Light up Princess Dress

Greetings, So Sew Easy readers!   I'm Kat from Sew Chibi!   Today, I'm here to share my seasonal sewing project with you:

The Hikari (Light) Dress!

princess dress

princess dress

I love pushing myself.  I thought of what a little girl would adore to wear to make her feel like a real-life, fairy princess.

princess dress

I've sewn so many challenging things (including sewing with liquid); I constantly push myself to go where I haven't seen others go yet.  It didn't take me long to settle upon sewing a dress with lights in it.

Pretty tricky to figure out how to execute it until I had the means and the vision:  battery operated LED lights and tunnels (channels) for the lights to run through to be dispersed throughout the dress.

The key is the battery operated lights.  The strands are not very long, just about 8′.  So for my dress I used two sets which were $7 a pack.

princess dress
princess dress

Here's a few tips on integrating lights into a dress:

  •  You want your top layers (including the channels/tunnels and pockets) to be lightweight so that the lights show through.
  • Keep in mind that battery packs can be heavy once you add batteries to them. You won't want to have an underskirt that cannot support the heft.
  • I like a really gathered look so I went with a width of at least 3 times the waist measurement.
  • If you are doing a tulle skirt, plan on about 5 yards per layer, keeping in mind that the layers can be doubled and sewn on the fold to make things easier and fuller.  Technically, my dress is 5 layers deep because the top two layers are aqua, then the third and fourth layers are pale pink, and lastly the bottom layer is lavender.
princess dress
  • There will be some math.  You need to decide how wide and long your tunnels (channels) will need to be for your own personal skirt.  I think it's a good idea to add at least a half of an inch to and inch of ease in addition to the width of the lights at their widest.  Don't forget to also add seam allowances to all sides.  Keep in mind how far from the edges you will start the tunnels (in my opinion, I thought mine were to close to the edges), and I recommend sewing the sides before the tunnels on the pieces.
  • A word to the wise, when sewing the channels(tunnels) down they e x p a n d, so don't overestimate. And only sew along the tops and bottoms; not along the short seams.  You want to create a casing so keep that in mind.
  •  Distance from the top and bottom is key so plan for 2″ from the bottom and at least an inch from the top to account for the gathering and stitching.
  • Also, alternate battery pack sides.  I had my battery pack pockets on opposite sides of each other, one on the front and one on the back, at the top sides.

princess dress

princess dress

Beyond construction, there are a couple of safety issues I'd like to go over:

  • By all means, only use LED lights.  They do not heat up and thus are safer.
  • In an effort to prolong battery life, turn dress off whenever it's not necessary to have the lights on.
  • I recommend this idea for kids who are old enough to not mess with the lights at all, or use extreme caution with younger girls.  Keep an eye that they are not sitting on the lights as well.  Think “princess”, and try to play that up as the reason they need to sit like a lady.
princess dress

Don't forget to get to take off all the lights for them at some point so you can really see them shine 🙂

princess dress

In addition to the lights, I made the dress with shimmery silver linen and lined it with a pink cotton broadcloth.  The dress is completely self drafted and incorporates flat piping, princess seams, spaghetti straps, and a sweetheart neckline.

princess dress

And what princess dress is complete without accessories?  I whipped up a quick pair of silver pleather ballet slippers using my thirty minute shoes tutorial. Also, I tried my hand at a fairy princess crown which really set her over the top with joy!

My little recipient fell head over heels  in love with the look, as did I, so much so that I have decided to recreate the look for her younger sister as well!

princess dress And that's it!  I sure hope you liked my little contribution to Deby's Seasonal Sewing Series, and that it inspires you to make a dreamy fairy princess dress of your own for the holidays!  Thanks again Deby for having me be a part of this cool series!

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Introducing Kat at Sew Chibi

I'm Kat!  Working mom of two (soon to be three!) little girls, and I run this wacky little blog, Sew Chibi, named for the mini me's I sew for!  I like to think BIG and make BIG mistakes.  My little girls live a technicolor life filled with animation, antics, and affection and I wouldn't have it  any other way!  To check out more of my sewing adventures, you can find me at these places - Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

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86 Responses to Light up Princess Dress

  1. Jenell Holt says:

    Oh no! Your photos have disappeared from this page! Could you please reload them? I am dying to see how you made this dress. Thank you!!!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Jenell, thanks for letting me know. Not sure what happened there but please check again. Everything should be fine now.

  2. vijaya says:

    It is beautiful!!! thank you

  3. Turn Neon says:

    Wonderful light up dress. Kids will love that dress. Thank a lot for sharing this.

  4. Connie says:

    So adorable! Too bad I only have boys. Maybe one day I will have a grand-daughter and make this for her. Love the tiara too. I really want to make one for myself!

    • Rebekah says:

      Make it for your boys anyway! You could incorporate it into a cape or pants, maybe, and call them the noble prince of the stars or something! Boys love things that light up!

  5. Angie says:

    Cinderella may have had her glass slipper, but you created a masterpiece. I know what I am going to be for Halloween, figure it is not just for the little girls, its for us girls also. Thank you for sharing!!

  6. sarah says:

    Where can I get the pattern for the dress it self?

    • Deby Coles says:

      The dress bodice can be made from any dress bodice pattern you already have on hand so you can pick what style you like, or draft a simple one of your own. The skirt is simply layers of tulle gathered up and doesn’t need to be shaped so large long rectangles will work fine.

  7. Teresa says:

    Hey I’m working on a similar project myself. I just got in my LED lights today ordered them on Sunday so less than a week. If your not in a hurry I got 10 meters (32.8 feet) of waterproof lights for like $9.99. You can cut them if you need to make multiple strips (which is what I’m doing to make them twinkle) I got them at they come in different colors but I got the white ones. you’ll need to hook them p to your own batter pack but they have a tutorial video on how to do it. Just thought I’d let some other seamstress know to get more bang for your buck. Now I got some few more packs of lights and buttons, circuit boards to make them twinkle and things so i got free shipping. Mines going into a Pageant dress. here’s their link Happy Sewing!!!

  8. Megan says:

    I AM blown away! What a cool idea

  9. Jamie says:

    I’d love to give a Crafty course to my wife!

  10. Debra Womack says:

    So adorable! Makes me wish I were a little girl again. 🙂

  11. VickiT says:

    YES! I sure was. This is awesome.

  12. rrjane011749 says:

    I would’ve loved to have this 30 years ago when my daughter was little!

  13. Hi Deby! Wow! That’s just amazing. What little girl wouldn’t love that? I’m featuring this at tomorrow’s Thriving on Thursdays. Thanks for coming. Anne xx

  14. Cindy B says:

    This is so pretty, any little girl would love it. I have 5 grandsons and now despately need a granddaughter so I can make this 🙂

    CINDY B on rafflecopter

  15. So cool – my kids loved it too. You’ve been featured at this week’s link party – stop by & grab a Featured On button. Thanks for linking to the Craftastic Monday party at Sew Can Do!

  16. Anke says:

    As a German from Cologne I am always on the search for good costume ideas – we have a big carnival each year. I definitively have to remember that!

  17. Hannah says:

    Spectacular Idea!!!! I’m using it in my prom dress!

  18. Amber L. says:

    This is such an adorable dress! My girls would love it!!! Thanks for the tutorial on the underskirt 🙂

  19. If I were a child I’d never want to take it off! What am I saying? As an adult I wouldn’t want to take it off! Beautiful! Blessings to you and yours!

    Marie @

  20. OneMommy says:

    Projects like this make me wish I could sew! So pretty! You have lucky little girls!! My sister is making a tutu dress for my daughter…Might need to send her this…

  21. Rachel G says:

    That is quite amazing, that’s for sure! My little sister would love a dress like that!

  22. melle says:

    this is amazing! and the crown! i hope you do a tutorial on that, too!

  23. Patty says:

    this is by far the most interesting project for kids!

  24. Leslie says:

    Wow, How amazing. You did do a really good job! I’m following you through Facebook & Twitter.

  25. Nancy Grant says:

    So crazy cool! Details like make you the best MOMMY in the world for sure. I know that’s what my little one would say if I made her a dress like yours. WOW!

  26. Christina says:

    So I saw this and thought… I wished I had a little girl to make this dress for. And then I thought, heck, I WANT IT! Great post… newest follower.

  27. Jordan says:

    Very innovative! That’s a great tutorial.

  28. Jessica says:

    Thank you Kat. The pictures are so lovely. I wish I had a little fairy to dress in something like that. I will keep that in mind for the time when I am going to be a mummy 😉


  29. frenchhensnest says:

    I have a four year old granddaughter who will love this! Thank you for the great tutorial!

    Wishing you a beautiful Thanksgiving!
    Jeannie and Linda at The French Hens Nest

  30. Deb y says:

    Scrumptious!This IsScrumptious! IHaveTwo nieces And Can’t Wait To MakeThese For Christmas. CanYouSay “Favorite Aunt”?

  31. sewchibi says:

    Ladies!!! I am so pleased that I have inspired so many of you!!!! Thank you for all the super kind words!!!! ^_^

  32. Sheena says:

    Such an adorable dress, just absolutely gorgeous, my daughter would go crazy over this! Thank you for sharing, now following you

  33. Patricia says:

    I am a costume designer for theatre. This is a fabulous idea and would look so great on stage. I am so going to do this.

  34. D says:

    I have a granddaughter who will love this one!

  35. CarmencitaB says:

    It’s very pretty! And much easier than I thought, thanks!

  36. Ernie Acuna says:

    This is adorable. I will have to make one for my niece when she’s a little bit older.

  37. Oh my goodness–this princess dress is adorable! My daughter would love this! She loves to play dress up and having a dress that lights up would rock her world.

  38. Carol Lovelady says:

    For those that dont have a little girl to sew for, this would be a great project for toys for tots, childrens hospitals, make a wish etc. There are so many little girls who need to feel special even for a little while.

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