Make this decorative & fun light up ladybird bag with 3 LEDs that are programmed to have 3 settings: continuously lit all the time, flashing together slowly, or flashing in turn quickly. The LEDs will switch off automatically after about 30 minutes to conserve battery power and saves you having to remember to switch them off. The bag is made using a mixture of hand and machine sewing but it could be made completely on the sewing machine or all by hand.
Learn how to:
- Create an e-textiles project from scratch.
- Use a flasher control module.
Level of difficulty:
In order to make your light up ladybird bag you will need:
- 2 squares of red felt and one black (approx. 23cm square).
- Embroidery thread in red and black.
- Ordinary sewing thread in red.
- 85cm of black cord.
- 10cm zip.
- 30cm pipe cleaner (optional).
- Flasher controller kit.
You will also need the following equipment:
Step by step guide to making a light up ladybird bag
On the back panel for the ladybird, mark on the zip position using a removable fabric marker. Mark the top of the zip and the bottom just above the metal bar.
Cut the opening between the 2 markings for the zip.
Use a sewing machine to stitch the zip into place. Don't forget to use a zip foot on your machine. You could stitch this section by hand if you wish. The back panel is now complete.
On the middle layer of felt for the body, use the paper pattern to help you mark on the position of the 2 LEDs for the eyes, as well as the LED in the centre of the body. Use a removable fabric marker pen to do this.
Place LED 1 in the position indicated on the pattern template. Over-sew the negative side of the LED into position using conductive thread.
Place the flasher controller unit in the position shown on the pattern template. Follow the template and stitch running stitches to get from the LED to the positive side of the flasher controller unit. Note that you must use a new piece of thread. Make sure your stitches are not close to the positive side of the unit.
Over-sew the positive side of LED 1 onto the backing fabric. Use running stitches and follow the pattern template to get to the positive ring on the flasher controller unit. The first side of your circuit is now complete. You can test your circuit if you want to by putting your cell into the holder and pressing the button.
Place LED 2 into the position shown on the pattern template and oversew the negative side onto the fabric. You must use a new piece of thread to do this. Use running stitches, and follow the pattern template to get the negative side of the flasher controller unit. Oversew the negative side of the flasher controller unit into place.
Using a new piece of thread oversew the positive side of LED 2 onto the backing fabric. Use running stitches and follow the pattern template to get to the positive ring on the flasher control unit. The second side of your circuit is now complete.
Insert the cell into the flasher controller unit. Test your circuit by pressing the button on top of the flasher controller unit (once to light up all LEDs, twice for them to flash slowly, three times for them to flash quickly in turn, and four times to switch the unit off.
Cut open a small gap just below the opening on the flasher controller unit. The gap needs to be big enough to allow you to access the cell.
Use a sewing machine to attach the cord to the middle layer of felt for the body.
Cut the pipe cleaners into 6 lengths that are 4.5cm long.
Use over-sewing stitches to sew the 2 sides of the feet together, trapping the pipe cleaners into position as you sew. The top of the pipe cleaner should sit about 0.5cm below the top of the leg.
Use a sewing machine to attach the legs in to position on the middle layer of felt for the body. The middle body layer is now complete.
Use a running stitch to stitch the line in the middle of the ladybird’s back into position on the top of the ladybird fabric. Use the pattern template as a guide and note there is gap between the 2 lines where the hole for the LED will be cut later. Another embroidery stitch of your choice, or alternatively the sewing machine, can be used for this stage.
Using the pattern template as a guide, blanket stitch the ladybird spots and head into position. Another embroidery stitch, or alternatively the sewing machine, can be used for this stage.
Using the pattern template as a guide cut 3 small square holes big enough for the flat bulb on the LED to poke through. If you wish a small amount of fabric glue can be used on the LEDs to keep them in position in the holes that have been cut. The top of the ladybird is now complete.
Place all 3 layers of the ladybird together. The layer with the circuit on it is sandwiched between the top and back pieces.
Blanket stitch around the edge of the ladybird stitching through all 3 layers. Another embroidery stitch, or alternatively the sewing machine, can be used for this stage. This tutorial was produced for Kitronik by Julie Boyd
who is a specialist in e-textiles design. Download a pdf version of this page here
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