Wearing Light: Mabel’s Halloween Sweater

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Mabel Pines is a main character from the popular cartoon, Gravity Falls. She’s the fun-loving, effervescent sibling of her occasionally wet blanket brother, Dipper.

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Mabel Pines is known for her vast collection of turtleneck sweaters, which tend to feature things that are cute, cuddly, fantastical and hilarious. In the opening credits of the show, Mabel can be seen wearing a plug-in sweater featuring her name, light-up stars and a rainbow.

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For the project “wearing light”, I wanted to create a sweater that Mabel would conceivably wear. I wanted to make it feel cozy and homemade, with the same adorable and whimsical spirit present in the rest of Mabel’s wardrobe. I originally had this idea around Halloween, hence the subject matter of the sweater.

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PARTS LIST

  • Conductive Thread Bobbin – 30ft (Stainless Steel); DEV-10867
  • 4 LilyPad LED Red; DEV-14013
  • 2 LilyPad LED Blue; DEV-14012
  • 2 LilyPad LED Green; DEV-14011
  • Crafting Felt (multiple colours); Michael’s
  • 9V Battery Snap; BATTH-900010 (Creatron)
  • 9V Battery
  • Sewing Needles
  • Gildan Heavy Blend Crew Neck (Purple)
  • Fabric Painting Medium
  • Embroidery Thread (multiple colours); Dollarama

PROCESS

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First order of business was to test my circuit. I was planning on wiring 8 LED’s in parallel and wanted to make sure that this was in fact possible before starting to sew. Lo and behold, for some reason unknown to me, this circuit wasn’t lighting up completely, so I started swapping out LED’s until…

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VOILA!

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I made a few concept sketches of my ghoulish creatures until I was reasonably satisfied with the look and feel, then I cut everything out of crafting felt.

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I experimented with different colours of LED’s for the eyes, and I eventually settled on a set that functioned in the circuit with no funny business.

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At this point I was ready to start sewing, so I made a chalk outline with some edges of the characters to make sure that everything would line up and there wouldn’t be any wonky eyes (although that wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world). I started by sewing in the battery snap and went chronologically from there, using a new thread at each connecting point in the circuit. I made sure to space my negative and positive traces sufficiently away from one another. I created arcs from each LED, where the traces get dangerously close to one another and the risk of a short goes up.

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Some reinforcement for the snap.

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OMG it works!

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Further reinforcements using fabric painting medium to seal the traces.

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I used embroidery thread to affix the ghouls to the garment, and there you have it! Mabel’s Light-Up Halloween Sweater!

*IMPORTANT NOTE*

At the time of this writing, the 9V battery snap unfortunately detached from the garment, rendering Mabel’s poor sweater in need of repair, and a robust pouch to protect the snap’s thin wire from wear and tear.

 

Wearing Light – Augmented Voguing Shirt

Born from the queer and predominantly black youth in Harlem, ballroom has grown to an international scene and still serves as a platform for all types of creativity. Participants compete at balls where they try and win different categories and make a name for themselves. The best known of these categories is performance (vogueing) which has found mainstream recognition with dancers touring with Rihanna and FKA Twigs.

The most common form of vogue now is vogue fem which consists of “…Dramatics(which emphasizes stunts, tricks, and speed) to Soft (which emphasizes a graceful, beautiful, easy flow and flow continuations between the five elements)” Voguing

Catwalk: Catwalking is an exaggerated feminine walk where the legs are crossed over each other, the hips are thrust from side to side, and the hands are thrown forward in opposition to the legs.

Hands: In performance the hands of the performer should tell a story. Often this is the component of performing used to throw shade. For example miming an expression of horror at the way the opponents face looks.

Floorwork: This component demonstrates the competitors sensuality as they roll, twist, and otherwise move on the ground in such a way as to capture the attention of the judges.

Spins and Dips: This is the showiest component of vogue. These are the turns on beat, and the drops to the floor. A spin or dip is only done correctly when it executed with the climax happening on the beat.

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For this piece I wanted to use a noise reactive inverter to respond to the harsh vogue beats and to arrange the EL wire to create a stylized feminine curve that voguers strive for.

Parts List

Part Number Part Description Quantity Supplier Cost
ELWRE-050802 EL WIRE – RED 1 Creatron Inc. $13.99
ELPWR-086100 EL WIRE SOUND ACTIVATED POCKET INVERTER 1 Creatron Inc. $15.95
BATTH-411109 AA X 4 CELL BATTERY ENCLOSURE 2 Creatron Inc. $1.95 x 2 = $3.90
COPER-010561 COPPER TAPE – 5MM (50FT.) 1 Creatron Inc. $5.50
TOOHH-009317 HELPING HAND WITH SOLDERING STAND 1 Creatron Inc. $14.00
TOOCU-151826 26AWG PROFESSIONAL WIRE STRIPPER 1 Creatron Inc. $12.80
TOOCU-008794 4″ DIAGONAL CUTTER 1 Creatron Inc. $4.00
5mm Black Heat Shrink 1 Creatron Inc. Unknown
N.A. Invisible Thread 1 Creatron Inc. $3.38
N.A. Black Shirt 1 American Apparel/previously owned $0.00

Circuit Diagrams

Circuit Illustrations

An illustration of the circuit layout

This piece was not as well realized as I would hope but I gained experience sewing with clear thread and working on a mannequin. Future iterations would involve drafting a specific pattern, ordering sewable EL wire and diffusing the light through fabric choices.

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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

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

Process Pictures

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^^ 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

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^^ 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

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^^ 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

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Wearable Light – Asymmetrical Vest

– Description –

I’ve designed a casual asymmetrical vest, that is longer in the front and short in the back to fit into a modern style. It can be layered with many different styled shirts, such as, long and short sleeve, casual and dressy tops. Also add accessories to spruce up the piece, infinity scarves, long and short necklaces, add a belt in the middle of the vest to emphasize body shape.

I cut conductive fabric into strips to playfully blend into the vest in a stylish way. The fabric is made of organic cotton and hemp that is nature-dyed using indigo.

The type of light used are white LED’s that are attached at the bottom of the  conductive fabric, while the light source is hidden inside the vest. The bendable plastic is used to diffuse/play/experiment the LED lights.

 – Pictures with Process –

Vest designed completely by ‘draping’. Started off with a large rectangle piece of fabric and pinned onto the mannequin, then shaped and cut accordingly to style. Size was not a concern since the mannequin is a certain size and the shirt naturally builds to the size of the mannequin.

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RIGHT: Front of bodice, pinned into place. LEFT: Back of bodice with darts

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Continuously ironing fabric and seams for a nice clean finish. Set heat on iron to ‘cotton’ setting to properly take out wrinkles. Fold seams twice to prevent fraying.

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LEFT: Half back of bodice (left side) ironing out darts and cutting off extra fabric. RIGHT: Checking placement of front bodice, figuring out bottom shape of vest. Folding in seams.

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LEFT: Back bodice, pinned into place, cut off extra fabric RIGHT: Side view of bodice, pinned into place.

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LEFT: Bottom view of front bodice RIGHT: top view of vest

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LEFT: Sewing in seams, taking out pins during process. RIGHT: Sewed three pieces of the vest together at the top first, working my way down.

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LEFT: Closer shot of how the shoulder fits onto mannequin, shortened the length of the extra fabric to even out the short sleeve. RIGHT: folded in seams and smoothed out fabric for the sides.

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LEFT: Continued double fold of seams to prevent fraying and prepare to attached sides together (pinned seams and pieces in place)

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RIGHT: Finished sewn back bodice RIGHT: Finished sewn front bodice

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LEFT: Finished sewn side bodice (left side facing towards viewer) RIGHT: Finished sewn side bodice (right side facing towards viewer)

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LEFT: Preparation for conductive fabric. Cut into strip on cutting board. RIGHT: Placing strips onto vest (ironing on)

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Finished ironed on conductive fabric strips

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LEFT: Started to hand sew power source and connections. Running stitch. RIGHT: Hand sewn LilyTiny

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LEFT: Final product, successful LED light up! One did not light up, possibly due to connecting running stitch was too long.

RIGHT: Added plastic fabric to ‘extend’ or ‘brighten’ the LED light, which was somewhat successful depending on which angle the plastic fabric bends.

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Bending plastic fabric by hand. A small light is extended through, shown in the middle of the two LED lights.

 

– Materials & Parts Used –

Conductive fabric (silver), Conductive Thread 28 Ohm 30ft Bobbin LILYP-010867, White LED (lilypad) 250MCD W Resistor LILYP-010811, Resistors 100Ω RESIS-521002 RESISTOR X10PCS 1/4W 5%, LilyTiny DEV-10899 ATtiny85 LILYP-010899, Battery Chameleon 3V CR2032 Lithium, Power Source MPD BA2032SM.

All above items purchased from Creation Inc. 349 College Street, Toronto.

Fabric: Hemp and Organic Cotton, Indigo Nature Dye, 100% Polyester thread.

All above items purchased from Material Art and Design Studio Fibre Office, 100 McCaul Street Toronto Room 201a

– Circuit Diagram & Layout – 

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