Earlier in the week the textile swatch was refined using black neoprene fabric, with an additional laser cut perforated texture to the textile tubing carrying the LEDs. With the new textile swatch Dave adequately showed us the exact requirements for wire connections and how they can be manoeuvred for different lengths. The women’s wear toile was also ready made with clever asymmetrical seems to hold the panels and assure it’s tight a fit. Mia drafted the pattern and Marie put the toil together. With this visual we were able to begin figuring out and assigning the LED placement. Whilst looking at the dress in it’s real proportions Rhona and Mariel thought of adding 3D printed inspired origami triangle shapes mimicking the geometry of the dress. This will be cleverly designed as another way for the light to travel.


Last week was very busy and exciting as we hosted two workshops. The couple of hours on Thursday flew by as we had loads of big decisions and calls to make. We worked out an idea of how the garment will function and now is the time to apply it.

For the swatching and garment design workshops, we built an array of RGB led consisting of 64 LEDS laid out in a grid of 8 x 8. Each line of LEDS were approx. 20mm apart. This allowed us to place various various materials over the array while an animated pattern was being rendered to see the effect through different materials. The array was powered by a 2500mAh 3.7v Lithium Polymer battery, and driven by a FadeCandy board. The FadeCandy is designed specifically to drive large arrays of RGB LEDs, and renders the colours in a much more pleasing way than other micro controllers. For the workshops, we were driving the patterns using a laptop, using demo FadeCandy software but the plan is to replace the laptop with Intel Edisons (running custom software) for mounting into the garment, as they are far smaller, and very suitable for wearable projects.

Dave showed us some very interesting examples of how to run images or patters through it.  It would be a very effective and straightforward solution to accommodate the LED display.  Mariel made a set of colorful rorschach images that she wanted to display on the garment and this prototype was a perfect example of how easily they could be projected on a garment.

Previous week Ivor introduced us to the essentials of the 3D printing. He printed out number of various little hollow domes that diffuse the light from the LEDs. 123D Design was used to draw the shapes.
More box like shapes that could be used to protect electronics and batteries were also looked at and test printed. Shetchup can be used to draw such objects…
General 3d printing design repositories were also briefly looked at including
We also played with a neat free utility for converting jpeg images to 3d printable shapes which might be of value. We aim to incorporate custom made 3D printed light diffusers in various shapes and sizes. These diffusers could replace the traditional embellishment.

We tried out various textile materials and swatches made earlier as diffusers and got some very interesting results and effects. This exercise was decisive in picking out the materials and textile manipulation techniques that are effective and suitable for showing the LEDs the way we want. At the moment the biggest challenge for us is to make a garment that is clever and innovative due to the use of technology but at the same time trendy and desirable for teens on a fashion plate!

Lucia introduced her initial design of the garment. She created a textile swatch that incorporated the LED strips into the fabric in a clean and interesting manner.  This way the garment will look complex and unique even if the lights are off.  Her dress design was influenced by the direct electronic concept.  The intensity of  LED display changes depending on the distance between the two outfits (the closer the brighter) and animates by touch. Sensors will be placed on shoulders, waist & hips. The animation will work like a plasma bulb, once touched at the certain sensor the light will travel to that sensor in two hues of color from all around the dress.  Each sensor changes the route how lights travel and uses different hues. After the ‘lighting’ animation the dress will light randomly – with hues of two colors animation assigned to the sensor that was touched last, until touched again.

To make this work we need to figure the electronics that enable outfits to react only to each other and to measure the distance between them.

At the moment the routes of LED strip on the dress are in a random criss – cross, zig – zag pattern.  This is a very specific way of display that is visually pleasing but the number of animations that could be displayed is limited as they only can be displayed in a single strips. The textile solution of attaching the LEDs to fabric is very interesting and it is something that we are going to use however we need to revisit the placement of LEDs on the dress. To show various animations the LED would have to be placed in a square grid. This is a obvious use of LEDs as a screen of sort and it is different to the final effect we want to achieve. The current placement is not very feasible because the LEDs are incorporated in a labor intensive rather than effective manner. We have to come up with a compromise solution that accommodates the function and elevates the design.

After a short discussion we decided to create a short jumpsuit and Miia started pattern drafting.

For the next session we still have to finalize the menswear part of the outfit and re-evaluate and redesign the dress. We discussed the idea of designing an oversize transparent multi- textured jacked – to go over the dress. This solution would maximize the textile part of the workshop and it would serve as an additional light diffuser that can bring our outfit to the next level.

FINDINGS from this event are described in the process of the 06 EVENT


Our forth event started with great presentations of the possible form. Number of participants came up with interesting and unique concepts that would accommodate the electronic function of the garment. With a rich visual aid in form of moodboards we all started to have a better idea of what kind of garment we’re going to construct. The term symbiosis was a popular choice for the secondary inspiration and a chunk of the visual inspiration was taken from the flora and fauna kindgdom. Dave gave us a run through the number of various electronics that we ordered for the experimentation and explained to the group how they need to be put together. It was very helpful and informative for the fashion designers and dressmakers to see and understand how the electronic elements need to function within the garment. Mia brought a few textile swatching sketchbooks from her students to give us an idea of what the swatch is, how can it be made and what is it purpose. This part of the design process is very important especially within this project as we are combining various materials. Rhona came up with a number of interesting ideas how to use static electricity from touch to generate movement of some nylon materials. This is a very interesting idea that could be introduced in the garment. We had a selection of fabrics, ribbons, sequences and beads ready for experimentation and we were able to try out numerous techniques. We also had the laser cutter at the ready and Mariel created possible patterns on how to manipulate light. Over the coming days we will create more textile swatches so we can combine them with electronics at our next event.


Our 3rd workshop took place on the 11th of April at 10am in the Makers room at Fab Lab Limerick. Early start on a sunny spring Saturday morning to finalize the function concept and have an initial discussion for the form of our garment. By now we have a core group of participants and we are getting to know more about each other each time we meet, as well as a few new comers with a fresh outlook and enthusiasm on the project.

We arrived prepared with narrowed down ideas (as we specified in the homework) for the function based on the initial concepts from our last workshop. This time around we had to choose one final idea to continue through out the rest of the project. We wrote all the ideas on our flip chart paper and discussed them as we went along, tightening up any loose ends. We put up our sheets of paper on the wall and had a 10min break to take it all in and think about our preferred selection before we put them to a vote.

After break Dave Hunt went through the function possibilities and limitations for each idea before we voted. It was difficult to pick the one but we came to a conclusion and smoothly agreed.

A lot of the ideas put forward overlapped with the technology involved so we feel comfortable and confident that the remaining ideas will be developed in the future. We had allocated one hour for this part of event but it ran though to an hour and a half. As this is the very important and decisive part of the whole project we dedicated as much time as needed to finalize the function without rushing.

Once we had our function and our market decided we started discussing the visual opportunities and a ways of how to approach the initial design of the garment.

At the end of the event we evaluated the skills within the group and mapped out what kind of equipment and materials we can individually offer to the workshops.


We started our second event in the Makers room / Fab Lab / at 8pm on the 26th of March. Even though it was quite late we got a great attendance with loads of people that came to our first event as well as few newcomers! I was very happy to meet everyone, as I wasn’t able to make it to the first event!

After a brief introduction (where we encourage people to join and post their research and interesting finds about the topic onto our Facebook page) we ground them into what to expect from this event. As we only had two hours we had a plan prepared that would ensure we get the most out of it!

First we divided ourselves into four random groups of five and brainstormed within the group for 30 minutes. Everyone had some ideas ready (as we specified this on the invitation) so the time was sufficient for each group to come up with a bunch of really cool ideas.

After the brainstorming session we put up all the sheets onto the wall and one speaker from each group introduce them to the rest of the participants. We allocated one hour to this part of the event and it was great! So many ideas sparkled up a refreshing discussion that sparkled up new ideas! We kept track of all the ideas for the final vote.

The aim of the evening was to have three concepts for the electronic feature of the garment, so to speak it’s function.

(for example it would lit up if one walks through dark space…or it would make a noise if I am falling asleep…)

No idea was too small or too big or too impossible!

(you can see the list of ideas in the ‘FINDINGS’ section of this post)

When all the groups finished their presentations we all took a short break to get some water and sweets (Thanks Ivor, great idea!) and think about the ideas. To be honest I found it really hard to pick three favourites as there was so many of them!

And then we voted!


Our speakers gave insight on the project. Mariel spoke about the structure of the workshops, and also gave some conceptually based examples.  Miia told us about the various textiles and also showed us how fabric can be manipulated with the use of the machines available at Fab Lab. Dave talked about the electronics and presented us with information on what can be achieved and Ivor gave an extraordinary end to our presentations telling us about 3D printing and modeling alongside examples of works he had done.


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