Introduction: LilyPad Embroidery

Design for the fashion system 2020/21 | Fashion 4.0 | Group 2

E-textile project including a Lilypad Arduino that controls the LEDs using light sensor and button.

Step 1: Materials

    1. LilyPad ProtoSnap Plus Kit
      • LilyPad board (microcontroller)
      • Light sensor
      • Button sensor
      • White LEDs
      • Conductive thread
      • LiPo battery
    2. Embroidery thread
    3. Embroidery needle
    4. Embroidery hoops (wood 15cm)
    5. Lightweight black fabric
    6. Printed pattern
    7. White pencil
    8. Scissors
    9. Ruler
    10. Nail polish

      Step 2: Plan the Design

      In order to start the project, first of all print the embroidery pattern and cut it along the hoop line. Then, cut a piece of lightweight black fabric large enough to cover the hoop leaving some centimeters extra. Once you have it attached, bring the pattern and the hoop to a source of light to mark the pattern with a white pencil and use a ruler for the straight lines.

      Step 3: Embroider the Design

      In order to make the stroke lighter, separate the embroidery thread in half (careful with the knots) and thread the needle. Afterwards, sew following the design with a backstitch technique. We will embroider the stars after the lights are on place (step 7).

      Step 4: Write the Sketch

      Write and check the sketch on Arduino. We will program the light sensor and the button as inputs and the 3 LED's as outputs. The lights will shine brighter the less light there is (light sensor). The difficulties we have encountered is that it is needed to stabilize the Lilypad button writing input_pullup in the void setup.

      Here you can find our sketch:

      Step 5: Arrange the Lights Pattern

      Remove the fabric and attach a second piece with the same size. Bring it together with the printed drawing to a light source to mark where the LilyPad LEDs go (in the stars). These LEDs should be facing up while the microcontroller, light sensor and button should be positioned on the opposite side of the fabric.

      Step 6: Embroider the Circuit

      Once the position of the components is determined, sew with the conductive thread the circuit. It is recommended to be done in this order:

      1. All Ground (-)
      2. The LEDs to the pins (~6, ~A7, ~A8)
      3. The positive pin from the light sensor to the positive ( + ) of microcontroller
      4. The signal pin (S) from the light sensor to one analog pin (A2)
      5. The button pin to digital pin (A4)

      Check the circuit on the LilyPad connecting the LiPo battery. If the circuit works well, remove the battery (for now) and use hot glue or clear nail polish to seal the knots and frayed thread to avoid shorts.

      Step 7: Finish the Design

      The next step is to attach the embroidered fabric with the design directly on top of the piece of fabric with the LEDs. Stretch them together in the hoop and cut the excess fabric. Draw the missing lines over the LEDs and then embroider the rest of the design.

      Step 8: Place the Battery

      Finally, fix the back of the hoop to make it clean and place the battery on the LilyPad.

      Step 9: Final Result

      Here you can see the result of our e-textile project using LilyPad. As we have programmed in the sketch, the lights will shine brighter the less light there is and we can switch them off with the button.

      Turn the power on and enjoy!