Skill Investigation: Embroidery

Made by Erin Fuller

Created: October 6th, 2018



I wanted to explore embroidery. I got interested in it this summer but only made one small thing. It was important also for me in this project to combine traditional embroidery with tech. 

The design I came up with is the big dipper constellation, a fitting thing to add lights to, along with a lyric to a song for my sorority. The diagram below shows my design along with the electrical diagram for the lights.

Design Diagram
Screen shot 2018 10 06 at 9.47.19 pm.thumb


I did not do any serious embroidery such as satin stitching, just running stitch and back stitch in this project, so the learning curve of the embroidery was pretty low. I chose to embroider the words first, then the lights, and finally finishing embroidery details such as the star connection. The lights were very much a trial and error process: I flipped the positive and negative sides, the conductive thread does not knot as well, and the pattern to make a parallel circuit was difficult.

My embroidery was not perfect and varied over the phrase as I tested out different techniques. For example, I think my "h" in "the" did not turn out very good, but "mine" of "shine" did. I guess this just proves that practice does make perfect. While using the conductive thread I was conscious of how many times it overlapped because I was scared of short-circuiting the circuit but it ended up working out fine. 



I am very happy with my final outcome. The project was pretty cool in how it combined this ancient low-tech skill with (higher?) tech by adding lights.



Reflect on the process of making this project. What did you learn? What would you do differently?

Again this was a lot of trial and error, mostly on the tech side, but overall very satisfying to finish this project. If I did this again, the only thing I would do differently is slow down and pay more attention to detail. This isn't like a drawing where you can erase and redraw one part, if you don't like a part of an embroidery project you either have to suck it up or redo a large part of your project. 


Sample Book