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DIY Prom Dress From Scratch

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

Design, draft, and sew the perfectly fitting custom prom dress of your dreams!

If you are like me, and have a Pinterest board full of formal event dresses, you know that

you won't settle for anything less than perfect. Searching at department stores was no use because the styles were so limited, and looking through online prom shops was hopeless, because with my body type, I have to try things on to ensure a proper fit. Finding clothes to fit my chest is difficult enough, and finding ones that fit both my large upper half and small lower half is nearly impossible. Not to mention, a friend in a grade above me mentioned that she had spent over $1000 on her prom experience, which I vowed never to do.

How to get a prom dress that is fully customizable, perfectly fitted, and for an unbeatable price? Make your own, of course!

I wish I could give you all a detailed tutorial with pictures of the process, but unfortunately, I made this dress over a year ago and wasn't planning on making a tutorial at the time. However, I can give you an overview of my process and tips on customizing your own dress!

One of the most challenging parts of this project was the material selection.

I wanted something shiny but not tacky, opaque but not heavy, sturdy while still able to drape, and not too difficult to sew. Sounds like impossible standards, right? Well with the right fabric knowledge, it doesn't have to be!

I decided that my dress should not be 100% shiny because it might end up looking tacky, or more like lingerie. So I decided to use rose jacquard fabric for the top, which has a matte background with shiny little rose motifs that catch the light. This type of fabric is also fairly thin and lightweight, despite its perfect opacity. This is important for a top that is almost strapless, since you don't want it sliding off while dancing!

I didn't mind overwhelming shine or heaviness for the bottom part, since it would drape nicely to create contrasting shadows, and my hips would easily support the weight of the skirt. I was very worried, however, about drooping. Since I was making a circle skirt, the fabric would stretch out more along the sections where the bias was vertical. A non-stretchy fabric like crepe-back satin will minimize this elongation, but still has a famously gorgeous drape. Rather than selecting slipper satin or another variety, I chose crepe-back since it would slip less on the sewing machine and reduce stitching errors.

I purchased these two fabrics on Amazon from Ben Textiles. The top was made from 1 yard of Silver Rose Satin Jacquard Fabric, while I used 2 yards of Silver Crepe Back Satin for the skirt. I would highly recommend this company for satin and jacquard because I have purchased similar fabrics from other companies since, but nothing I received has compared to the quality of these. They looked expensive, felt slinky, not stiff, and the price is wonderful! However, these fabrics were purchased over a year ago, and recent reviews seem less positive than what I experienced. I would recommend purchasing a sample of the fabric first before buying the full length in case the quality has decreased this past year. The boning, which is what allows the bodice to stand upright and hold its shape, was Dritz Featherlite Boning, which came with a casing that proved to be very useful (more on that later).

To help you select your fabric, I created a fabric graph, separated into shiny and matte finishes.




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