Prom season is upon us, and the race is on to find the perfect dress.
Mikayla Lewis, 18, was prepared to go the traditional route to find a gown for the senior prom: either shop online or head to the nearest department store. But it was the vision of her little sister, who dreamed her up a truly unique dress, that helped her turn heads at the end-of-year dance.
Lewis’ 14-year-old sister, Courtney Lewis, attends art school and jumped at the chance to make her big sister the perfect dress. Her pleas initially went in one ear and out the other, however.
“Courtney has always been interested in the arts,” the girls’ mother, Crystal Lewis, told Yahoo Lifestyle in an interview. “She attended a performing arts middle school as a theater major, and she’s done makeup for a mega-church theater production. So it was no surprise Courtney would ask to take on the task of making her sister’s dress.”
Crystal Lewis admitted she was worried at first, considering her daughter’s lack of experience in dressmaking.
“Courtney had only made a few pillows and skirts prior to the dress,” she explained.
It was not until the young designer created the first sketches in November that her family saw her potential and took her efforts seriously, according to the outlet. That’s when Courtney and sister Mikayla began collaborating, feeding each other ideas of what the gown should look like.
“Courtney first sat with Mikayla and looked at different types of dresses that Mikayla liked,” Crystal Lews said. “She wanted to get a sense of what style appealed to Mikayla. They went through several rough drafts [of the sketch] before they finalized one.”
Courtney also got some help from her cousin, Syreeta, who owns her own clothing line called Syreeta C Fashion. Although Syreeta helped coach the novice dressmaker through the process, the teen’s mother said the dress was all Courtney. Crystal Lewis said she was only around for motivation, transportation and to pick up supplies when needed.
For Courtney, the most difficult part was understanding how to work with the sequined fabric on the dress, which isn’t the easiest to sew and takes a lot of patience, her mother told Chicago’s FOX 32.
The process was put on pause, however, when little Courtney was admitted to a hospital to be treated for her Type 1 diabetes. Still, she didn’t let the hospital stay keep her down and persevered get the dress finished in time for her sister’s April 26 dance.
“The dress came out more beautiful than I could have imagined,” Crystal Lewis told Yahoo Lifestyle. “We had about 25 people at our house on prom night and when Mikayla walked up the steps, the family screamed in excitement.”
“We think her date was even taken aback,” she added, admitting that she, too, got a bit emotional.
Mikayala, who is described as quiet and reserved, said she “felt like a princess” when she finally put on the finished dress. She couldn’t stop smiling, her mom said.
Courtney’s creation has already gotten her tons of praise from folks who’ve seen it online, and her mother says the 14-year-old is already dreaming up her next project.
“Have faith in your ability! Don’t let anyone dictate the outcome of your journey and destiny,” Crystal Lewis wrote on Instagram.
See more photos below.
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My 14 year old daughter tells people that she wants to design doll clothes when she grows up. People look at her funny because it seems like an odd career choice. But I know my child, she'll design doll clothes and she's going to be great at it. She told us she was going to create her sisters prom dress and I looked at her funny! That's a major event. I even saved money to the side, for just in case. And then I decided to have faith in her ability and used the money for something else. The video highlights the journey. Have faith in your ability! Don't let anyone dictate the outcome of your journey and destiny because it sounds odd to them. Dress: Courtney Lewis (with help from @syreetacfashion) Make Up: @tattedupmommy Hair: @1stladydw_ 📸: @eitb_blog