final post

1. What does it do and how does it work?

Click here to see Video

This dress has led lights on it that pulse to sounds around it.  A microphone in the back of the dress picks up sound, which signals the lights to turn on and off making the lights flash to the sounds around it.  The middle two panels light up to different volumes than the outer two panels on the dress to mimic the layers in the music or sound surrounding the dress.

This dress has a hand dyed skirt and the wire is hand stitched onto the dress

2. Overall

I am really happy with my project overall.  This is the first time that I have ever done anything with programming and my dress turned our better than my original plan.  The process was frustrating because I would think that I would have everything programmed correctly and stitched correctly, but when I would plug it in it wouldn’t work.  After working through all the programming problems, I am happy with my project.

3. Largest Hurdles

The largest hurdles I encountered was when I found out that using the EL wire was not going to work with my microphone.  Once we found out that I couldn’t use the EL wire I had to change my design, but I think it changed for the better.  The next largest hurdle was making sure that there weren’t any shorts causing the dress to light up.  Lastly the largest hurdle was picking the right volume to have the lights respond to.

4. How well did your project meet your original project description and goals

The final dress is a completely different design from my original description.  Originally I wanted to have a dress that had EL wire outlining the silhouette and two different style lines.

As the class time went on I decided that i wanted to have a sensor that would make the dress respond to sound.  When I tried to hook up the EL wire up to the microphone, the microphone wouldn’t work.  Therefore I had to scrap the EL wire and just use strands of LEDs.

The only thing that remained the same was lights on a dress.  I think as the semester went on I realized that I could do more with programming that I thought I could.  The final project ended up being more interesting and interactive than my original design so I am very happy with it.

5. If I had more time

If I had more time I would experiment putting lights under the skirt fabric so you would only see the lights when they would light up.  I would have also liked to program each panel separately so that each panel would respond to different volumes.  I would also like to experiment with ties and bow ties for guys.

week 6

What I did this week.

I finally sewed together my dress above.  it is almost complete I just have to sew in the zipper and sew the waist together.

I also finally got my lights to beat to music.  I took a video but it was too large to put on here but I can show it in class.

successes this week

most definitely getting my mic to work with my lights.


it took a long time to figure out that the problem with the mic reading sounds was the el wire so I had to scratch the el wire and just order more lights but i overnighted them and they should be here on monday.


feeling really good at this point where I’m at and will finish by friday.




Week 5

What did you do this week?

my electronics finally came in!!

worked with a fellow badger to get some music i could use for the show. it is his own mixes of songs, but I didn’t know how to post them into this post but I can show them in class.

Success this week

finally got some music I like to work with! and I had a fabulous weekend with my family over thanksgiving.


I forgot that you needed to be on UW net to post so this was the first time that I was able to get on that internet and make a post.  Another failure I had was not having time to program but that is happening this evening and the rest of this week.


Feeling good about where I am at.  I think that with a few all nighters I will be able to have the lights programed by friday.


Week 4

What I did this week:

This week I worked on patterning my garment.  (see images above) it is finished except for the inserts.

Successes this week

I finished patterning which was a huge success.  I also figured out how much fabric I need so I can go purchase fabric over thanksgiving break.

Failures this week

largest failure was not getting my electronics in time to work on today in class.  But both my brothers are computer science majors so over break I will be able to pick their brains on how to do something if I have questions.


I have gotten rid of the original schedule.  Now, I plan to start programing when my electronics arrive and will hopefully be able to finish programing over thanksgiving break and get my fabric so I can start sewing on my real fabric when I get back from break.



week three

1. what did you do?

Finally decided exactly what I wanted to do.  The lights on the dress will beat to the music or noise around it.  I ordered three 3m long el wire and three 10 foot long strings of led lights. This will allow me to program all six strings of light to respond to different volumes of sound.

I ordered all of my supplies.  It should arrive by next Friday so I can start programing on Friday.

2. problems

the el wire needs to go through an inverter so it was just an extra cost, but that is minor.

3. successes

I finally ordered everything that i need so i can get going on programing

4. Schedule

next week I will begin programing and continue pattering.  I feel behind because i just ordered my supplies but I’m hoping that because I combined this final project with another class I will have plenty of time to devote to this project and can start making better progress.

Week 2

talked to Kevin about how to hook up my EL wire to the Arduino to allow for multiple strands of EL wire to be hooked up.

played around with style lines on the dress form to see how far three meters would get me.  What you see is three meters, so I will need at lease 6 more meters to get the look I was going for.

this is what the style lines look like under fabric.  I’m just playing around with different look.

where all the hardware will be hidden.


got the EL wire to light up and played around with a couple of style lines


Realizing that there will be more bulk than I was hoping for in the back of the dress but hopefully that will be covered by the fullness in the train.


I am behind schedule, but hopefully I can pick things up in this coming week.



moving forward:

-keep patterning

-figure out how much EL wire I will need.

-Figure out how I will make the lights flash to the beat of music using a sound sensor.


EL Dress


Fitted structured dress with a long train.  EL wire is used to outline the silhouette and emphasizing two different style lines as well as illuminate inserts from underneath.  There will be two different style lines that will be illuminated at different times.  This dress is meant to be seen in a fashion show or installation atmosphere


Fast and Furious cars are my main inspiration.  The sleek lines of the car are mimicked in the outlining of the style lines and the silhouette.  Fast and Furious cars are illuminated from underneath, which will be mimicked in the inserts.


-Sew dress
-Couch EL wire onto dress on both inside and outside. (there will be a lining)
-Power it through battery pack under train in back of the dress
-Program EL wire with the arduino to turn different style lines on and off.
      –There will be two different sets of style lines
Back up Plan:
        If all else fails, I will only illuminate one set of style lines.
-Week one
      -Play with el wire and figure out how much I will need
-Week two
       -Start sewing and ordering el wire
-Week three
       -Continue sewing and start couching on el wire
-Week four
       -Finish couching on el wire  and start programing
-Week five-eight
       -Finish programing and start making sure everything is working
       -Make sure that lights stay on for a long time