- Caitlin Trantham needed a gown for the 2021 Marine Corps Ball.
- Trantham turned a $US20 ($AU28) wedding dress from a thrift shop into a one-of-a-kind red ball gown.
- She told Insider that it took her about 12 hours and she spent less than $US100 ($AU140).
About eight years ago, she taught herself how to sew and started making blankets. She then decided to put her skills to the test by transforming thrift-store finds.
In November, Trantham shared in a TikTok video that she planned to transform a $US20 ($AU28) wedding dress from a thrift store into a red gown for the Marine Corps Ball in December.
Trantham’s TikTok video had over 1.7 million views at the time of writing. She has also shared three more videos showing off her progress and the final look.
Since the upcoming Marine Corps Ball was going to be Trantham’s 11th time attending, she wanted to wear something that was really special and unique. Originally, she was looking to buy a ’60s siren dress but couldn’t find any online, which is why she decided to make her own.
“I already had a pattern in mind and thought I could just modify the pattern of the wedding dress to fit my vision,” she said.
“Seeing the dye go from pink to the color that was really wanted was very satisfying,” she said. “I was ready to throw in the towel because it was so much work, but the color turned out so great.”
In total, she estimates she spent about $US72 ($AU101) — $US22 ($AU31) on the dress and $US50 ($AU70) for dye — and that doesn’t include the “blood, sweat, and tears because that’s priceless,” she said.
“I have a knack for just picking projects that I don’t think are going to be tedious,” she told Insider. “But they end up being tedious, and I’m persistent, so I can’t let it go until it’s done.”
Still, Trantham was happy with the finished product.
“I’m really happy with how it turned out,” Trantham said of the dress. “Is it perfect? No. Is it 100% what I envisioned? Also no. But it was a project that challenged me in so many ways, and that alone was worth all the effort.”