Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Project 5- E-Textiles- Amanda Wolfe

For the past two weeks we learned about sewing, digital embroidery, and soft circuits. I was excited as I have done basic hand sewing and some clothing alteration using a sewing machine before, but have never tried embroidery or soft circuits before. I think having some prior knowledge about sewing did help me to complete this assignment as I was able to problem solve as I went instead of having to focus solely on how to do each step. I found an image on the internet of some cacti that I thought could be simple and cute sewn onto a bag. I edited the image in Photoshop first to reduce the number of colors, then added it to PE Design 10. I struggled with this for a while, trying the different options for converting the image into stitching, and for some reason it was creating really strange results, making shapes that looked nothing like the image. I eventually realized if you keep the image REALLY large before transforming it to the stitch that it created a much better result. If I knew this before, it would have saved me 2 hours of fiddling with the program, so others might be able to avoid this problem if they complete this with images from google as well. The embroidery was a tad difficult as I chose a thin stretchy fabric, and after my first attempt failed, I ironed on a backing to make it a bit more sturdy and this solved the issue.

Original Image:                                                  Photoshopped:


Embroidery Design and Execution:

I think the embroidery came out really clean, I liked the design I chose, and the fabrics and zipper coordinate well. I was able to sew the soft circuit without any issues, making sure to strategically place the LEDs so the conductive thread would not cross, and the stitches would not be too awkwardly placed in the front embroidery. And I attached the zipper without issue, but when I sewed the bag together the zipper area was a bit difficult to line up, there is a gap in the bag. I also would try to clean up the fabric before closing the bag, because I chose such a thin white fabric you can see the excess through the front.

Soft Circuit:

Putting together the bag:              Mistake in sewing:


Overall, I felt I reached the goals I set out, one disappointing thing was the soft circuit now only works once and awhile because I chose to sew it inside the bag- on the back of the outside liner. This means I can’t fiddle with the strings to make sure they are taught to fix the connection without cutting a hole in the inner liner to reach the circuit, but then the bag wouldn’t function as well, because something inside might mess with the circuit. I enjoyed this lab, it was a bit stressful as so many people needed the tools in the lab at one time. I am interested in learning and attempting more e-textile projects in the future.

Final Product:

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