Formal dresses can cost hundreds of dollars. When inexpensive dresses can be found, you run the risk of having the same dress as someone else. You can, however, avoid both expense and embarrassment by making your own dress. You don’t need special skills to make this dress, you only need to be able to sew a straight line on a sewing machine. Use your home made dress for the prom, for weddings as a guest, the bride, or the bridesmaid, or for any formal occasion that should arrive. In my case, I made this dress to create a period gown for a play.
Search for a inexpensive shirt or blouse. A store bought shirt will be the base of your easy formal dress design. Go to a discount store and search for a stretchy top that can by lacy, or velvet, short sleeved, or long sleeved. Just find something you love that fits your upper body closely. Look for an interesting neckline cut, or perhaps something that comes off the shoulders. This is an excellent method for modest girls as they can look for something that will cover their upper body to their modesty specifications. Be careful when choosing your top to choose a classic color because you will need to purchase fabric to match it.
Purchase fabric to match the shirt. Charmeuse Satin fabric is preferable because it is machine washable and easy to handle with a sewing machine. It is also satin on one side and flat on the other, giving your more options on using it. Choose a color to match your top.
Make a circle skirt with your fabric. The circle skirt has got to be the easiest type of skirt to make, either with or without a pattern. If you need a pattern, look for a poodle skirt pattern. Based on the length of dress you want, you can make your skirt longer or shorter. In my case, I went longer to get a floor length skirt. When deciding on the length of the skirt, you must determine where the skirt will start. This depends on the body type. For a long, lean girl, the skirt rest just above the hip, for a low rise look. Measure from this point to the floor plus add two inches for hem and waist band. For a more curvy girl, measure from the smallest part of the waist for the best silhouette. So basically, you are putting the waist band at the most flattering point for your body type.
Embellish your formal dress. Use lace, sequin trim, gems, and/or sew-on pearls to customize your dress. In the photograph, you can see that in this simple black velvet and satin set, while lace is being used to take the dress from a shirt and top look into a cohesive dress. Whatever trim you use to decorate the top, also use it in skirt to tie the two pieces together. if you are adding a delicate lace at the neckline of the dress, also add it to the hem of the skirt. Also, experiment with crinolines, and consider uneven hemlines to make your dress more custom.
Finally, add a wide sash with a bow to the waistline in a matching or contrasting color. You can use a simple delicate sash attached at the waist or wear a or a wide satin sash wrapped around twice, Kimono style, high on the waist. Also, depending on the length of the top you can tuck it in, or wear it over the waistband of the skirt. Play around with it to see what you like best.
By using a top or blouse of your choice, and then making a simple skirt to match it, you can create the basics of a dress with endless possibilities. For a prom, you will surely stand out as unique. As a bride, you can see how this technique will allow you to have all of the bridesmaid dresses be uniform, while allowing each woman to make a choice that will suit her style and figure.