Last month, Grade 11 student Julia Guertin attended Fort Frances High School’s prom sporting a professional-quality homemade grad dress.
When her boyfriend Evan Haglin invited her to prom, she started dress shopping. She was drawn to certain aspects of different dresses, but none of them were exactly what she wanted. So she decided to make her own, combining all the features she liked.
Though Guertin has made about seven dresses in total, her homemade grad dress was the first one she’d worn. Her time spent on a dress really depends — she said her most recent design took three days, while the prom dress took about two months.
“It’s a lot fancier than what I was normally making. I think it turned out really well,” she said. “It’s a dress I knew I was going to get a lot of pictures in, so I wanted it to be perfect.”
At prom, a few of her friends were very excited to see the finished product. Guertin had shown them snippets of the dress, but that was the first time they’d seen the full thing.
She also made her boyfriend’s pocket square, tie, boutonniere, and her own corsage.
Guertin said her favourite part about the process was getting to try the dress on for the first time, and seeing her parents’ reaction. She said her dad stood with his mouth open, and her mom sat there crying.
Guertin said she learned to sew a few years ago, mainly quilting with her grandma and mom. She found out she enjoyed dress design more.
She’d wanted a dress form for a while, and this Christmas, she finally got one. That’s when she started making dresses.
Guertin said she gets her material across the border, from Hobby Lobby or JOANN. She uses satin and tulle to make her dresses.
Guertin made her prom dress in a way that she can remove the tulle and have it be a more form-fitting dress, so she can essentially have two dresses in one. Though she’s not sure what yet, she can easily use it for something else if she wants to.
She said she plans to make another prom dress when she graduates next year.