Junior sews own prom dress in a month

Marblehead’s Johra Warab wears her custom made prom dress alongside the owner of Sewing-Fun, Nancy Easterbrooks. Photo by Libby O'Neill

It’s prom season and for many juniors and seniors, finding their dream dress for the memorable experience might be a hassle — but Johra Warab, a junior at Marblehead High School, decided to make her own.

“What made me want to make my own prom dress was because of how unique it could look,” said Warab. “There’s a limited amount of styles in stores and making my own dress meant that I could design it however I wanted, use whatever fabric or colors I wanted. I can add special details to it and can even recreate unique looks from the web.”

When Warab was learning how to sew at Sewing-Fun on Bessom Street, owner Nancy Easterbrook suggested she make her own custom dress.

Since then, it has taken Warab and Easterbrook about a month, from preparation to design and finally to the end result — just in time for prom.

“The most enjoyable part of the process was creating my own design,” said Warab. “I liked using my creativity.”

“The most challenging part was having to resize the dress,” she added. “I had to constantly try it on to see what changes need to get done, it was always stressful having to redo some parts of the dress in order for it to fit.”

The price of a prom dress ranges anywhere from as low as $50 to thousands of dollars. Warab’s dress, which appeared to be simple yet elegant with added beadwork, cost $395 — which is the cost of 10 sewing classes, each an hour-and-a-half in length.

“If you get a simple enough pattern and the measurements work for you, there is not much you can mess up if you can sew,” said Easterbrook.

According to Easterbrook, students who make their own prom gowns feel that the most gratifying experiences are when they complete each task, having it come out the right way, and the end result.

“They feel like they really accomplished something. Something that they never thought they could, especially with Johra,” said Easterbrook. “When you teach kids how to sew it’s about building their confidence.”

For Warab, the end result looked almost exactly how she wanted it. The only difference between what she had in mind and how it turned out was the size of the pearl beads.

“Working with Nancy was amazing. She helped me a lot as this was the first dress I’d ever made. She’s very nice and I had fun making the dress with her help,” said Warab.

“I most definitely would do the process all over again. I hope to make my dress for my senior prom next year,” she added.