacular Phoebe Princess dress for adults and children.

Supplies Needed:

  • Free Phoebe Party Dress pattern
  • Phoebe Add-on Dress pattern (Option D: Double Layer High Low)
  • Fabric and notions per the patterns
  • Beads, sequins, and decorations as desired for the bodice
  • Horsehair braid (approx. 1-1.25 inches wide)
  • Wide ribbon (approx. 1.5 inches wide)


1. Cut and make the bodice- using the Phoebe Party Dress Pattern. I used a Duchess Satin fabric for both the main bodice and the bodice lining, however, you could use any fabric you like.

2. Decorate the bodice – I wanted a magical look so I hand-stitched faux pearls, sequins, and beads all over the bodice. If you are using flat sequins or decorations (vs bulky beads like I did), you could decorate the pattern pieces before you sew them. That way the threads won’t be visible on the inside. Some of my beads were quite big and I knew I wanted them up to the edges so I did this decoration step once the bodice was complete. I tried to keep the threads inside as much as possible.

3. Cut the skirt pieces using the Phoebe Add-on pattern– In the pattern, the lining for the skirt is a plain skirt without a high low hem. It’s designed to be hidden under the high low layers. Since tulle is see-thru, we don’t want to do this. Instead, we want our ‘lining’ to be an extra layer of the longest High Low skirt. So, cut your lining using the ‘Inner layer’ (longer cut line). You will need:

  • 1 on the fold Center Front Skirt- 1 on the fold
  • 2 Side Front Skirts
  • 2 Side Back Skirts
  • 2 Center Back Skirts

I cut the skirt pieces from the same duchess satin used for the bodice so it would match. Follow the instructions to assemble this.

4. Make the tulle layers using the Phoebe Add-on Pattern Follow the instructions to cut and sew one tulle skirt using the longer cut line and one using the shorter cut line.

5. Add horsehair braid to the hem- Place horsehair braid under the skirt lining hem. Align it so the horsehair braid is just inside the skirt and can’t be seen from the outside. I placed mine so it was approximately ¼ inch away from the edge. Stitch along both edges of the braid to hold it in place. Repeat for both layers of tulle so all three layers have horsehair braid attached.

6. Add ribbon to the hem- For both layers of tulle, place your ribbon on top of the tulle (so it can be seen from the outside). Line it up so it covers the horsehair braid and the edge of the tulle. Stitch along both edges to hold it in place.

*OPTIONAL Step* Make “swirls”- I wanted the skirt to be extra big and swirly, so I deviated from the pattern here and added some extra bits! You can do this for any size.

A. Cut 5 circles of tulle. The exact shape isn’t too important, you just want them to be roughly circular. Mine varied in size between 15-20 inches across in diameter. For an adult’s size, I would make them 20-25 inches across in diameter.

B. Fold each circle of tulle in half.

C. Cut a straight line ¾ of the way along the fold line.

D. Unfold each circle. Cut a very slim small oval into the end of the cut.

E. Open the circle so that the small oval is now the top of this pattern piece. The tulle will be very full and swishy.

F. Hem the rounded edge of the tulle using horsehair braid and ribbon.  Don’t attach the horsehair braid and ribbon to the straight sides because tulle doesn’t fray. If you used a different fabric you may want to make extra swirls and attach the straight sides with seams. 

G. After hemming, the rounded part of the skirt will not lay flat or even. It will be full and swirly.

H. The skirt swirls will be attached as a top layer on the main skirt pieces in the next step. 

8. Assemble the skirt – Pick up your lining and turn it right sides out. Place the longest tulle skirt on top of the lining and pin or clip together at the waistline. Add the shortest tulle skirt on top of that. Then pin or clip your swirls evenly around the waistline as the top layer. Make sure all the fabrics are facing with right sides out. Baste all layers together and treat them as one layer from here onwards.

9. Attach the skirt to the bodice using the Phoebe pattern Follow the pattern instructions to attach the skirt to the bodice and finish the garment. For the adult pattern, this will involve adding a zipper. For child pattern, this will include gathering the back. 

I knew this was likely to be a very well-loved and worn dress in our house, so I made my bodice one size too big and added some hooks & eyes to hold it in tighter. That way it’ll last for many years to come and can expand with them as my kidlets grow!
Thanks for following along with this Phoebe Princess Dress Hack. Please be sure to show us your Phoebe Princess Dresses by tagging us #rebccapage #phoebeprincessdress

2 thoughts on “A Proper Princess Dress- Hacking Phoebe

  1. dee says:

    Wow! Seeing this, I would think every mom and grandmother would want to make this – great directions. I’m going to get busy and make one.

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