This Teen Designer Makes Gorgeous Prom Dresses for Herself and 6 Friends

Maggie McGlenn designed seven prom dresses this year. (Photo: Instagram/maggiemcglenn)

Some teens find prom-dress shopping to be time-consuming and stressful. Six friends at Madison East High School in Wisconsin opted out of that process and put their trust in their talented classmate, Maggie McGlenn.

McGlenn, a junior at the high school, developed the idea to design her friends’ dresses after receiving some fabric from her grandmother.

“My grandma gave me a few yards of beautiful fabric for Christmas, and I just started to make a dress,” she tells Yahoo Style. “When I was done with the dress, it looked like a prom dress to me. It wasn’t the prom dress I had in mind for myself, so I thought I could maybe get one of my friends to wear it. I had such a great time making it that I thought to myself, ‘I might as well keep going.'”


McGlenn learned to sew in sixth grade, and she’s been making clothes ever since. As a result, she was more than capable of creating unique designs for her friends. However, in order to make the dresses for free, her friends had to follow a few of her rules.

“I wouldn’t make them pay, but I would also get to have final say over the dresses,” she says. “I kept my friends in mind as I made them, but I had free rein over the designs. Each one of the dresses is a mixture of the girl’s style and my own, but usually they didn’t see the dresses until the dresses were pretty much done. When I would get stuck on a dress or certain design element, I would ask my friends for advice. I have amazing friends who inspire me in many different ways, which definitely influenced the design of the dresses.”


Luckily, McGlenn has collected fabric from thrift stores over the years, so she had plenty of material to work with. Although she didn’t ask for payment, some of her friends showed their appreciation in other ways.

“One girl gave me a concert ticket in exchange for the dress; another gave me some money to buy the ribbons and zipper for her dress; another gave me two boxes of old sewing notions from her grandma,” she says.

To make the seven dresses — McGlenn made her own as well — she started working during winter break, in the middle of December. The prom creations weren’t all finished until the morning of the big dance on April 27, 2017.


Her friends’ reactions to their custom prom dresses? “They loved them! They did get to see them before prom to get fitted, and each time they saw the dresses they would get more and more excited,” she says.

Although McGlenn doesn’t plan to pursue fashion in college, she says that she will continue to design and sew.

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