Illuminated, Interactive ‘Skirt Full of Stars’ – Part 2

Update: A tutorial with instructions to make your own Skirt Full of Stars is now posted at

Now you can see the Skirt Full of Stars in action!

In case you haven’t seen my last post about it, this is a hand-sewn tulle wrap skirt with integrated fiber optics and lights that change color in response to the speed and direction of the wearer’s movement.

It uses the Lilypad Arduino platform, developed for integrating electronics into textiles. There’s a purple organza underlayer to the skirt onto which is sewn the Lilypad main circuit board and a power supply, and an accelerometer hangs from a ribbon to allow for freedom of movement. The Lilypad receives the measurements of the accelerometer’s movement, and translates them into color output for the tricolor LEDs around the waistband of the skirt.

I used sparkle fiber optic cable to cut the harsh quality that you can get when using LEDs and distribute the light more evenly throughout the skirt. In previous prototypes I had simply created a line of LEDs swirling around the skirt, and this makes for a far more subtle and wearable effect.

I have to say, getting decent video of this skirt was quite a challenge! Too much light and the fiber optics didn’t show up on camera, too little and nothing showed up at all. Even this isn’t an accurate representation of what it looks like in person – the camera mostly just picks up the points of light from fiber optics pointed directly at it, where in person you can see them all around the skirt. But hopefully it at least gives a decent idea of how the whole thing works…

Want your own?

It looks like I’ll be making another of these soon, so I plan to take more photos of the construction process and post the instructions here as I go.

If you’re not feeling the yearning to jump into making wearable electronics yourself but you still want your own, send me an email at I had a lot of fun creating this and would be thrilled to make some as custom projects.

Skirt full of stars

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