Speculative You: Multiuse Garment

I went into this project knowing that I wanted to take the opportunity to create something that could be worn by migrants, the impoverished, and others who don’t have a permanent place in the world. I decided to make a coat that can be used as a tent for when no other shelter is available. The garment includes a strip LED that runs down the back of the coat’s hood and arm, and down one side of the tent (when it’s in each position). There is a soft switch located strategically so it can be seen on the outside of the coat sleeve, or on the inside of the tent, depending on which state the garment is in. If this garment were ever produced commercially, I would want it to be powered by solar panels, which I think would be the most practical and economical (not to mention environmentally-friendly), which addresses the “speculative” part of the assignment.

Materials

Fabric, tulle (King Textiles) to better disperse the LED lights

Fabric, muslin (King Textiles) to construct the pattern

Fabric, vinyl (Fabricland) for the prototype and final model

1/4″ 16g steel tubing (OCAD U) for the tent poles

Bungee cord (King Textiles) to hold together the tent poles

Strip LED (Creatron) LEDXF-006105

9V battery (Creatron) BATTA-160449

Battery snaps (Creatron) BATTH-900010

Conductive thread (Creatron) LILYP-010867

45″ zipper x 2 (King Textiles) for the sleeves

White thread (King Textiles)

Prototype

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As you can see, the garment works as intended with the prototype, but the patterning fabric (muslin) wasn’t strong enough to maintain the tent shape in the life-size version. This is obviously something I would have to address if the garment were ever produced commercially, but I think double-layering the vinyl and including tent poles along the bottom edges of the garment would work to solve the problem.

Final Garment

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My brother agrees that it’s pretty neat and practical!

15658833_1153665278004411_347391761_o <– but a little too tall (he’s 6’4″)

 

Material Exploration: Leather and Imitation Leather

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For my project I wanted to explore using leather and leather-imitation fabrics in sewing projects so I can get some experience working with them and learning different techniques based on the needs of the material.

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I tried brown and blue vinyl (top left and bottom right, respectively), real cattle leather (top middle and bottom left), conductive fabric (top right), and imitation leather (bottom middle)

GLOVE

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My first experiment was to make a “leather” glove that I could wear while using my phone. I drew out a pattern in the dark blue imitation leather (from Fabricland), then cut it out, leaving about a half inch to give some room when I flipped the garment inside out (because I hand-sewed it inverse). Before reversing it though, I sewed in a small patch of conductive fabric that would be pressed to the phone by my finger tip.

The fabric was VERY easy to hand sew – it’s a little stretchy but not so much that it affects the stitch at all. I tried sewing it on a home sewing machine (not industrial) but the stitches ripped through the entire fabric like I was cutting it with scissors. It was suggested that I change the size of my stitches to be longer but then the foot of the machine wouldn’t move over the fabric (kept sticking) so I had to layer tissue paper under the foot on top of the fabric so it could glide. Then, upon removing the tissue paper, the stitches ripped through the entire fabric again.

You can see the awesome stretch in the fabric when I make a fist, and though I wore it a little every day for a week, the only stitches that ripped were along the outer corner of my wrist.

BRACELET

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This experiment was meant to examine making wearable pockets that I could keep things in (like batteries and electronic components) using a weird vinyl fabric that I bought in two colours, and experimenting with different sewing notions.

I bought the fabric from a store on Queen St W (this store had no name; I asked the owner), and the “leather” hook-and-eye thing from Fabricland. I started by making a small rectangle by sewing a small piece of the brown vinyl and a small piece of the blue vinyl together (front-to-front) and flipping it inside out. Then I sewed on each triangular pad from the notions and sized them so it would fit my wrist.

I like this experiment because it turned out clean and simple, and I learned more about hand-sewing techniques with vinyl and I think I’m going to use the pocket technique (without sewing all the way through with the notions, obviously) in one of my future projects

WALLET

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This one is still in progress; I laser-etched this cool square pattern on a piece of real leather (thanks again, Hillary!) when we took our field trip to STEAMLabs a couple weeks ago, and I talked to Lindy in the lab there about how I could turn it into a wallet. I think I’m going to use this leather for the outside of the wallet, and use the brown vinyl for the inside (because the real leather is way too thick to be used for the entire thing)

I used an industrial punch to poke holes in the leather, to practice what I’m going to need to do to sew the wallet together, but the piece was so thick that it took forever to get the remaining fabric out of the hole and it still looks pretty messy. I need to keep experimenting with this one, but hopefully I’ll have it finished for class next week – will update this post when it’s done!

Wearing Light – Fibre Optic Boots

For my project I was inspired to make something that I could use everyday, like an accessory rather than a garment (which you would have to wash before wearing twice). I decided to alter a pair of boots that I got from Salvation Army, because I could make them a flashy addition to club nights and parties.

I got a pair of boots with a sort of legwarmer attached, which was perfect for concealing the electronic components of my project. I assembled the piece by first creating a bundle of fibre optic cable (recovered from an old wand toy), then affixing it to a 5mm super bright white LED using black heatshrink tubing. I chose black tubing so no ambient light would slip through the legwarmer fabric of the boot. I then sewed the LED to a coin cell battery holder and created a switch for my circuit using metal sewing snaps. Then I fanned out the fibre optic cable and sewed bundles of 5-10 strands around the boot in a fan pattern, securing the end of each bundle with a drop of hot glue, which also serves to spread the light coming from the end of each strand.

Materials / Parts List

Pair of boots: Salvation Army

5mm Super Bright White LED: Creatron LEDTU-590013

Fibre optic cable: toy, Chinatown

Black 5mm heatshrink tubing: Creatron HEATT-039353

Hot glue

Black sewing thread

Conductive thread: Creatron LILYP-010867

20mm coin cell battery: Creatron BATTG-202500

20mm cell battery holder: Creatron LILYB-008822

Metal sewing snaps: Michael’s

Circuit Diagram

circuit-diagram

^^ pretty simple! just a battery, switch, and LED

Process Pictures

inprog1 

^^ this shows the bundle of fibre optic cable held to the LED with heat shrink tubing, which I heated up with my space heater (shown). In my first iteration I used a hair dryer to heat it up, but it was such direct heat that it warped all the fibre optics too

inprog2

^^ this is still my first iteration, when I was working with the warped fibre optic cables still (I wanted to make sure it worked before starting again with newer ones). This iteration finally killed itself when the negative arm of the LED broke off

inprog3

^^ this is a near-finished version of my first iteration, when I used single strands of fibre optic cable instead of small bundles. The light didn’t really show up that well though so I decided to use the bundles with a blob of hot glue to really amplify it

Final Pictures

final1 final2 final3

final4 final5

final6

Social Switches – Lock Box

The biggest concern for me with this project was creating a piece that people would actually be comfortable using, and that would be practical. Most of my ideas in the beginning were really basic touch circuits but I wasn’t really happy with them because it seemed like that would just be another impractical project that I make and then never touch again.

Because of this, I decided to build a small wooden box with a circuit engraved on top. Inlaid into the circuit groves are my electronic components (wires and a red 5mm LED), which are connected to 4.5V worth of AA batteries (3 x 1.5V each) and a small solenoid inside the box. The solenoid, when current isn’t running through it, holds the box closed by keeping its “arm” extended through a metal hook attached to the roof.

I also built three metal rings; one is a plain metal ring, one has a 3V cell battery attached to the top (so the top of the ring is positive and the ring itself becomes negative), and one is a plain metal ring that’s been cut in half and put back together with resin so the two halves don’t touch. This way, each “arm” of the ring can have its own charge.

CONTEXT: You and your two closest allies are running a small cash-based business. You keep all of your cash in the box, which should only ever be opened in the presence of all three of you. Each of you has a ring. When you come together, you each remove your ring and place it in its respective grove on the top of the box, connecting the circuit and sending voltage to the solenoid inside, which snaps back and allows the box to be opened.

Materials List

20mm 3V battery: BATTG-102500 (Creatron)

Duracell AA battery 4-pack: BATTA-154044 (Creatron)

AA x 3 cell battery enclosure: BATTH-010891 (Creatron)

Particle board

Cherry red wood stain

Cherry red wood finish

Metal hinges

Metal rivets

16g steel tubing

5V mini solenoid: USOLE-511015 (Creatron)

Wire

Resin

5mm red LED: LEDTU-520003

Wood glue

Hot glue

Photos of the Final Work

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Process

I forgot to take photos of my process but I thought it would be useful to describe what I did step-by-step.

  1. Constructed box of particleboard (attaching the hinges was the last step though, to keep the two halves easy to work with)
  2. Troubleshooted circuit (the current I needed for my solenoid wasn’t being achieved with the coin cell battery so I needed to add 3 x AA batteries and make sure everything still worked)
  3. Made rings by cutting slices from a steel tube, then attaching a coin cell battery to one (using hot glue) and splitting the other with resin
  4. Engraved circuit on the top of the box, drilling holes for the circuit to connect to the battery pack and solenoid inside
  5. Stained and applied finish to the box and circuit
  6. Inlaid wires; this was tricky because I needed to strip them to the exact length but the stranded core wire kept breaking up
  7. Attached hook to the roof of the box, lined up with the solenoid so as to keep the box locked while the current is closed
  8. Attached hinges to the back of the box

 

Circuit Diagram

circuit-diagram-01

note* the three switches represent each of the three metal rings, and that weird thing on the bottom left is a solenoid

Beautiful Circuit – Madi

I was motivated in part to do my project after reading about an autistic boy in a school in the US who was bullied for his inability to read body language of his peers, which is a common issue for people with developmental disorders. I wanted to create a shirt that would be able to communicate basic emotions based on the wearer’s body language, which would press one of the soft switches in the shirt depending on their pose. I decided on three emotions to represent a positive state (“calm”), a negative state (“tense”), and something in the middle (“sassy”). I assigned each emotion a coloured LED (calm = green, sassy = yellow, tense = red), then sewed each in to the shirt in parallel connected to a battery holder running 6V. I had to work through a lot of different design models to find a way to route my conductive thread through all the components without shorting or looking too messy.

This is my circuit diagram:

project-1-circuit

where you can see my three LEDs, two resistors (the yellow LED was too faint for a resistor), and battery pack.

Parts List

10mm Super Bright LED – Green (LEDTT-108015)

10mm Super Bright LED – Yellow (LEDTT-108014)

10mm Super Bright LED – Red (LEDTT-108012)

CR2025 Coin Cell Battery (BATTG-202500) x 2

20mm Sewable Coin Cell Battery Holder (LILYB-008822)

Conductive Thread (LILYP-010867)

Conductive Fabric (LILFB-001220)

Neoprene Fabric

Black T-Shirt

In-Progress Pics

1 2

I started by embroidering the words and connecting the negative sides of the LEDs to the battery pack on the back of the shirt

3 4

Then I sewed in the soft switches, made with conductive fabric on either side of a thick neoprene fabric with a hole cut out

5

This is the illustration of how my circuit ended up laid out on my shirt

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Finished work!