Getting started with sewing electronics : books and manuals

Today I got a phone call by two ladies who are part of De geuzen, asking me : “hey Wendy, we want to start with sewing electronics into something wearable, where do we start?”

Immediately I see a lot of links flashing before my eyes, books, tutorials, manuals, all with their specific qualities and specifications. So here is an attempt to give an analysis/review of all these manuals/books/tutorials…

– If you don’t know much about electronics, I find Fashioning Technology a good book to start with. It explains quite elegantly how you can integrate leds, headphones… in what you make, also explaining how to add a number of leds (serial versus parallel) and how they need a resistor to function – all of this without even mentioning programming (so no Arduino’s here!). They also give a nice overview of what types of leds exist, what a resistor actually looks like and a little overview on all types of switches. The projects in the book I find that they can give good ideas, but they are not great – Interesting though, for the techniques which are used.


– The best tutorial to get some leds blinking with Arduino comes from Ladyada. Just gor from lesson one to five and all that code stuff – together with hooking it all up (including resistors) will start making a lot more sense. (ladyada also has a tutorial online on how to use a multimeter :-))

– Linking textile, electronics and Arduino is the free (both moneywise – and with a creative commons license) book called Open Softwear. A very nice buildup – linking the code to the textile stuff, looking at zippers as buttons. Give me more!

– On the Arduino website, in the playground part there is a great list of dowloadable books, booklets…

At this moment I’m looking at two in particular, both published under a creative commons license. They do drift away from the subject of electronics and textile, but they are handy if you want to delve more into the code, and tweak Arduino and all kinds of sensors into something you want to get working on.

The complete beginners guide to the Arduino says what it is. It starts of with blinking leds, but at the end there are some more funky projects, including dc motors. This one is definitely next on my reading list. The code for all the projects is here.

– Book two from the playground is dry. Code. Arduino. Called Arduino programming notebook. Great (sweat)!

It’s a lot of info – I know. My advice is to check out the images, because you probably already have something in mind. The next post will be more hands-on.

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