LED Shirt Does It With Tulle

Given that we are living in what most of humanity would now call “the future”, we really ought to start acting like it. We’re doing okay on the electric cars, but sartorially we’ve got some ground to make up. Helping with this effort is [Amy Goodchild], who put together a fancy LED shirt for all occasions.

The basis of the shirt is an ESP8266 running the FastLED library, hooked up to strings of WS2812B LEDs. It’s a great combination for doing quick and simple colorful animations without a lot of fuss. The LED strips are then fastened to the shirt by sewing them on, with heatshrink added to the strips to give the thread something to attach to. Tulle fabric is used as a diffuser, hiding the strips when they’re off and providing a more pleasant glowing effect. Everything is controlled from a small box, fitted with an arcade button and 7-segment display.

It’s a fun piece that’s readily achievable for the novice maker, and a great way to learn about LEDs and sewing. We’ve seen other similar builds before, such as this glowing LED skirt. Video after the break.

13 thoughts on “LED Shirt Does It With Tulle

  1. “we are living in what most of humanity would now call “the future”” Hey man, I lived in the past and I got out for a reason! Anyhoo I have to admit for future couture this is a hell alot better than the one piece silver jumpsuits that people usually wear in “future” movies, how do you even go to the bathroom in those!?

    1. “this is a hell alot better than the one piece silver jumpsuits that people usually wear in “future” movies”

      Well, people are getting around in one piece white jumpsuits now so we’re half-way there… thank-you COVID-19!

  2. Seems to me if you are really going to add electronics to clothing the electronics should be in pockets/tubes and held with magnets so the whole thing can be removed in sensible sections for washing.. The stiffness of LED strip will wear the garment out in a few washes and/or break when washing. Also if you have tubes for your LED’s you need only a collection of different length strips for different tubes so many garments can use the same parts which is so much cheaper.

    I can’t really see the point in bling electronics at least – if you are adding ECG, air quality, any form of sensing that would be useful either to the wearer or those around them it makes sense.. but just blinking damn lights not even a VU meter mode for flair!?!? I’d love to have blinking lights on a cycle shirt tied to gesture control for indicators for example – hard to use the excuse didn’t see you for those scumbags that always try to kill cyclists if you are light up better than a car, with useful signal information provided as well (A project I might just get round too if I ever manage to pick up cycling again)!

    1. I make light-up clothing for festivals, where it’s not only in vogue, it helps you not get run over by bicycles/vehicles. Plus, it’s fun.

      I’ve tried sewing a pocket and threading an LED strip through it, but the LED strip kept wanting to twist and face the wrong way (possibly because of wiring between the steps, although I did use pretty flexible silicone wire).

      Are you thinking rigid tubes? For non-costume usage, I’ve found white pex to be a good holder and diffuser. With good strip placement, it diffuses pretty evenly almost behind the strip even. Not sure if that’d be too stiff to be comfortable or too bulky for wearables, but it would protect the strip. Plus, it’s somewhat flexible.

  3. At first I thought, “Why is the box so big?” Then I saw everything you put into it. I really like the LED animations and the ease of selecting another mood. I like how it looks and does not look too bright. It is very well done.

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