How to Make Your Own Prom Dress for Cheap

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Making your own prom dress can not only save money but also help reflect your personal style.
Making your own prom dress can not only save money but also help reflect your personal style. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Prom season brings out gowns, dresses and couture that can cost a lot of money. The fact that most teenage girls attending a prom have limited funds oftentimes requires getting creative in securing a prom gown. You can construct your own one-of-a-kind prom dress by starting with a basic design and embellishing the dress to suit your own personal style. Get started on your dress at least a few weeks before your prom to allow plenty of time to make any changes and tweaks necessary to achieve the dress of your dreams.

Things You'll Need

  • White paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Plain white or cream dress
  • Rhinestones, sequins, beads and other jewels
  • Hot glue gun
  • Lace
  • Satin
  • Ribbons
  • Bows
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread (same color as dress)

Purchase a white or cream dress that fits. Try to find a dress that doesn't need alternations. Opt for a sheath style dress or a fitted bodice. Choose a dress with spaghetti straps or a sleeveless version. Make sure that the dress doesn't have any designs, pattern or texture to the material and that it's a solid color.

Draw the outline of the dress on a piece of white paper. Mark the dress outline with colored pencils to illustrate where you envision embellishments on the dress. Start at the top of the dress and work your way down. Decide on the secondary color or color scheme of your dress. For example, if you prefer shades of purple, design your dress with hues of deep purple, lilac, lavender and cornflower blue when selecting the added touches you will add to the dress.

Add rhinestone trim that lines the straps of the dress. Use clear crystals or colored stones to create a unique look. Consider alternating crystal colors along the sleeves to add pops of color. Save samples of each color crystal used if you begin to run out so that you can purchase more for use elsewhere on the dress. Attach the rhinestones by either hot gluing the stones directly to the material or by gluing the stones to a thin strip of ribbon and then sewing the rhinestone trimmed ribbon to the straps.

Decorate the neckline of the dress. Use a hot glue run to attach the same embellishments as used on the straps or sleeves to create a unified look to the top portion of the dress. Make sure to use as many crystals as you can fit so that the dress shimmers in the light. Turn the dress around and decorate the top line of the dress as well.

Use the same crystals to dot the bodice of the dress with random bursts of color. Use a hot glue gun to attach the crystals. Attaching crystals with random bursts of color will work well during the prom when the lights are shining because color will reflect off all areas of the dress. Consider adding a satin sash to the dress or a simple bow to the back to give the dress a fitted appearance. For the purple theme idea, use a sash or bow in a color that matches one of the crystals or jewels used on the dress thus far.

Trim the entire bottom hem of the dress in the same way as you did the top of the dress by gluing on the stones with either a hot glue gun or by gluing the stones to a strip of material and then sewing that strip along the hem. Use as many items as you have and make sure everything is secured tightly to the dress before trying on. Try on the dress and view the front and back in a full length mirror to make sure the dress turned out as expected. Have another person look the dress over as well to make sure it has been decorated thoroughly.

Consider making your own accessories to match the dress. Use a hot glue gun to attach crystal or beads to solid white heels for a matching pair of footwear. Decorate a plain white or black purse with similar items and use the same design idea to create a headband or barrette to hold your hair in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never hot glue items to the dress while you are wearing it.

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