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How I made a light sweater

The making of a LED light sweater.

This is technology is infused with fashion mainly with LED lights in a sweater.

There are countless examples of wearable media for the past 200 years, like the pocket watch. This is my modern example of wearable media. My concept of the shirt was to create a sweater for the urban environment to make traveler more visible especially while doing mild-mannered activities like biking, roller blading or jogging.
Firstly, the gadget I used to create this sweater to light up is called a Lilypad. This is from a kit that has programmed parts to operate in a programmed pattern. The kit has large holes that people use to sew them on garments with conductive thread. The kit had a few LED lights, light sensor button and a push button with a battery port. It lights up in a few different ways like remaining on flickering quickly, blinking in a 2:1 beat or lighting one side then the other.

I also needed basic understanding of how electric works and how current flows through circuits. And I also made a sweater pattern. This was also the first sweater I have ever made.

The beginning of the sweater
The beginning of the sweater

I managed to make the sweater all with a circular loom set. I knitted the two sleeves and body in under a week. It was really quick. The only thing I didn’t encounter was that I didn’t measure the size of the torso that well and it was under sized. I made an extra piece of fabric to be able to fit the sweater.

When I was sewing the LED lights onto the fabric it’s a lot like sewing buttons on a shirt. I would have to sew three stitches just to be able to make conductivity. It took awhile to achieve. If the stitches are not tight enough, cross paths or not double threaded the lights won’t work.

The final sweater lit up.
The final sweater lit up.

At the end of making the sweater looked good (for a beginner.) The lights work and blink. My button to control the back is behind the decorative button. The light sensor control the different lighting functions like blinking. The lights are on a small piece of fabric that folds into the sweater. The lights are still visible inside the sweater.

In the future, I might wear this has a novelty but not really with the lights on. That’s more of a clubbing thing… or Christmas, Halloween or New Year’s Eve.

Images by Under the Moonlight
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