Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fiber optic costume by Lynne Williams & Project Runway Allstars

This week on Project Runway the designers  had a technology challenge.  This required the designers to use lights and/or black light products within their garment. 

It got me thinking about this project I did in 1988 for the Folies Bergere

  The client asked me to make them a costume for a dancer inspired by a Lion Fish or Butterfly.  The Lion fish comment really struck a chord, as its always been an inspiration for me.  As I recall I had a 3 day weekend to work it out and absolute freedom with the design.  The restrictions...outside of the lights she would only be wearing a  nude thong.
One of the funniest projects ever!! 
Photo by Sujit kumar
 Unlike the project runway contestants I only had to make the framework for the lights.  A lighting company that specialized in fiber optics (leading edge technology at the time) ran the lights thru the nylon marquisette I used to create the "wings"

I will admit to being somewhat blown away when the contestants were able to walk into a store to purchase their "technology"  A store that carried all sorts, yes all sorts of various lights and black light products.  From tape that glowed in the dark , fiber optic wands, bubble lights led's etc.  But overall I was disappointed with their results.

I do wish they had more time to work on these garments.  Honestly I know it's tv, so give them a few days and do some editing....sheesh!  

Austin won this competition and it was my favorite as well. 

Photo from Hack in Mod

This is rather obvious and tacky, but think what you might be able to do with it.
This costume is using electroluminescent wire or EL
Hack in Mod - has instructions on how to add luminescient wire to clothing
Check out this link to fiber optic kits as well
Fiber optic kits

Have you ever added technology to any of your projects?
Are you a little inspired to do so now?


  1. wow! Yours looks so cool! :)

    I too was a bit disappointed with this weeks pieces too. They all felt a bit amateurish to me. On the up side, it's nice to know that the "all stars" have off projects too. Now I won't have to feel so bad when one of mine just isn't up to par.

  2. Wow! The Follies costume is amazing! So dramatic!

  3. Hi Lynne, I have awarded you The Versatile Blogger Award and you can display the badge by checking your email...I sent the HTML code to you and I am hoping it will go. I could not post it here.

    Thanks for writing such an interesting and informative blog,

  4. Your costume is fabulous! So inspiring. I wish I could see it on a person in motion - it must have been amazing! And man, 1988 was really, really early for all that fibre optics technology!

    That season of PR hasn't made it to NZ yet, but those outfits do look a bit blah. Sometimes I really wish they had a little bit longer - time enough to do really good stuff.

    And thank you for the link :-)


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