Fairmont junior has a passion for fashion


Photo: Illustration by Lily Condron

Courtney Carpenter is shown wearing the dress she designed for Homecoming 2013. Also pictured are some of her designs she plans to create in the future.

It’s not unusual for a teen girl to spend hundreds of dollars on a special dress for a big dance like Homecoming or Prom. And even then, she runs the risk of seeing other girls in the same dress on the big night.

Fairmont junior Courtney Carpenter didn’t want to let that happen, so she made her own dress for Homecoming this year. And by doing so, she not only saved a bunch of money, she also got recognized by a major online teen magazine.

“I really wanted to be original and have my own dress for Homecoming this year, so I found a simple pattern and got to work,” said Carpenter, who also has begun designing her own dresses.

Carpenter said making her Homecoming dress took close to 18 hours, but only cost about $90 in supplies. She used a pattern from Simplicity’s website and customized the dress, which was made of polyester satin in a color called “flamingo.”

So far, Carpenter has only entered her creation into one online contest, but she plans to enter her dress into the county and/or state fair next spring.

Carpenter entered her dress in Teen Vogue magazine’s national dressmaking competition and won 4th place. Better yet, she and her dress were featured in Teen Vogue’s online magazine. “I’ve never won anything for my sewing before,” she said. “This was more of a really cool recognition than anything. It was really cool to see my dress on the website.”

The Fairmont student takes sewing lessons from Sew Dayton in the Oregon District and says she’s also learning more about sewing from blogs and Pinterest

Carpenter says she has been sewing with her grandmother since she was really young, and she made her first dress in the eighth grade. “I cannot even begin to count the number of quilts and pillows I’ve made,” she said. Carpenter has only made two dresses, but has designed many more and is currently starting her prom dress for this year.

Carpenter still sews on the machine her grandmother taught her to use when she first started. From these humble beginnings, Carpenter hopes to fashion her future.

“I eventually want to own my own company and be able to design and run a business altogether,” she said.