While this certainly doesn't represent every method possible, it's a good way to introduce you to some options. And never forget the power of super glue - you just have to make sure you get it right the first time!
Step 1: Materials
To do these samples, I chose a pattern to use, appropriate colors of el wire in the thinnest gauge, fabric, invisible thread, embroidery thread, and grommets.
El wire from thatscoolwire.com.
Step 2: Trace your pattern
Trace your pattern onto your fabric. If using a dark fabric like this one, I suggest the following method:
Rub a light colored chalk over the back of the pattern.
Position the pattern over your fabric, chalk side down.
Trace over the pattern with a blunt tipped object.
Voila! Pattern traced and easily erased once you're done with it.
Step 3: Basic Application
This is probably the simplest technique for adding el wire to a fabric that doesn't fray.
Determine the points at which you want the el wire to run over the front of the fabric, and where it will dip back underneath. This gives you crisp edges and produces a better finish than if you were to overlap the wire and tape off the parts that you don't want glowing.
If you are using a fabric that frays, make sure to dot these places with fray check or white glue.
Make small slits in the fabric at these point. Feed the wire through the fabric, and secure with invisible thread by hand. The last image shows you what the back side of this piece looks like. Not a bad idea to secure the loops on the back with your invisible thread or glue.