Finding the perfect dress for prom is one of the most exciting and challenging moments in a teenage girl’s life.
In February 2019, months before the prom, Pendleton Heights senior Adrianna Rust found her dream dress. But when she checked the price tag, she knew there was no way an Indiana teen like her could afford it.
As much as she wanted to wear that gown for the special day, Addi, as her friends call her, knew she’d have to make do with something else cheaper. But luckily for her, she had a talented best friend who came to her rescue.
In one of their conversations, Addi jokingly suggested that her best friend and prom date, Parker Keith Smith, should make her prom dress. The pair laughed about it, but after thinking it over, Parker felt like he was up for the challenge. Never mind the fact that he had never sewed a stitch in his life.
“You know what, I think I could actually make your prom dress,” he told Addi.
Parker was naturally creative, as evidenced by his love of theater and drawing. He wanted to make Addi the perfect dress, so he immediately got to work and sketched up a design from scratch. With the help of his grandmother, the teen learned how to operate a sewing machine.
Parker spent months making the dress, even making last-minute changes the night before prom.
“I’m such a perfectionist that I was up adding more stones to the dress even the night before prom,” he said.
Even though Addi was involved through all the stages of its creation, she still got emotional upon seeing the finished product.
When Addi wore the stunning Cinderella-inspired masterpiece, she felt like an actual princess. Her prom dress turned out to be so much better than the one she saw months ago! And the fact that her own best friend created it made the stunning blue gown all the more special.
Addi took to Twitter to show how proud she was of Parker’s beautiful creation.
“Taking a minute to brag on this man because I think this is the coolest thing that I’ve ever been a part of,” she wrote in May 2019. “Parker MADE my prom dress. Straight from scratch did the whole thing and I am still speechless. I’m so lucky to have him as my best friend!”
It wasn’t long before Parker made national headlines. People praised his gorgeous work, and many were amazed to know it was his first-ever sewing project. The gown looked pristine, so no one could really tell he was a novice.
“I had only sewed two stitches before I did it,” he said. “Every big moment out of it, we were just having fun.”
With his newfound skill, Parker became intent on making more dresses. He planned to study costume design and musical theater in college. He also dreamed of becoming a Broadway costume designer someday.
A couple of months after prom, Parker’s sweet gesture caught the attention of the former head of casting for FOX network Bob Harbin, who was set to direct a “Cinderalla” show at Footlite Musicals December that year.
Bob had been looking for a dressmaker, and he happened to be friends with one of Parker’s teachers, who told him she “might know a kid.”
“She said, ‘Oh, you know that kid, that kid who did that prom dress thing?’” Bob said. “When you see the work, his sketches, the guy’s got it or the guy doesn’t, and he’s definitely talented.”
Bob hired Parker to sew a dress for their Cinderalla, and the young designer delivered spectacularly. He made a peasant’s dress that transformed into Cinderella’s ball gown within seconds, and it looked absolutely gorgeous!
Learn more about Parker’s story in the video below.