Electro-Stitches: Free E-Textile Workshops

February’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Lee Jones to support a series of free e-textile workshops in Ottawa.

“E-textiles and having electronics in your clothes might sound like science fiction,” explains Lee, “but are actually a fun and easy way to learn all about electricity and building sensors. E-textiles combine learning craft techniques such as sewing, weaving, knitting, and crocheting with the added excitement of making a circuit work. Learning to sew with e-textiles also allows individuals to upcycle old clothes into items that are personally meaningful.”

“Typically,” continues Lee, “when individuals get started with electronics they need to purchase $100-$300 worth of kit. With e-textiles, instead of buying individual sensors and components, you can make your own out of a few conductive and resistive materials, and the rest you can recycle from old clothes or get at the dollar store. There are also added learning opportunities because you get to customize your sensors to your own needs, and learn about how they work along the way.”

In Lee’s introductory workshops individuals will learn all about soft circuits and get the chance to make their own. The workshops will cover the basics of sewing with conductive thread, how to build circuits, and sewing tools and techniques for putting everything together. Participants will also build off their new-found knowledge of soft circuits and start their own interactive projects, learning how to make soft sensors that can detect touch, stretch, and movement. No prior knowledge of electronics or sewing will be required.

For more information, and to sign up for a workshop, visit electrostitches.com.

Lee is a PhD student at Carleton University, researching ambient wearables at the Creative Interactions Lab. She also teaches the Bodycentric Technologies class at OCAD University in Toronto. She fell in love with e-textiles while doing research on wearables, and enjoys how they allow individuals to combine craft techniques and electronics.

Funded by Ottawa (February 2019)