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. Deby,
    This is adorable.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  2. Amy says:

    What a darling idea!

  3. Tymika says:

    This is so unique, I like this a lot!

  4. This is simply outstanding. Thanks. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  5. violetgypsie says:

    Yes, I’m blown away by this tutorial! What little girl wouldn’t love this dress? Thank you so much!

  6. Sandy K says:

    Incredible! Any little girl would love this dress.

  7. Vicki H says:

    Pretty awesome. I have never seen this.

  8. Sarah says:

    This dress is just so amazing! Incredible job, Kat! You have the luckiest babes in the land!

  9. Kristen says:

    OMG this is so MAGICAL! My girls would go crazy for this!!!

  10. Wanda Bergman says:

    I LOVE, love, love this tutorial!! I’ve never seen anything like this before!.!.!

  11. Stacy says:

    thanks! cute idea

  12. Malin says:

    What a fantastic tutorial! Love it!

  13. Diane says:

    Wow, great tutorial! I have two little nieces that would love this but am not sure I have the courage to try to make it. :-).

  14. Jennifer says:

    My niece would love this!! And her birthday is right after Christmas so I just might have to see if I can make this for her. Thanks for the tutorial!

  15. Joyce Mitchell says:

    So cute! My husband’s niece would love this & I have some great nieces that would love it too. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Barb farmer says:

    Wow. So creative! No princesses in my house but I am thinking a super hero cape lit up?

  17. Catherine says:

    I think this tutorial is sweet & unique. I wish I had a little girl to make it for!

  18. MammaNene (@mamma_nene) says:

    What a great idea! i think it’s better to wait to let my daughter see it (she’s 4 and a half), or we’ll end with a grilled princess (she’s definately not a princess and will sit on her lights, and maybe put them in water, just to see what happens LOL!

  19. Stephanie says:

    My coworker was actually just asking me how to do this!! What great timing!

  20. Caroline says:

    gorgeous idea and very effective!

  21. JenniT says:

    The PERFECT princess dress! Love the lights.

  22. I think you’re totally awesome for having this vision and making it come true!

  23. Lydia Varona Trainor says:

    So cute – every little girl would love this skirt

  24. Kelley H says:

    Such an adorable skirt!!! I love the lights!!

  25. Zoe says:

    Wow, that is so amazing! I’m thinking that a shorter adult version would be great for a fairy costume for halloween or parties 🙂

  26. Laura says:

    This is absolutely beautiful Kat! I’m not surprised your youngest wants one as well.

  27. T Bosch says:

    Oh my! I’m thinking next halloween! Thanks.

  28. Judith says:

    I love it when someone creates something that’s so imaginative and then shares the process with others. Seeing this made my day. Thank you.

  29. Carol P. says:

    I am thinking Halloween for next year I might be a fairy..

  30. Renee says:

    The dress alone is fantastic – but lights?!?! so cool.

  31. Tabitha Klucking says:

    YES, I am blown away by this! I want to be 5 so I can have one for myself!

  32. Mimi O says:

    I <3 <3 <3 this dress. Did I say that I <3 this dress….oh yes I did!!! I can't wait to make this for my daughter for her photography business. Thank you Kat sooooo much for posting such a great tutorial for Deby's Seasonal Sewing Series….

  33. Kirsten says:

    Pretty cool. I remember seeing something like this on American Gypsy wedding. The dress weighed at over 50lbs.

  34. CJ says:

    I think that’s pretty cool!! A neat way to make a princess dress that much more special!

  35. DJ says:

    This is so cute! I am now jealous and want to wear a lighted fairy dress. Just completely adorable. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Alida Lee says:

    Kat, this is absolutely unbelievable.

    • Deby Coles says:

      I know – when I opened up what Kat had sent, I was speechless. She is the queen of the guest posting, as well as clearly an amazing mom, sewists and photographer! Please Share on Pinterest Alida, this really deserves to be seen by a much wider audience!

  37. sewchibi says:

    Thank you ladies!! And thank you Deby for being a part of you series!!! I hope it inspires some sweet Holiday Sewing for everyone!! ^_^

  38. Jill || Made with Moxie says:

    Absolutely stunning! Just stunning.

  39. Kay, this dress is spectacular! Your girls are very lucky. Great job!

  40. Becky R says:

    This is adorable! I only have little boys to sew for at this point but I’m sending this tutorial to my sister. Love it!

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