We’ve just past prom season for this year, but if you ask us, it’s never too early to start thinking about what you’re going to wear during next year’s celebrations! Shopping for prom dresses is an exciting experience, but it certainly takes a lot of time and effort and it can also be rather expensive. If you go to the kind of school that celebrates prom with all of the grades together, rather than just the graduating year, then you’ll also likely have to buy more than one prom dress throughout your high school career! When we were still in school, we attended four proms and after the second store bought dress, we decided to save some money and get a more unique look by getting a little bit crafty.
Check out these 15 totally awesome DIY prom dress ideas that will have you thrifting, altering, and putting all of your different crafty skills to good use! If you start searching for base pieces and thinking about your designs now, you’ll have plenty of time to really perfect the look before next year.
1. Wrap dress from a maxi skirt and fabric
Have you recently discovered the wonders of draping and beautiful wrap clothing and now that’s all you want to make yourself because you can’t believe how stunning some of the garments are that result from such a straight forward technique? Then we think you’ll love this look features on SMS Fun! Because you’re going to wear the dress out for a full night you will, of course, have to put a few stitches in to really keep things in place, but overall this dress was created by wrapping, pinching, and stitching in a few key places to really get a flattering, form fitting silhouette.
2. Faux fish scale dress
Is your personal style a little more unique and wild than the average prom goer, making it hard to find something that really grabs your attention in stores? Then maybe you’ll appreciate something closer to this awesomely textured fish scale inspired dress from Nasim Handmades! They walk you through the process of fitting the design, working with the fabric, and putting a cool mesh neckline in for detail.
3. DIY floor length infinity dress
Infinity dresses are an amazing trend because they’re so versatile and can be worn so many different ways. We love the fact that simply adjusting the straps and tying them in a different direction or at a slightly different angle can change the whole look! Buying infinity dresses can be expensive, however, because many brand names know just how versatile and worthwhile the garment they’re selling is. Instead of spending so much money on one dress, try making your own for less! Diary of a Mad Crafter shows you step by step how to make yourself a dress that will give you plenty of looks in one place, making it the kind of garment you don’t have to feel guilty about wearing again.
4. DIY A-line length prom gown
Perhaps you found a dress at the thrift store that you love the colour and material of, but you wish it had a little more visual detail rather than just hanging straight to the floor? In that case, this tutorial from Gigithenecko might be the best choice for you! They show you how to mimic the beautiful front to back A-line skirts you might have seen in stores, pairing it with a simple strapless sweetheart neck to really make the skirt the focus of the project.
5. Multi-layered rainbow petticoat dress
This design might have been written for a wedding dress originally, but we’re so in love with the idea that we can’t help suggesting it for prom dresses too! If you’ve found a dress that you quite enjoy the bodice of but you wish the skirt was just a touch more full, then you need to check out how Rock n’ Roll Bride solved that problem and added a pop of colour for extra personality! They guide you through the process of creating a beautiful layered tulle effect underneath the skirt so the colours peek out from beneath the main layer as you move.
6. DIY ombre dyed dress
Here’s another bridal idea that we think would work just as well to make yourself a pretty customized prom dress! Perhaps you already have a dress that you wore to another prom and you don’t want to wear exactly the same thing, or you found one at a thrift shop that fit you perfectly but you find it a little bit plain? Bespoke Bride suggests solving things like that by trying your hand at dip dying! We love the way they created a sort of purple-blue ombre by dipping the hem of a white dress into the dye mixture and letting the fabric absorb the colour upwards until it fades out.
7. Silk skirt dresses with chiffon overlays from scratch
Are you a bit more experienced in your sewing skills and looking for a design that you can make entirely from scratch yourself? Then you might enjoy one of these designs from Yumi King instead! Their tutorial walks you through the steps of making and fitting a simple gown to your body, but also sewing in a lovely chiffon overlay on top of the silk skirt for a pretty layered effect. Even if you’re working with a dress that you already own rather than making one from scratch, this tutorial will help you get the look because you’ll only have to alter a few steps to make it work for your dress instead.
8. Card flower embellished dress
Are you an avid crafter or scrapbooking enthusiast who just loves nothing more than getting out the scissors and décor paper and creating things with your bare hands? Well, you wouldn’t think those things necessarily go hand in hand with clothing alteration, but Bespoke Bride is here to show you how it actually can! We love their unique idea of cutting out layered, brightly coloured card flowers and stitching them all across a dress that you’ve made or already own. The difference in texture it creates will be a totally unique look at your prom!
9. Light up fairy princess dress
Maybe you’ve been scrolling through this list looking for something very unique that will challenge your DIY skills and really set you apart from the crowd at your graduation ball? In that case, we think you’ll agree that your look will be unparalleled if you take the concept of a “happy glow” very literally and actually add lights to your dress! We can’t get over how stunning this fairy inspired gown from A Designer Life is. You’ll look like an actual childhood dream come true walking into the party.
10. Carrie Bradshaw replica dress
Has your personal style always been a little more understated while still remaining chic, so you’ve been browsing our list looking for something that’s more subtle but not quite casual? In that case, recreating an iconic outfit from pop culture might be the best way to get the look you’re aiming for! Check out how Trash to Couture remade the pretty ballerina-like dress that Carrie Bradshaw was famously pictures wearing in Sex and The City. You’ll have a blast seeing how many people catch your references throughout the night!
11. Tulle maxi skirt
We’ve talked a little bit about tulle skirts, but what if you love the idea of a tutu-inspired look that you’d actually like to make a whole floor length skirt from tulle to make a ballet-like gown instead? Then you’re going to love this beautiful skirt tutorial from Nadira037! Whether you custom make yourself a top to go with this look or buy one that matches the colour you choose, this skirt tutorial will help you make a full skirt that you can be proud of and feel your best in all night long.
12. Pretty beaded straps tutorial
Perhaps you already have your dress ready to go but the more you look at it, the more you wonder whether it might benefit from just a few more sparkles, sequins, and beads? If you ask us, there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of flash and fancy to a dress, just for good measure! Sewing Parts Online shows you in detail how to get the look by embellishing the straps of your dress using whatever sparkly supplies you please.
13. Vintage prom dress upcycle
Just in case you’re looking for a little bit of vintage revival inspiration, here’s a stunning upcycling story from The View From in Here! They made a few style alterations and sizing changes to a dress from the 1970s, turning it into a more contemporarily styled gown that made the perfect look at a modern prom.
14. Prom gown into short dress
Maybe the last time you wore particular dress long gowns were all the rage but now shorter styles have resurged and become more trendy? Perhaps you found a pretty dress out at a vintage store but the bottom is a little bit damaged so you’re looking for a solution for that part? In that case, you might appreciate how simply this tutorial from Burda Style shortens a long skirt into a cute, bouncy waffled skirt instead. Those layers might look a little bit intimidating for some beginners, but it’s actually a lot easier to make this look than you might think!
15. 80s lace dress into elegant party dress
Few things give us more joy than finding amazingly gaudy 80s prom dresses in thrift stores or family members’ closets and remembering how flashy the styles were just a few decades ago. The best part about finding a good 80s prom dress, however, is the fact that you’ve just gotten your hands on a gold mine for upcycling vintage fashion! This amazing lace piece from Craftster is the perfect example of what we mean. We can’t get over how cute their shortened version of this pink fantasy is!
Have you refashioned old prom dresses or made yourself a prom gown from scratch before in ways that you don’t see on our list? Tell us all about how you did it in the comments! Perhaps you know a friend who’s having trouble finding a dress they like and you think they’d have better luck making one themselves? Give this post a share to help out!