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How to Make Your Own Prom Dress - The Fashion Class

How to Make Your Own Prom Dress

Prom Dress Sewn by The Fashion Class Student


Prom often serves as a rite of passage for teenagers, marking the end of their high school years and the beginning of their transition to adulthood. It's a time for students to dress up, dance, and celebrate with their friends, making memories that can last a lifetime. However, prom can be pricey! What's left for the most important aspect of prom, the dress, when considering the expenses of tickets, the limo, and the after-party?

Here at TFC, we feel your pain, that’s why I’m sharing my favorite DIY Prom Dress ideas that are just as fabulous as what’s in stores (with a much kinder price tag).

I won't post anything here that looks cheap, tacky, requires expensive materials, or is simply impossible to achieve, as I am committed to you being an absolute fashion goddess for prom. (I also refuse to post crafty dresses made from Duck Tape or Tissue Paper because, while cute for a contest, we don’t need you looking like an amazon package on prom night).

Option 1 – For the Gal Who Sews

Every pattern company has prom dress patterns that are actually pretty cute. If you sew even a little (or can beg your grandma to sew for you) this is a great option. Both McCall’s  and Vogue patterns  have eveningwear options. Indie designers on Etsy often have patterns you can purchase, download, and print.

Before Buying a Pattern:

  • Check the skill level required: Some patterns are very easy and other are for experienced sewers.
  • Check the fabric requirements: Most anything can be sewn in any fabric. Stay away from sequins and velvet as these are ridiculously hard to sew.
  • Check the extra’s involved: Does your pattern need a zipper, interfacing, or buttons? How does it open and close so that it fits?
  • If you're not great at zippers no worries, purchase a fabric with 4 way stretch (stretch in all four directions, not just two) and nix the zip. Use a zig-zag stitch so that the fabric stretches when sewn, without popping (breaking) any seams. Heavier weight stretch fabric can be very forgiving and will give your dress volume - we love neoprene or scuba!

My favorite pattern for prom is Butterick’s Retro Collection 1960’s Tea Length Dress:  - if the recommended fabric Shantung is too intimidating try it with a shiny spandex instead. 

Cost for a #SelfSewn prom dress: Pattern $14 + Fabric $32 = $46 (plus oodles of precious time, don’t start the night before prom!)

Option 2 - For the Gal Who Thrifts

Thrifting for Prom

One can find amazing things in thrift stores but the evening section always seems to be lacking. In between the horror show bridesmaids dresses from the 80's there are stained armpits and ripped linings. Most aren't even your size and you leave discouraged, thinking 'What am I to do?!?'. The answer, a Frankenstein prom dress – a little sleeve from here and a top from there. Grab the tulle underskirt from that wedding dress from 1983 and bam – you have a cute, modern prom dress.

It's all about shape and fit! Find shapes you love for the bodice and skirt. Search for embellishments from other dresses or even the lingerie section.

Remember that your dress has to last one night (so there's no shame in hot glue – I’ve done it) but I recommend using some  strong fabric glue to piece your thrift dress together. Use binder clips to hold while the glue dries overnight. Cover any imperfections with a simple ribbon belt.

Cost for a #frankenstein prom dress: Two different dresses $40 + Embellishments $5 + Glue $6 = $51

Option #3: For the Gal who Shines

Decorating a DIY prom dress in fashion class

Embellish, embellish, embellish. This is all about transforming something plain into something prom worthy! Find an inexpensive plain dress online or at the mall (you can also bling out tops and bottoms separately). Make sure the fit is good.

Buy strong fabric glue and choose your embellishments such as Rhinestone Patches or glitzy trim : Do your research because this can get pricey. Look at the size of each item as the photos can be misleading.

Lace fabric is a wonderful embellishment because you can cut it into shapes and the fabric will not fray. You can overlap the pieces where needed and it’s luxurious and classic.

Make sure that any additions you make to your plain dress allow you to continue wearing the garment, particularly if there is no zipper and the fabric has stretch.

Cost for a #BlingedOut prom dress: Plain Dress $15 + Rhinestone Patches $16 + Lace Fabric $10 + Fabric Glue $6 = $47

Creating your own prom dress can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that allows you to showcase your unique style and personality. While it may require some time, effort, and patience, the end result is a one-of-a-kind dress that you can be proud of. By following these tips and guidelines, you can ensure that your dress turns out exactly how you envision it. Whether you're on a tight budget, want to stand out from the crowd, or simply enjoy the creative process, making your own prom dress can be a fun and memorable experience that you'll cherish for years to come.