Teens are making their own prom dresses—and they are amazing

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.


Deep Purple

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.

Pink Sparkle

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.”


Watercolor Beauty

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.

Egyptian Goddess

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.


Prom T-Shirt

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.

My senior project from 2011: t-shirt prom dress. from sewing

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.”


Dreamy Dress

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.”


Draping Crimson

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.

Wanted to share my prom dress I sewed for myself last year! from sewing

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.


Rewarding Results

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.

Made this dress for prom! from sewing

Medieval Inspiration

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.

Prom Fairy

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.”

I made my own grad/prom dress. How did I do? [Picture] from teenagers

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.


DIY Diva

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.

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!

DIY prom dress from pattern to hand beading from sewing

No Settling

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.


Vintage Princess

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.

[ Vogue 8723 ] Made my Prom dress again! This time from a vintage reprint from sewing

Modern Majesty

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.

From when I made my prom dress (self drafted) from sewing

Peekaboo Lace

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.”


Dark Angel

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.”

[Self drafted] This was my first time using a sewing machine but with the help of my talented boyfriend, I sewed my own prom dress! Tips for future projects appreciated from sewing

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.”

[No pattern] I finished making my prom dress, the fabric was a little shear but I still love it from sewing

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.


Garden Gown

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.”

Made My Own Homecoming Dress from sewing

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.


Upcycled Pieces

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.”


Blue Mermaid

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!

Impressive Elegance

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.”

Made my own Prom dress! [No pattern] from sewing

Painted Beauty

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.


DIY & Improvement, Good News, Home, Style & Beauty

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About the Author
Tricia Goss
Tricia Goss is a Texas-based writer and editor with nearly two decades of experience. She is passionate about helping readers improve their skills, gain knowledge and attain more happiness in life. When she’s not working, Tricia enjoys traveling with her husband and their dog, especially to visit their five grandchildren.

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