I’ve been dreaming of making my own prom dress for as long as I can remember, and I’m so happy with the final result. I thought that I would share it with you all! I want to preface by saying that this isn’t necessarily a tutorial. I didn’t take pictures of each part of the process, but I just wanted to share how I made this dress. All of the pictures that I took of the process were taken on my phone, so I apologize in advance for the lower quality pictures!
3 yards of floral embroidered tulle fabric
2 yards of cosplay stretch fabric
1 yard of tulle
4 bunches of faux flowers
1 invisible zipper
1 roll of ¼” organdy ribbon in red (for corset detailing)
1 roll of ⅞” organdy ribbon in red (for straps)
I started out with thrifting a corset top from Goodwill that fit me perfectly. I undid all of the seams until I had the different pieces that made up the corset and pinned them to the red tulle, which I doubled so it wasn’t too sheer. Then, I carefully cut the pieces and reconstructed the corset. I used two layers of plain red tulle for the front, and the embroidered tulle for the back.
I removed all of the flowers from the faux flower bouquets and separated them from the plastic stems. I sorted them into piles of large and small flowers. I took the small flowers and bunched them in the center to create a more 3D effect and sewed it to secure the shape. Then, I attached them to the larger flowers which were laid flat, and attached these layered flowers to the bust of the corset. I also added these layered flowers to the back of the corset, onto the embroidered areas of the floral tulle. Each flower was sewn on individually.
Later, I went back in and added embroidered tulle to the side areas of the corset. After that, I carefully sewed ¼” red organdy ribbon over the seams of the corset and along the edge. Then, I took a long piece of cosplay fabric and measured it to be 1.5 inches wide, sewing it into a band that would later connect the corset with the skirt. I attached the ⅞” organdy ribbon for the straps. Then, I carefully attached the invisible zipper to the finished corset.
I wish I took more pictures during this part of the process! I ended up making two under layers for the skirt —one short, and one long (because I couldn’t decide what I wanted the dress to look like)! I ended up going with the long layer for a more formal look. Unfortunately, I only have pictures of me making the short layers of the skirt, but they both were made using generally the same process. I found a denim skirt that fit me well (I chose denim because there is minimal stretch in the fabric) and traced the top outline of the denim skirt to create the front of the dress’ skirt, extending the bottom downward to make the dress’ skirt longer. I repeated the same process to create the back of the skirt, but added an extra inch of width on the top fourth of the back, which I later folded and pinned. That area is where I would later attach the zipper of the dress. Then, I sewed together the sides about a third of the way down the skirt, so there were deep side slits along each side.
I added the sheer floral layer of the dress. I cut the fabric to fit to the waist of the underskirt and tapered it so that the bottom used almost the full 3 yards of fabric, since I wanted it to be as full as possible. I tried to use a sewing machine on this part because there was so much fabric, but the tulle was so slippery that my sewing machine couldn’t manage it. So, I ended up doing everything by hand. I used embroidery thread to sew this part because the material was so thick and heavy.
After that, I attached the zipper and started on the floral detailing along the bottom of the dress. I followed the same process I did with the corset to make the flowers. It took about 6 hours to line the bottom with several layers of red flowers because there was so much fabric.
To make the train, I cut the remainder of the red tulle in half, then cut those halves into three long triangles. I layered these long triangle-shaped pieces over each other and sewed them onto the back of the straps. This was a last minute addition to my dress, but it ended up being one of my favorite parts about it because it flows so beautifully when I move.
THE FINISHED DRESS
Total cost: ~$57 (most of the fabric I used was on sale at JoAnn’s which cut costs significantly!)
Total time spent: ~45 hours( over the course of three weeks)
The process was tedious and time consuming, but well worth it. And though it’s not perfect, it’s my dream dress nonetheless.
Here are some pictures of the finished dress! We headed to Chris Burden’s Urban Light exhibit at LACMA to give this dress the photoshoot it deserved. Although we made it look like an empty night, there were quite a few people there around 8 pm. After squatting and lying on the ground awkwardly amongst groups of people staring, amateur directing, and hours of photo editing, I’m so happy to have given my sister senior prom photos that she deserved. I think everyone deserves to feel like a queen at least once in their lives and this was definitely a reigning moment. Enjoy!