It’s Official: I’m a Fashionerdanista

fashionerdanista Skirt fashionerdanista skirt - twinkle, twinkle!

I made this skirt as my final project for the Wearable Media courses I took at OCADU.¬† Wearable media refers to garments, accessories, shoes, etc.–anything you wear–that contains¬† Boring details! Who cares? This skirt bloody LIGHTS UP WHEN I SHAKE MY BOOTY! Check out the video demo:

The skirt is a basic pencil skirt design — I grabbed one of my go-to pencil skirts from my closet and used it as a template to cut out a pattern for a new one using black ponte knit fabric. I also cut out an overlay from flower-covered stretch mesh fabric (which, for readers linked here from Project Sewn’s website, is my admittedly tenuous connection to this week’s Floral Frenzy Challenge). On top of the inner skirt, I stitched a long length of RGB LED string lights. I attached the string of lights to the skirt in a curvey-snakey pattern so that the skirt still can stretch in any direction, and I used a wide zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to tack the lights down every few inches. (I of course managed to stitch right into the wire of the string lights at one point, breaking the wire and forcing me to test out my soldering iron skills.)

The innards of the skirt: LED lights, Lilypad Arduino microcontroller

The innards of the skirt: LED lights, Lilypad Arduino microcontroller

Attaching the LED string lights using a wide zig-zag stitch every few inches.

Attaching the LED string lights using a wide zig-zag stitch every few inches. (No square inch in my house is not covered in cat hair.)

There’s a pocket at the waistband of the skirt that gives access to a neoprene panel onto which I sewed the “brains” of the skirt: a Lilypad Arduino micro controller, a battery, and conductive thread circuits that connect everything together.¬† On a separate fob I sewed an accelerometer, which basically detects motion, also connected to the micro controller with conductive thread. With help from the class TA, I wrote a program and uploaded to the Lilypad so that whenever the accelerometer detects a significant amount of movement, the lights twinkle.

Trying to figure out how to put together the electronic circuit

Trying to figure out how to put together the electronic circuit

I put the accelerometer on a sort of fob so that the wearer can choose to either tuck the fob into the pocket (in which case if you want the skirt to light up, you have to give your ass a shake), or you can wear the fob outside the skirt and give it a shake with your hand whenever you want the skirt to light up.

The fob that contains the accelerometer (motion detector).

The fob that contains the accelerometer (motion detector). I’m trying to pretend it doesn’t look a bit rude.

The little opening at the waistband seam to access the circuit board, battery, and accelerometer fob.

The little opening at the waistband seam to access the circuit board, battery, and accelerometer fob.

Such a fashionerdanista, no? Sewing and crafting mixed in with programming and electronic circuits. Right up my left-AND-right-brained alley. And by the way, I hereby copyright the shit out of that clever new term, if I do say so myself. Google has never even heard of it. UNTIL NOW.

Fashionerdanista? Never heard of it.

An Embarrassment of Blogging Riches!

I have been creating things like mad lately and have a LOT to blog about! I’m going to take some time over the coming days to craft some posts that will hopefully be interesting to read, but being windswept and interesting takes a fair bit of time and effort and in the meantime I am bursting at the seams. So here’s a quick preview of more detailed posts to come…

I made this ring! Like, myself!

Silver Curlicue Ring with Amethyst CZ

I made this necklace! And the big deal (for me, anyway) is that I made it at home out of silver clay. No need for a fully equipped jeweler’s studio!

Silver Rectangles Necklace

And I made some silver stacking rings — my first home soldering experiment. I have a picture but I realize my unmanicured, ruddy hand with angry red scratches from scrabbling around in the garden yesterday does NOT make an excellent modeling form.

And just today I completed a ‘sparkle skirt’ — a skirt for which I built electronic circuits and programmed it to twinkle with light whenever I shake my hips. It’s crazy.

Sparkle Skirt Wearable Electronics

Can you see those little red lights? They change colour, too.

I’m also trying desperately to get a Leading Lady entry ready for this week’s Project Sewn challenge, for which I’ve chosen Faye Dunaway as inspiration and a 70’s-style dress pattern with big-ass drapey sleeves. Not likely I’ll finish, though, with a big mother’s day dinner to be prepared for both moms tomorrow.

Hope to see you here in these pages soon with more details about these projects! Thanks for reading!