Category: Sewing

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!

Swap-O-Rama-Rama Chicago on ABC7 Tonight

UPDATE 11/25/09: You can see the video here:

Tune in at 10 p.m. CST to Chicago’s ABC7 to see a story by Leah Hope about Swap-O-Rama-Rama with an interview with yours truly!

For the shoot, we took cloths from Rebekah’s closet (which the film crew had watched her “weed” out that morning) and created a new out fit by “frogging” or unraveling an old sweater, and altering and silkscreening an old t-shirt.

A big thanks to Cathey, Maddie, Jessica and Maureen from the Waldorf School, Betsy from Foxglove Accessories and Rebekah (both return volunteers from the 2008 SORR Chicago), Jake, a.k.a. Fearless Husband, and the always craft-tastic Kevin Reed without whom, I never would have been able to pull this off!







Tell your friends – We are still looking for volunteers and fashion designers for the 2010 SORR Chicago!  Click here to join our mailing list.
Swap-O-Rama-Rama Chicago
March 20-21, 2010
Chicago Waldorf School

Swap-O-Rama-Rama is a clothing swap and series of do-it-yourself workshops in which a community explores creative reuse through the recycling of used clothing. Bring in all those abandoned clothes from the back of your closet, swap them for something new and then get creative!  At Swap-O-Rama-Rama you get unlimited access to Singer sewing machines, Yudu silk screens, and all the supplies and coaching you’ll need to make an amazing garment, some new accessories, or anything you can dream up. All while supporting some very worthy non-profits! | Facebook

Halloween and The Guild

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written – my crafting energies were focused on our Halloween costumes! They came out pretty awesomely hilarious!

Here are the characters we were going as:

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These are Codex and Vork, characters from one of our favorite web series, The Guild.

I think we came pretty darn close with our versions of the costumes!

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My costume was made from a shirt from Forever 21 and a corset from an old costume that I recovered with the red fabric and trimmed the whole thing in gold. For Jake’s costume – It’s mostly made from cardboard and shiny diner-booth-type green vinyl, trimmed with yellow tape. We had a blast making the costumes and weapons!