DIY Sewable Electronics Round Up – Any Other Ideas?

I’m looking for some ideas for practical projects for wearable and interactive textiles. LilyPad is a company that, in combination with Sparkfun Electronics, has developed affordable round-edged circuit components meant to be used in clothing and textiles. They are even washable!!


(Photo from – one of the best sources for Lilypad projects I’ve found)

If you are interested in trying out this combo of high and low tech crafting, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a jump start. Sparkfun Electronics is having a Free Day on Jan. 7, 2010! They are offering each household the opportunity to purchase $100 of free materials – just pay shipping! How amazing is that!

Using conductive thread and small, lightweight batteries, you can combine their different products to create amazing interactive pieces of clothing!

This is simple stuff that can be combined for awesome results! They have sensors that can detect changes in:

  • Light
  • Temperature
  • Movement and vibrations (accelerometer)

You can complete your circuit using:

  • Push button
  • Switch
  • Magnetic Snap

They interface with components that can give you:

  • Lights
  • Sounds
  • Vibrations

You can even program behavior into your circuit boards using a USB cable that links to your computer – WAY COOL!picture53.png
(Photo from

The best idea I’ve seen online so far is a jacket that lets bikers signal their turns with buttons on their sleeves:


You’ve got to check out this video – posted on and created by Lilypad founder Leah Buechley:

(Electronic Material components for this project on are $113 + $9 shipping to Chicago – but only $22 total if you get in on Free Day!)


Other cool projects I’ve found that use these types of electronics:

An adorable frog and firefly embroidery from Becky Stern:


Gloves that work with the iPhone with the use of conductive thread – (An tutorial for a DIY version here.)


A GORGEOUS Wind-sensitive electronic dress:


I’m not super interested in just making purses or jewelry with blinking lights – though this purse with a light inside is wicked cool:


I just know there are more awesome ways to utilize this technology in a way that will solve problems that I’m currently having (the conductive finger iPhone gloves are BRILLIANT).

I’ve got an idea for a purse that alerts you when your phone is vibrating inspired by a project in the book Fashioning Technology that you will hopefully see realized in a future blog post.

This stuff is only just becoming affordable so I know there are new uses that haven’t been thought of yet. Please let me know if you can think of any projects and I’ll attempt to prototype them!


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