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

Soft Circuits-David Booke

Here are the three in-class demonstrations we did. From left to right, they are the monogram embroidery, the LED felt sewing practice, and the Jeff Gordon pouch demo




For my final project, I decided to make my patch after A Tribe Called Quest’s album Midnight Marauders. I’m a big fan of the album, and there’s a person type thing on the album cover of it that I thought would be cool for a patch. I couldn’t find any pictures of just the person, so I looked up on Youtube how to select only portions of an imported image on PE Design. I quickly found a video and began cropping the image (this can be seen below.)

All I had to do was move around the boxes to outline the part of the image I wanted embroidered. This feature of PE Design is very handy. Here’s a picture of just the person thing with the rest of the album cover cropped out after it was converted into the stitching. After Duncan took a look at this, he told me the method I used to import the image was different than the one he recommends, and that’s why the stitching looks so rough. I liked the way it looked though, so I stuck with it. 

I was surprised by how long it took this to embroider. All in all, it took nearly an hour, but that was because it did a lot of redundant stitching. I could have skipped over some of the iterations of the same color because they were essentially just going over each other. Instead of 9 steps, this easily could have been done in 4. If I were to do this again, I’d definitely take a look at the different steps of the stitching it shows in PE Design and delete the redundant ones. Here’s an in progress picture of the embroidery and the final patch once it was complete. I’m quite happy with how it turned out. 


Attaching the LEDs and battery pack proved to be the most difficult portion of this assignment. The plan was to place two white LEDs on the head so they would look like eyes. This proved to be difficult due to the close proximity of the conductive thread; it was difficult to make them not overlap or touch. This assignment was finicky in the same way the copper tape assignment was. It was also quite difficult to pass the needle through the patch due to how many layers of thread there were. After one failure of trying to connect the LED and battery due to threads touching, I started running the negative part of the thread underneath the battery pack for both LEDs. This saved space and allowed for none of the thread to be in contact with each other. A picture of the back of the patch with the LEDs and battery and a picture of the LEDs working from the front are included below.

Attaching this piece and making the pouch was the easiest and my favorite part of this assignment. I did mess up by putting the battery right on the other side of the outer piece of fabric. I should have put it on the inside of the inner piece of fabric. This proved to not be a serious issue though since it is still easy to switch the battery on through the inner layer of fabric. I went for a fabric on the inside that I thought complemented the colors of the patch. Pictures of the inside and front of the final product are included below.