Seasonal Sewing Series! The Hikari (Light) Holiday Dress!

Good Morning all!!!  I am bringing over a post I did back in November for sweet Debi of So Sew Easy's Seasonal Sewing Blog Tour! Yeay!!!!

Today, I'm here to share my seasonal sewing project with you:

The Hikari (Light) 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.

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.

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.

  • 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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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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