The main function of this dress is for safety and visibility in dark environments, but also it is functional if you love fire and want to look like it. The fire skirt design functionality was inspired by the chaotic, beautiful, intense environment found at outdoor-night-time events: while wearing this skirt, my friends can find me, no one will run into me with a bike or art-vehicle, and it illuminates nearby objects as I walk, making it easy to avoid tent stakes, cacti, or who-knows-what. The dress is visible from all sides, the pattern affords the freedom of movement necessary for walking and dancing, and it has a fiery look that contributes to the party deco.
This demo is based on a presentation about the dress pattern and process from Maker Faire 2007. The presentation was recorded and posted by ArtFuture on the ArtFuture YouTube Group, in 9 segments: here are the videos, with notes, pictures and links... thanks to instructables for providing a good venue for making the presentation & videos complete.
Featured in ELLE Argentina - Agosto 2007,
and Elle Decor Italia - Novembre 2008.
Available through Etsy.com
Step 1: Part 1: Overview and Materials:
2.5 yards satin fabric (gold)
2.5 yards chiffon fabric (maroon or wine-color)
20 feet electroluminescent wire (aka "EL wire" or "LYTEC")
EL wire power supply & driver
~12" x 1" Elastic
Electrical tape or heat shrink tubing
The dress is based on an A-line skirt pattern; a cone-shaped skirt that bunches with gravity and creates organic-looking folds. It has 2 layers: a shiny satin layer underneath, and a translucent chiffon layer on top. The shiny satin layer is adorned with decorative flames shaped in electroluminescent wire: a battery-powered, plastic-coated wire that emits light for a glow-in-the-dark effect.
The pattern and materials work together to soften the hard lines of the EL wire, and to create a fiery animated effect when the dress is "walked": the gold satin reflects the electroluminescence, and the contrasting maroon chiffon overlay creates a range of light intensity as it floats closer and further away from the satin and EL wire.
This A-line skirt pattern is very simple: a cone-shaped floor-length skirt that flares out from the waist at about a 25-30 degree angle. For this dress, I make two layers with the same pattern. The inner satin layer is floor-length, and the outer chiffon layer is about 5" above the floor.
(* i make my own pattern, according to my measurements - the top of this pattern is an empire-waisted halter, but any top can work - it's the skirt shape that is important).
Here are a couple of patterns that could work:
(lengthen inner layer to floor length. heels not recommended.)
see larger video