Beanie hat project using e-textiles

LED hat

I mentioned last week that I was doing some tutorials for Kitronik using their e-textiles components. Click here to see the first one which is a knitted beanie hat with a single standard LED. This is an ideal starter project that is quick and easy to make.  The circuit is created on a backing fabric which is then attached to the inside of the hat.  


The project uses a standard LED which is the cheapest one you can buy. The legs have to be bent into a loop so that they can be sewn down. You can do this with your fingers but round nosed pliers make this much easier to do. 

At first the standard LED can seem fiddly to use as identifying the positive and negative side of the LED is a little hard but you soon get used to this. The negative leg is shorter than the positive leg and there is also a small flat bit on the side of the LED bulb above the negative leg. Recognising this takes a bit of getting used to but it is a good checking mechanism if you have wound up the legs and then forgotten which leg is which! Where possible I always stitch the negative side of the circuit before twisting the positive leg and I find this system helps me avoid confusion. 

The legs are stitched down using conductive thread which joins the legs on the LED to the battery holder. The only thing you need to remember is to join the negative leg on the LED to the negative side of the holder (it is marked on the holder) and the positive leg to the positive side of the holder. Basic oversewing stitches are used to sew both the leg and the holder just the same as if you were sewing a popper on. 

The focus for some of the first tutorials I am doing for Kitronik is how to get the LED bulb to the right side of the fabric. You can just cut a hole and poke it through but in many cases the fabric will fray or give a poor quality finish so a method of neatening the hole usually has to be found. In the case of this hat an open knit has been used and the LED is pushed through the hole in the knit. 

E-textiles is a very exciting area of development within textiles with both fun and highly functional uses. I am really looking forward to producing more tutorials for Kitronik over the next few months.

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