Making an e-Vest (electronic vest)
Added Jun 1, 2010
I didn't want the strip of LEDs to show when turned off, so I stitched the LED strip onto the side seam behind a strip of black fabric. For this fabric I used a stretch fabric with a rather coarse netting - it was dark enough to hide the strip when turned off, but transparent enough to allow most of the light to come through when lit. I had to make a new pair of battery holders, and larger ones because of the size of the new 6 volt batteries - I sewed these into the seam allowances of the hem behind the first set of battery holders. Also, I found the conductive thread didn't work well to carry the current for the LED strips - probably the higher amperage requirement of the LEDs was the source of the problem, but I'm guessing. So I used wiring instead. I sewed the black strip over the hem edge and onto the inside of the vest - this allowed me to embed the electronics (controller, wiring, batteries) between the lining and the outer fabric and let the wire trail across the hem hidden underneath the black strip. I left the infrared antenna (shown as the smaller of the two white wires coming out of the controller box on the diagram for the previous step) trailing slightly below the hem of the vest so that I could still control the LEDs, but, as I indicated earlier, the controller pad failed to perform when I needed it to (I used the vest as part of a more extended performance)! The LEDs did shine, but I had wanted to vary their intensity during the performance which I was unable to do.