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

Soft Circuit – Andrew Holler

Every week we learn new skills at the Fab Lab and these past two weeks were no different. We learned skills like digital embroidery, sew-able circuitry, and classic sewing. I hadn’t had much experience with sewing before. I faintly remember taking a home economics class in my middle school where we hand-sewed a stuffed animal and various things but, I hadn’t retained any of the knowledge from it. It was like starting from scratch. Hand-sewing had me concerned just because I know it can be tedious and I can get pretty annoyed when I have to work with such precision. That’s probably why I was more excited about the digital embroidery which has computer precision. It can be used to embroider anything that you can imagine digitally, whether it be a picture or something of your own design. I ended up using it to create my personalized Github patch and golden shield patch below. I was going for a golden shield crest but, the time constraints of our lab turned it into a simpler patch. I still like it.

There are a few key factors to successfully working on these sewing projects. One should plan ahead, dedicate plenty of time, and be patient. These are a few of the pitfalls I ran into when attempting to finish my assignment. I went into the lab to finish my project on Sunday and spent my entire day working on the zipper pouch with the Github patch. When I finished the patch I sat down and started to sew some LED’s and a battery to the patch. I couldn’t manage to get even an LED sewed onto the patch. The only previous hand-sewing experience I had was with the purple heart pictured below. I ended up running out of time and had to finish the pouch without any soft circuitry. It was frustrating and I could have added it if I had less anxiety, more time, and more experience. I may be interested on working on projects like this in the future but only if I have the time to dedicate. These are pretty time-consuming projects in my opinion but they are very satisfying (see zipper pouches).

Overall I’d say this was a pretty valuable learning block. The skills and kinds of things we learned in the past two weeks can be applied to a lot of different projects, not limited to what we did. I’d be interested in combining our upcoming Arduino projects with a sew-able craft. I’m interested in programming and can get more experience with sewing that way. It’s quite frustrating to realize that I wasn’t able to finish the assignment completely, but it also feels as if I had no other choice. The patch zipper bag would have been quite neat with LEDs but, a busy schedule demands many priorities. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to the next project in our makerspace, the Fab Lab.


The Pouch

No lights, such sorrow,
I ran out of time today,
Maybe tomorrow


Pictures of the awesome pouches I learned to make!