The inspiration for this dress followed the first time I saw this fiberoptic product in action. I was at a festival when I saw a bloom of fiber optic jellyfish approach, and they created such a beautiful effect that I knew I had to turn the concept into something wearable. I'd been wanting to incorporate fiber optics into fashion for a while, but this made it clear what I wanted to use and how.

The fiber optics are from Ants on a Melon, and the awesome photos were taken by audreyobsura. Many thanks to both of you for all the help along the way!

Step 1: The Design

The design of the dress followed the fiber optics that it needed to support. As there is one central light source, I designed the back to include a pouch for the handle, and the straps of the dress to bring the fiber optics from the center back to the front, and back around the body to an even distribution at the hips.

A big design challenge was how to give the filaments enough lift at the skirt, as I wanted the skirt to push them out at as near to a 90 degree angle as possible. I was considering things like a fully boned structure or 3D printing small pieces for each group of filaments to angle them out at a perfect right angle. However in the end I just went low tech and stuffed the skirt with tutus :) I'd still like to explore these other two options eventually.

Be warned that this Instructable includes a major fail at one point, so read the whole thing first if you intend to make this. I ended up designing the dress and fiber optic design in different parts of my mind, and put the zipper on the side not thinking about the fact that once the fiber optics were sewn down, I couldn't open it! What I was thinking, I have no idea (I wasn't). But as recovering from major errors is an integral part of making, I included this saga in the Instructable.

I chose to make this dress from scratch to dust off my fashion skills, but you could definitely make something very similar by buying a V-neck dress with a circle skirt and skipping to step 13.

<p>Oh, wow! I saw you (or someone else with this dress) at Burning Man this year! I was so impressed that I asked for a picture...<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kyle_marsh/21150136368/in/album-72157656164331254/" rel="nofollow">https://www.flickr.com/photos/kyle_marsh/211501363...</a></p><p>Great job!</p>
<p>Hello! So, i made my dress just in time for Hullaween! Your tutorial was a lifesaver. ***Question though, how do you wash your dress or do you? This festival was a bit dusty! </p>
<p>Horray! I'd love to see photos :)</p><p>I do wash my dress. One thing I love about fiber optics is they are just plastic, so I detach the electronics and hand wash in a large bucket. </p>
<p>Made my jelly for Robot Hearts halloween party in NYC. Got so many compliments. Thanks so much for the inspiration!! Will probably re-make on a dress more built for my body and that is more sturdy but this worked for the past weekend. </p>
<p>Nice! Glad you had a good time in it, so much fun to wear out. Thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>I finally finished!! I started my dress over a month ago after I got all my supplies. Instead of the fiber optic whip, I went with good ole color-changing LEDs from Super Bright LEDs and a couple 9V batteries. Since I don't know how to sew, I bought my dress from Lulu's. I absolutely agonized for days over the design and layout of the fiber optics on the dress! Those little black squares you see in the back are switches so that I can easily turn on/off the power supply. I also managed to hide the batteries between the skirt layers. My dress consists of two circuits because of the zipper placement, so two 9V batteries in parallel powers half the LEDs. I really wanted my fiber optics to hang past my hemline because it looked so incredibly cool! Unfortunately, the fiber optics I bought were tightly wound and I could not get them to relax whatsoever, so I had to trim them instead of having a tangled mess at my knees.</p><p>Okay, so the above paragraph was a giant mess of words, but overall, I wanted to say THANK YOU! You were a huge inspiration and had so many helpful tips that got me through this project, especially when it came to sewing the fiber optics onto the dress! I plan on wearing this to the Taylor Swift concert later this week! I'll have to figure out where else I'll wear it because I love the result so much. :)</p>
<p>Wow this looks awesome!! I really like the way you laid out the leds in back, it's a nice flat footprint. Also digging the criss cross in front. Enjoy your first time out in the dress, and I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding more opportunities to wear it :) Thank you so much for sharing!</p>
<p>Natalina&rsquo;s Fiber Optic Dress instructable has inspired me for a long time now, and I feel blessed to have finally purchased a fiber optic whip from Ants on Melon to create a similar outfit. I was going to see Pretty Lights and I decided this project needed to happen before the show, and that I was going to have the prettiest lights. Thank you so much for the inspiration Natalina, I wouldn't have thought of such a project without your instructable! ^_^<br><br>I decided that I wanted to create a garment that would allow for change and ultimately layers. So I ran with your idea and bought a netted stretchy top from China. Unfortunately by the time it got to me the concert was already upon us. So I followed your pattern with the fiber optic placement for the time being. It was the months after the show that I chose to refine the dress cover and really put some time into the project, like I originally dreamed of. I ended up restringing all of the strands in groups of two. Tracing my figure with some strands and following the given pattern with the others. It was time consuming, but I would say very much worth the monotony in the end.<br><br>This design does not include a zipper. I cut down the front of the mesh and sewed the edges so they would not fray. I tied it together with a stretchy string. The shirt it self was designed to be baggie throughout the netting and tight along the waist. Once the fiber optics were woven in pulling on the strands would create a form fitting top, without the use of a corset or boning. I also bought a cheap tutu and inflated the poof with a thick layer of foam to really get the lights away from my center. Though it does look more elegant in Natalina's tutorial, my design was supposed to be a more festive and comfortable rendition. I must say I am pleased with the material and the overall functionality of this Fiber Optic Dress Cover.<br><br>My next step is to focus on a way to use a 3.7V battery pack with the led flashlight for my optic whip, to boost the power and over all charge of the device. This part should be a challenge for me. However, I hope to use an electrical wire, soldering equipment and a power supply that is easier to get to than directly behind me. I hope to create a more elegant design for my wedding dress when the time comes. Thanks for introducing me to such a magical medium and for the wonderful inspiration!</p>
<p>I loved her dress, but I'm slightly overweight for such a 'form fitting' dress. Your version inspired me to make one, since it covers and camoflauges much more. Thanks :)</p>
<p>Wow! You are so welcome! The way you overlapped the fibers is so intricate, what a beautiful effect with endless possibilities. Thank you so much for posting your design process and photos!</p>
<p>BRAVOOOO... Very Well...</p>
<p>New Caledonia powaaa !</p><p>thank you to Ants On A Melon for the internationally shipping ! </p><p>and thank you Natalia of course !! :)</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Ii4d97cKEPQ" width="500"></iframe></p>
<p>That's awesome! Thank you so much for sharing your video!</p>
<p>west side story in french! thanks!</p>
<p>Thank you to YOU ! :)</p>
<p>Hi! I was wondering where I can purchase fiber optics? I'm not very tech savvy, but I want to make this dress for Halloween, because I think it would be fun to cosplay the Tree of Souls from Avatar. Please and thank you!</p>
<p>Links to buying the fiber optics are in the instructable. That sounds like a great costume idea, post some photos here when you're done!</p>
<p>Just awesome work..</p>
Can I purchase this dress and have it shipped??
<p>Sorry this dress is not for sale, and I don't make them as commissions because it would be prohibitively time consuming and expensive. I encourage you to make one yourself! Save time by buying a dress ready made, and then you only have to sew down the fiber optics. Good luck!</p>
<p>Thanks for the wonderful and thorough instructions! I just finished mine in time for Burning Man. Will you be out on the playa too?</p><p>FYI, there was no issue getting the fiber optics shipped internationally, if anyone is curious (when I decided to make it).</p>
<p>Yay that looks great! I will be there - I'll look for you!</p>
Hello dear! Is there anyway to purchase one of these from you? Or do you know of anyone selling them online? Thank you!
<p>I loved this dress and tutorial, thanks for sharing! I'm interested in making one of my own, and I know you had put in the initial tutorial about wanting to hook the whip up to a stronger battery source? Do you have any recommendations for doing so? I would be making it for a festival in October and would like for the whip to stay lit majority of the festival, I just don't want to constantly keep switching out batteries. Thanks!</p>
<p>I did end up wiring in a larger battery! I should really write a step dedicated to it, but the photos I took weren't very clear. I ended up getting a <a href="http://www.adafruit.com/products/353http://www.adafruit.com/products/354" target="_blank">much larger lipo battery</a>, soldered wires directly to the battery holder inside the handle and ran them out through the hole that already existed in the bottom, and then attached a jst to those to connect to the battery pack. I made a pouch in my tutu for the battery to live, and kept the wires long so nothing would tug. Because of the hidden placement I connect that jst every time I put on the dress, so I would recommend using something easier to connect than a jst. That aside the hack works great and this battery lasts all night easy! The duration totally depends on what color mode you are on, but you could even size up to <a href="http://www.adafruit.com/products/353http://www.adafruit.com/products/354" target="_blank">this one</a> if you want even more juice.</p><p>Be sure to post an "I Made It" comment when you're done, I'd love to see it!</p>
Ah ok, thank you!! I'm super excited to make this dress, so I'll definitely upload photos once I have it completed!
<p>Great! Have fun and looking forward to seeing it!</p>
<p>Made a shitty prototype of this!!! </p>
<p>beautiful, great idea</p>
CaN someone make me this ? <br>Like asap <br>Reach me at erikaislame@yahoo.com
<p>I wonder if you could make this but with a longer dress.... someone let me know if you do it woith a longer one and it works!</p>
<p>Hi , we are optic fiber clothes manufacturer in China . please check some of our items , if you like it , please contact me for price . email : sales6@luminous-clothing.com . Whatsapp: 0086 184 7560 3235 , Thanks .</p>
<p>fiber-whip, huh? if you want to improve things, check this out: </p><p>http://www.wiedamark.com/fiberopticsparklecable.aspx</p>
<p>Thank you so much for making this Instructable! Your descriptions and photos are spot-on and helped me get over my fear of making my first dress - from scratch! I can't wait to add fiber optics and awesome lights. I don't have a fiber optic flashlight, so I was going to make a DIY version. I was wondering, if you were making another dress, would you use the same number of strands again, or more or fewer?</p>
<p>Horray for making your first dress from scratch! As for strands, I am quite happy with how many there were (360). Any more and they would have barely fit over my shoulders in any elegant fashion. Fewer would have looked thin by the bottom. Take care with choosing the thickness of the fibers. The product I used has a great weight, it is thick enough that it has some body to it and isn't very fragile, but isn't so thick that it is difficult to work with. Good luck, and I'd love to see what you come up with!</p>
<p>Using 360 strands worked just perfectly! Also, I have a newfound respect for your patience now after sewing on ALL those fibers. I can't express enough gratitude for your Instructable's guidance (especially detailed photos like where to place the pins and stitches to hold the fibers for sewing).</p><p>After all that work, the end results are totally worth it. I couldn't be happier with how my dress turned out. In my DIY lighting version, I ended up using NeoPixels to illuminate the fibers, with two laser-cut acrylic holders securing all the bundles. I have an Adafruit Gemma controlling the LEDs so I can program different lighting patterns, and a 12V battery powering it all. The skirt makes a perfect hiding spot for the electronics.</p><p>I'm totally excited to wear mine at Burning Man next week! Will you be there with yours?</p>
<p>Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about how you attached the filaments to the neopixels--maybe a drawing of these acrylic holders you made? I am looking to go the same route (w/ the flora or gemma) but don't know how I'm going to attach the filaments to the flat neopixel. Usually I'd use an ultra bright LED bulb and clear tubing, obvs. that won't work with the neopixel.</p><p>Looks great BTW! Haven't used neopixel yet and was concerned it wouldn't be bright enough. Your photos but my mind at ease there!</p>
<p>Hi Mareekayte,</p><p>Sorry it took me so long to get back to you! I'm happy to share the file with you that I used to make the adapter for the NeoPixels and fiber optics. Send me an email at LEDspacehelmets@gmail.com and I'll send it to you (since I don't see a way to attach files in the comments).</p><p>It is Adobe Illustrator format, which many laser cutters can interpret. Please feel free to modify the file as you find necessary. Best of luck, and if you want to share, I'm excited to see what you come up with!</p>
<p>Hi if you need optic fiber fabric to design the clothes , please let me know . We are optic fiber manufacturer in China ! email : sales6@luminous-clothing.com . Whatsapp: 0086 184 7560 3235 , Thanks .</p>
<p>Where did you get the fiber? Any tips on attaching them? Thanks!</p>
<p>Hi Marie! I bought these fibers from Ebay (<a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/DIY-bundle-endglow-PS-fiber-optic-cable-for-ceiling-lighting-illumination-/261034744133?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cc6e21945" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.com/itm/DIY-bundle-endglow-PS-fibe...</a>). I needed 2 sets, 200 strands each, 0.75mm diameter. Starting at the back of the dress, the fibers are in bundles of 20 each, and then they're divided into bundles of 10 starting at the shoulders. I made each group of 20 fibers by placing the strands side-by-side on the sticky side of a piece of packing tape, then rolling it up tightly. Then I trimmed the ends so they're all even. The LEDs and fibers are held in place using a laser-cut acrylic adapter that I designed (I'm happy to share the Illustrator files for it). Finally, to sew all the fibers to the dress, I followed Natalie's excellent instructions. Best of luck, and have fun!</p>
<p>That turned out so awesome!! I'm new to electronics, but using neopixels is the next thing I wanted to try, but was struggling with how to attach the fibers to the strip. Thanks for sharing photos of the back, I'm excited to explore this method! I may pick your brain more when I get to the next iteration :) </p><p>I'm taking this year off of burning man, but you can rock the dress in my stead! Have a great time!</p>
<p>hi! thank you for this beautiful design. I made the whole thing but when im trimming the fibers (last part) they are starting to look super messy (they keep bending to the sides and looks kinda like the dresses in the pictures other ppl posted in the comments). This could have happened because i rolled them up while i was sewing them to the dress. i would like that they look like yours, all kinda going straight to the bottom with slight curves where they are cut.</p><p>How did u achieve this?</p>
<p>I'm so happy you have made the whole thing! Be sure to post an "I Made It" comment when you are done!</p><p>In answer to your question, I luckily didn't run into trouble with that. The fibers do maintain curl if they are stored that way, so it's possible that you introduced extra curl that will relax out over time. It might even be possible now that they are all sewn down to put them in "curlers" to introduce the desired curve direction you want, although I have no idea how successful this would be. I would use something with a large circumference so as not to make the problem worse. You could also introduce heat but be VERY CAREFUL as that can ruin the fibers, test it first. The fibers also look better the more lift they have at the skirt, since then gravity can do more of the work for you. Let me know if any of these ideas help you with your problem, I'm sure you are not the first to run into this challenge.</p>
<p>What sort of fiber optics did you use and where did you get them from? (Please &lt;3)</p>
In the article she says that the &quot;fiber optics are from ants on a melon.&quot;<br>There wasn't a specific type mentioned but where she got them from was.
<p>Yep, look at steps 2 and 3. The link in step 2 is the exact product you want.</p>
Which I just went into the actual instructions and she mentions untrimmed ones. You may want to go check the first part of the steps, that's where I found it. Good luck
<p>I think what you've created is absolutely awesome!!!</p>

About This Instructable


1,416 favorites


Bio: I'm a designer at Instructables. I have a degree in fashion design and like to sew, get crafty, and attempt to use power tools.
More by Natalina: Copy Your Clothes! Fiber Optic Coat Make a Tent Footprint
Add instructable to: