EL Wire Hoodie

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Contributors: bboyho
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Sewing EL Wire

Start sewing at the EL wire's heat shrink and tie a knot around the EL wire. Continue making a loop around the EL wire to hold it down. When sewing with clear thread, make sure to pull the thread all the way through since the thread is slippery when sewn in certain fabrics. Be careful not to sew the front and back of the hoodie together. Also, ensure that the distance between each stitch is not too long. About 0.5" to 1.0" is a good stitch. Longer stitches can cause the EL wire to snag or become loose when wearing the EL hoodie.

Start Sewing at the Heat Shrink of the EL Wire

After about 5x stitches, loop back through the last stitch with an overhand knot to lock the thread in and prevent it from sliding.

Tying a Knot After 5x Stitches to Prevent the Clear Thread from Sliding

Continue sewing and remove any binder clips holding the EL wire down against the fabric. When sewing EL along the zipper, avoid looping the thread against the zipper.

Sewing EL Wire Beside Zipper

While sewing the EL wire, try holding the EL down against the fabric using your non-dominant hand. Pinch below the area that you are sewing using your thumb and ring finger. Then pinch above the area that you are sewing using your index and middle finger. This keeps the center area (where you will be working with the needle) taut so that it is easier to sew.

Repeat the Steps Outlined Above

Once you begin to run out of thread to work with, tie the clear thread down against the fabric. Then repeat the steps outlined above with another piece of clear thread.

Clear Thread Tied in a Knot

When you are finished sewing the EL wire down, make a loop with the end of the EL wire cable and sew the wire down for strain relief. Make sure this loop is beyond the heat shrink as the connection at the heat shrink is sensitive to bending.

Strain Relief

Plug the EL wire back into the EL inverter to test it out. If it lights up, you are good to go! Place the EL inverter in a pocket or clip to a belt to enjoy! If you are using an EL inverter battery pack, you may want to make an extension cable.

EL Wire in Pocket

Remember, EL wire works best in low light. It may be hard to see in daylight or in rooms with sources of light.

EL Hoodie in Room with Sources of Light

Front EL Wire Hoodie Low Light Back EL Wire Hoodie Low Light
Front EL Wire Hoodie Low Light Back EL Wire Hoodie Low Light

Different Hoodie Sizes

Remember what I said about the size of the hoodie? Different hoodie sizes will require different lengths of EL wire - this variation can cause the EL wire to not start or end where you expect it to. Note the difference in the image in the bottom right.

Youth Medium Hoodie with EL Wire Youth Large Hoodie with EL Wire
Youth Medium with EL Wire Youth Large with EL Wire

Sewing Into The Arms

Looking for a challenge? Sewing EL wire onto the arms can be difficult depending on the fabric being used and the amount of space you have to work with. Three pieces of corrugated cardboard were custom cut to fit inside a hoodie's arm to help with sewing. To assemble, cut half way into the cardboard about 0.5"-1"" away from the edge. It does not have to be perfect. Slide the cardboard pieces together and hot glue the joints.

Front View of Cardboard Braket

Front View of Cardboard Bracket

Trim down the edges as necessary to slide into the arm with ease.

Top-Side View of Cardboard Bracket Front-Side View of Cardboard Bracket
Top-Side View Front-Side View

Once cut and assembled, insert the bracket into an arm.

Cardboard Bracket In Arm

Clamp the fabric material down against the cardboard bracket and ensure that the fabric material is taut. Continue sewing clear thread down/up the arm.

Binder Clips Clipping Down Fabric Against Cardboard Bracket

The following shows standard EL wire sewn into the arms of an adult medium hoodie.

Front View Adult Medium with EL Wire Sewn into Arms Front and Side View Adult Medium with EL Wire Sewn into Arms
Front View with EL Wire Sewn into Arms Front-Side View with EL Wire Sewn into Arms