How often have you stitched LEDs onto a t-shirt only to find that the stitching is puckered or the stitching doesn’t allow the fabric to move? I’ve always stayed away from stretch fabric because I know conductive thread doesn’t give. However, I found this great technique by Rachel Freire on Instructables that explains exactly how to embed circuits so they can move the way you do. Hello yoga wear!
The idea is to bond lycra conductive fabric between two layers of powernet using stretch fusible film. I’ve used fusible fabrics before, but I never knew there was stretchable film. You can see how the conductive fabric is first treated with the fusible film and cut into skinny traces, as well as buttons for the connections.
Once the pieces are assembled and ironed, you can easily attach LEDs and stitchable microcontrollers using conductive thread. Rachel has bigger plans for her pieces and is creating a Second Skin that will enable a designer to test different circuits all over the body quickly with tubing and cables. You can check out more pics of her progress on her Flickr album, and please do follow her work as she will be making it open source. So, ready to try your hand at a stretch circuit? Order some of our Knit Conductive Fabric and make your own beautiful swirls of electronic goodness. What outfit will you hack?
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