Looking for intro to EL wiring for clothing project


Hello there,

I’m new to VHS, and came down to the open house tonight to see the space and meet folks. I ran into Andrew, who showed me around the different areas.

I’m a graduate of fashion design, so if you need help in the area of sewing, quilting or costuming/cosplay, I can offer my expertise there.

For a future project, I would like to make a hoodie with EL wiring, possibly sound activated, but I have zero knowledge of electronics beyond a middle school education.

Could anyone recommend any books, courses or websites that might be a good introduction to either EL wiring or just learning electronics in general? I am happy to read through long, boring and dry, but a sort of kiddie-kit might be helpful to dip my toes into learning. Don’t worry about being patronizing, I know absolutely nothing and am starting from the ground up.


There are lots of different ways to learn electronics. And lots of different types of electronics to learn! If you really want to read long and dry textbooks, I guess you could do that. But I think it’s more fun to learn by attempting projects that are just slightly (but not completely) beyond your ability. As your ability increases, so to does the difficulty of the next project. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past 5 years and it has worked well for me.

Adafruit is a good place to go for projects, tutorials, and products. Some stuff you can get locally from Lee’s Electronics if you would rather shop in person.

Adafruit has a bunch of tutorials on EL Wire projects.

When you have a question, come on VHS Slack and post in #random-projectry. Usually you’ll get more answers and opinions than you really wanted. :slight_smile:


Thanks for your help. How do I join VHS Slack?


No problem! You can generate a Slack account by going into the VHS member login at https://membership.vanhack.ca and then clicking the “Get Involved” tab.


Hey LauraA! Welcome to VHS! Don’t worry, none of us know everything and what I love best about VHS is that everyone is always learning something new, often from each other. So it’s great to have you with us! It’s great you have a background in fashion design - I have no idea about that stuff! :smiley:

In addition to Luke’s suggestion of Adafruit, there are llikely lots of EL wire projects on www.instructables.com. Check it out and feel free to ask questions here or on slack!

Looking forward to meeting you at VHS!

Janet :smiley:


Hello, I second adafruit. I also saw a company that makes LED and EL wire for use in sewing specifically at Calgary comic con. I’ll need to go through all my notes and find who they were


It might have been Shannon Hoover and www.makefashion.ca / stitchkit? He is Calgary based and part of the new-ish Fuse33 makersite.


Hi @LauraA
I may have a EL wire arduino shield you can have to run your EL wires

Arduino shields are hardware add one for a base arduino board that sort of stacks on.

Whenever you visit us next, I can dig it out for you.


A few years back I made up a couple of EL stick man costumes for Halloween…

They do look awesome when it is dark outside…
I can bring them in sometime to show you how I made them…


That is awesome @packetbob!


Yes! That’s them!


Thank you for the offer! I may take you up on that, however, after much researching, I need to go back and decide if the project I want to make requires EL wire, or if I should switch to LED sequins with conductive thread.

I will eventually figure out my first project, but for now I am helping to organize the sewing space to be more finished and functional.


LED sequin with conductive thread sounds cool as well
i should just offer an cautionary tale thought. We helped someone else with a wearable project involving RGB LED’s. we found that the conductive thread didn’t do a good enough job of sending the kind of rapid signal required to control the colors of LED
if you are just looking to light them up, the threads are good for that.


Super intrigued by the LED sequins. Do you have a link? I found these ones from Adafruit. Is that what you have in mind?


Yes, that’s what they’ve shown on their youtube channel, and I’d like to experiment with some sample work just to see what can be done.


I much prefer the adafruit sewable leds and controller. The el wire is hassle free but not very bright in my opinion compared to med