Between the ticket, the hair and makeup, the shoes, nails and other accessories and the cost of a limo or party bus, prom can be pricey. And that’s not even taking into account the outfit. In fact, a 2015 Visa survey discovered that American teens (and their parents) spend an average of $919 total on the prom.
One way some students save money without skipping this memorable event is by making their own prom dresses. Some of them are made out of unusual materials (trash bag prom gown, anyone?) while others have been put together under a super-tight, last-minute deadline.
The one thing they have in common is that they all look gorgeous. These striking prom dresses — crafted by the teens who wore them — will blow you away.
DIY Prom Queen
Prom is not limited to the U.S., and neither is creating your own prom dress. Anna Mária Kollarčíková, who lives in the European country of Slovakia, posted a photo of her dress on Instagram. Another post shows her date, whose tie matches the turquoise gown perfectly.
Nakita Davis shared a collage of past prom pics, including a couple showing off the gown she made for herself. The top is a sparkly purple bandeau and the skirt shimmers with green, purple and silver sequins. She completed the look with an emerald hair accessory, jewel-toned purple eyeshadow, silver and purple shoes, and a coordinating corsage.
— Nakita Davis (@NakitaD73383446) April 24, 2019
Sabrina Brokenborough, who is currently attending the Pratt Institute School of Design, did her own version of the “Pretty in Pink” prom dress for her 2017 prom. Although she has designed many other outfits since then, Brokenborough still loves this dress.
“Of all the things I have made my prom dress will always hold a special place in my heart,” she posted.
Instagrammer @alovxra combined her loves of fashion and cosplay to make this dress for her prom. It took her more than 40 hours to make her dream dress, but she was thrilled with the results, calling her look “a celestial snack.”
“The dress structurally was a challenge,” she posted, “but the fit is amazing and I couldn’t wish for a more perfect dress.”
Sometimes the fabric makes the dress. Ana María Delmar DIYed this stunner. The bright jewel tones and watercolor effect took this prom gown to another level.
— Ana María (@thecouturista) June 14, 2014
That’s the look Titilayo Sampson was going for, and we say she achieved it. Her homemade prom dress consists of two pieces. The lacy halter top and gauzy gown skirt are made for each other.
Some teens can make anything look amazing. In 2011, Redditor CannaK created a simple yet elegant prom gown from T-shirts. She dyed some of the shirts gray and even made a shawl to match.
Black And White
Who says black and white has to be boring? Self-taught designer Zoë Crane created her contrasting prom gown in 2018.
“I got this silky black and white fabric from a market in Oman 6 years ago,” she posted on Instagram. “…very happy I got to use it for my prom dress this year.”
It’s hard to believe a teen made this gorgeous dress on her own. Carson R, who goes by @__Carson___ on Twitter, shared this model-worthy photo shoot displaying her design.
“This is the dress that I made with my own two hands,” she tweeted, “that I’m very proud of.”
Redditor pineyblues drafted her own pattern to make this prom dress. Although it has a velvety appearance, she said it’s actually silk. She worked on it a few hours each day over Spring Break.
Let Them Stare
Yes, a high school student made this couture design. Instagrammer Alaina Colleen Aylward posted her breathtaking dress with the perfect quote from Harry Winston:
“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”
One Of A Kind
Instagrammer @khyah_papaya looks like royalty wearing her DIY prom dress. The brocade-like gold and white top contrasts beautifully with the scarlet skirt. The gold laurel wreath is the perfect accessory.
Charlene510 shared her design on Reddit. She thinks other teens should make their own dresses, too.
“The end result is always rewarding,” she wrote, “and you get to tell all your friends that you made it! You can always have a backup dress incase [sic] something goes wrong.
One of the bonuses of making your own prom dress is that your design can be perfectly tailored to your passions. That’s what S. L. Hutchinson did with her Medieval design. She also went on to marry her prom date.
“Yup, prom was a test,” she tweeted.
#YAGoesToProm I made my own prom medieval inspired prom dress. Did I mention my date and I got married 10 months later? Yup, prom was a test. Will you wear a lavish costume with me? Was an important question any suitor of mine needed to answer. pic.twitter.com/9ai4UxpZw0
— S.L.Hutchinson (@SLHutchinson) April 3, 2019
What do you do when both prom and graduation require a formal gown? You make something amazing, like this fairytale dress by Redditor HelloMyNameIsSamIAm.
“Our grad is kind of like a prom/debutante ball kind of thing,” she wrote. “The beads on the corset took a good four months to do… I’m a little cross-eyed now.”
All That Glitters
Although this dress by Instagrammer @christinasewing was technically for Homecoming, it’s worthy of this list. The iridescent sequins are gorgeous. She even sewed in some fairy lights for extra sparkle and shine.
Twitter user @Malu_Mars designed this divalicious design at least partially to prove a point.
“When ppl said I could never amount to anything,” she tweeted, “but I made my own Prom Dress, did my hair & Makeup”
We think she looks red carpet-ready.
When ppl said I could never amount to anything, but I made my own Prom Dress, did my hair & Makeup..hmmp 👑 pic.twitter.com/wxATXmwkxd
— Char'naeNotLikeDaWine♥️ (@Malu_Mars) May 17, 2015
So Much Beadwork
Redditor izzydipietro55 used a pattern for this dazzling dress. She then proceeded to drape and hand-bead it all.
“It took like 150 hours from draping to beading,” she wrote.
Time well spent, say we!
What’s a girl to do when she simply can’t find the prom dress of her dreams? If that girl is @TainaJoseph, she makes her own. This sheer, sparkling garment looks like it was made for the runway.
The only thing missing from this outfit are the glass slippers. Redditor UkuleleSandwich shared her design, which she made for herself using a vintage dress pattern. The powder blue shades paired with a touch of white make her look like Cinderella preparing to dance with Prince Charming.
Redditor Nadisface made her own pattern for this fashion-forward design. The royal red and contrasting black fabric make it an attention-grabbing look. And if you’re catching a Wonder Woman vibe, she gets it.
“I got a few comments that it looked like a super hero outfit,” she wrote.
Twitter user @tpwkazure made her own black-on-black prom gown. The lace peeking out in the center and on the leg is dazzling, but wasn’t easy to make.
“Ignore the background,” she tweeted, “making this dress has been rough.”
Can you believe Redditor GreyRose made this dress using a sewing machine for the first time? Although the sleeves have an angelic look, she says she got the idea elsewhere.
“We’re big Star Wars fans,” she wrote, “so the pattern of the dress is inspired by Padme’s lake dress. The final version includes gold arm bands that hold up the sleeves but I unfortunately didn’t have them by the time we took the pictures.”
Simple And Sheer
Redditor AllisonVera made her prom dress in just a couple of days and without a pattern.
“I looked at other peoples patterns and pictures of other dresses,” she wrote, “and decided what I should do based on them. The bodice is pleated and the skirt is a circle skirt.”
In The Details
Taylor Calhoun made this drop-dead gorgeous design with her own two hands. The combination of tulle, beadwork and sheer fabric is celeb-worthy.
“My mom saw your dress and was like she killed everyone,” commented one fan on her tweet.
Redditor Yasqueena didn’t need a corsage for homecoming. She had a fetching bouquet of her own in this sweet DIY dress.
“It’s my first time not using a pattern,” she wrote, “so I made it all from scratch. It lights up too! Very proud of it.”
No Sewing Necessary
You might remember @christinasewing’s sparkly homecoming gown mentioned previously, but we just had to include her in this list a second time. If you think you love the fabric she used to make this dress, you’re wrong — because it’s not fabric. She created this lovely design using duct tape.
You can DIY a dress without being a seamstress. Monahsetah Blake created this amazing outfit by creatively upcycling thrifted pieces.
“The pieces I found were thrifted so the skirt was originally like a golden sheer chiffon thing so I hand dyed it and sewed a lining skirt underneath,” she explained in a reply to a comment on her Instagram post. “The bodice was also thrifted and was initially a cream color so that got hand dyed as well. The flowers are faux ones from any craft store and I adhered them with fabric glue/ sewing. I highly recommend you check your local thrift store for pieces or dresses that you could recreate.”
Twitter user @CravingJadaaaa likely made a splash at her prom. She made her own gown in a stunning sapphire with a mermaid-like tail. Don’t miss the embellished, sheer fabric near the bottom. So luxe!
Did I Mention, I Made My Own Prom Dress? 🖤💯 pic.twitter.com/PrPwE65ieO
— Baby Ja’ 🧸 (@CravingJadaaaa) April 24, 2018
A prom dress doesn’t have to be complicated to be exquisite. Redditor Blueasthesea made her classic black gown with no pattern. She didn’t have a ton of experience, either.
“I haven’t been sewing for very long so it was a bit stressful,” she wrote, “but super rewarding to be able to wear what I made to something like prom.”
While not a prom dress, Filipino student Ciara Gan handpainted her own gown for her graduation ball. She and her mom sewed it together after Gan painted it, and the result is stunning.
i made and painted my own gown for my graduation ball! 💚✨
i painted over 80 flowers, sewed + stoned my dress with my mama and designed the whole thing myself! 🧡🌼 pic.twitter.com/fsDwQK1NfD
— ciara (@ciaragan) April 8, 2019