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Making Regina King's Emmys Dress for Under $20

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

I've been wanting to recreate a red carpet look for a while now, and I had a blast tackling Regina King's gorgeous Emmys dress in this budget-friendly DIY project! Here's how I made Regina King's 2020 Emmys dress for less than $20 (and right in time for Halloween season). This is definitely a costume that will turn heads. Enjoy!

Gather Materials

  • Graduation gown ($12.99 at my local Goodwill thrift store)

  • Craft rhinestones (from the 99cents Only Store)

  • Sewing machine

  • Fabric scissors

  • Sewing clips

  • Hot glue gun

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Step 1: Cut Dress Pieces

First, cut the sleeves and top from the graduation gown to create a strapless dress base. Then cut the bottom of the dress to create a high-low effect.

Next, cut two long strips about 2 inches wide each from the excess fabric, but be sure to leave the sleeves in tact for the poof later. The strips will be attached to the sides of the dress to create a belt effect that will tie in the back and cinch the waist of the dress.

Step 2: Assemble & Sew

Once your pieces are cut, assemble them into the dress form. I don't have a dress form so I did this while wearing the pieces.

Then sew the pieces together.

Step 3: Create the Poof

One of the most notable features of Regina's dress is the large fabric poof that seemingly floats near her shoulder. To create this, I sewed both sleeves together to create a large tube shape, then I stuffed it with plastic bags.

After that, I bent a wire hanger into a curved shape and inserted into the sleeves tube to help keep the curved form in place.

In hindsight, I probably would have used a piece of cardboard or poster board instead of the wire hanger to keep the poof in shape and upright.

Step 4: Add Embellishments to Poof

Once the poof shape is created, hot glue the 99cents store rhinestones onto the fabric. For variety, I used different shapes to create the look of flowers with some of the jewels.

Step 5: Attach Poof to Dress

You can either sew the poof onto the dress or hot glue it on (I used hot glue). As mentioned, I don't currently have a dress form so this part was easiest to do while wearing the dress to make sure everything was being attached in the right places.

Step 6: Create Puffy Pillow Effect

To create the puffy pillow effect of Regina's dress, I glued more plastic bags to the hemline of the dress in the front, tucking the fabric underneath the bags to make sure everything stayed in place.

Step 7: Embellish the Dress

Lastly, glue the rhinestones onto the dress in a similar pattern as the poof for consistency. The bling really makes a huge difference!

All done!

That's it! For under $20, I now have a beautiful replica of Regina King's stunning red carpet look for a teeny fraction of the cost. Upcycling doesn't get much more fun than this! Thank you so much for checking out this project. :)

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