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Nottingham Trent University Undergraduates Bring Some Sparkle to Their Textiles Projects

We had the pleasure of seeing and supporting a number of NTU undergraduate E-Textiles projects from the initial designs right through to the final stages. We loved working with the students and are really impressed with the level of detail that went into each design.

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As the students’ project client, we asked each student to design a fashionable garment using components from our Electro-Fashion range. This dreamcatcher-inspired dress (above) is one of the projects that has been delicately finished with blue LEDs.

Specification:

•The product will need to combine electronics and textiles.

•The product will contain components/kits from Kitronik.

•It will be an eye-catching piece of inspiration and will need to be presented well at trade shows and in Kitronik’s catalogue.

Laura Cooper, a Design and Technology Education undergraduate at Nottingham Trent University, knows about the pressures of ‘style’ all too well. Laura writes: ‘the obvious way to become more independent is to choose your own ‘style’. This could be from deciding which clothes you’re going to wear, to deciding how to decorate your bedroom to make it more your own space’. Laura came up with the novel idea of designing a fashionable piece of clothing that could also be used as an ornamental bedroom feature.

After extensive research, Laura managed to identify a common feature that appears in ‘a typical teenage girl’s bedroom’: fairy lights. Admiring the comforting mood that is generated by a string of fairy lights (whether they’re displayed neatly across the frame of a bed or a mirror, for instance), Laura decided to take this inspiration and incorporate it into a fashionable garment.

Design:

Laura’s design is multi-purpose. Not only is the product designed to be strutted down Fashion Show catwalks, but it can also be delicately hung over a bed, such as a headboard, in a more tranquil setting. The top-half of the garment is made up of grey stretch jersey in the shape of a vest with a neutral coloured chiffon material from the waist-down, making it ideal for draping over bedroom furniture and for giving the dress some freedom of movement when worn. The chiffon shines beautifully in the light, even in the day, which adds to the dress’ elegance. Laura also introduced a Native American feel to the project with the addition of a dreamcatcher: a willow hoop decorated with woven net or web, feathers and beads.

Introducing electronics to textiles:

Laura decided to use two Electro-Fashion Light Sensor boards in the E-Textiles circuit, which allow the connected LEDs to be turned on automatically when it is dark (when the boards are turned on). The Light Sensor boards have been stitched onto two separate strips of material that are both attached to the dreamcatcher on one end (see image below).

NTU Dreamcatcher

On the other end of the strips of fabric (above the Light Sensor boards) are two press studs that have been connected to the Light Sensor boards using conductive thread. Two more press studs have been stitched onto the dress (two on each shoulder) using conductive thread also.

NTU press studs

Laura has then stitched two separate strips of conductive fabric to the inside of the jersey down to the waist of the dress. From there, conductive thread has been sewn from each end of the conductive fabric into the chiffon material, connecting several blue LEDs. The circuit is complete as the dreamcatcher press studs are attached to the press studs on the jersey.

 

 

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Laura has received some great feedback and is happy of her achievements. Laura asked a teenage girl, who isn’t interested in electronics, for some feedback on the garment:

“I have always liked the idea of personalising my bedroom to make it more individual. I'm not one to use electronics in a product for my bedroom but if I was taught how to make a product similar to this for my bedroom, I would try giving it a go.’’

After all, we all have too many clothes hidden away in a jam-packed wardrobe... right?

Another NTU E-Textiles Project: an LED Fringed Scarf

Blue Sewable PCB LEDs have been added to this fringed scarf, which are activated once the 3V Coin Cell Battery has been inserted into the Sewable Coin Cell Holder.

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Useful links:

Robox 3D Printer
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