Since I found a few keyboards in a skip last year i have been dabbling around with what you can use the parts for (such as my older project and some of the other cool keyboard projects floating around instructables) I'm not *really* obsessed... I just think that you can get a lot of cool stuff out of keyboards. That and they stare at me when i'm working away in my lab (It has comics, art bits, skip findings, nerf guns and mess - essential components that no lab should be without :P)
Anyhoo... theres a terrible student night in wrexham every wednesday - repetitive track list, booozy innebriated frotteurs (its better to not know what that means... trust me) but hey... the drinks are cheap. A select group of art students (ie anyone who has no shame) tend to set their own "theme" for the night - for kicks really, although we do put a lot of effort into it. There have been pirate, pinup, robots/cyberpunk, mermaids (i went as the sea :p) and knights and damesels in distress themed nights and since we are all penniless art students... we have to get a bit creative for the costumes. Anyhoo, tonight is a(nother) cyberpunk night and i'm going to show you how to make this top. (It doesnt help that i've just finished a william gibson and so am all hopped up with cyberlust :p)
PS. machines and tech gubbins make more sense to me than cloth and textiles but its all just the same, the words are different...
Step 1: Materials
You will need:
2 quite close fitting tshirts... The outer one is the one we are going to be attaching the keyboard to and it works wll if this is a dark colour. Likewise the inner one should be a bright colour or contrast in order to show up through the holes and make the circuits visible.
The contact wafer from a computer keyboard - these are several sheets of plastic which the keys touch, making the computer register a keypress. If you can carefully seperate them out we want the two outer ones with the circuit tracings on. You need one of these for each window you want to make.
*WARNING* - non tech bits (ie you might need to borrow/use the aid of a friend who is more or a textile geek than you - cheers again jess!)
Sewing machine - you need one that is more suited to working with leather and possibly with thicker needles in order to get through the plastic. Try out with a test sample first to see if it will work or a splode O_o
Step 2: Placement
Turn your tshirt inside out and then place the circuits where you want them to appear on your top, bearing in mind that it is inside out. When satisfied, pin in place with pins. not hands. Gaffer *could work in a pinch. Make sure that you have the material as flat as possible to prevent unsightly creases and use enough pins so it wont move around when sewing. Also make sure you only pin them to one side of the tshirt. If both layers are pinned then theres more chance that you will sew across the both of them.
Here i opted for three windows that crossed around my body like steps (you cant see the top one but that is pinned to the other side)
Step 3: Sewing
All we are doing is using a simple zigzag stitch around the edges of the board (hands modelled by the lovely jess... i couldnt keep my nails that long O_o).
If you havent used a sewing machine before there are instructables on how tothread a sewing machine. All you then need to do is to line up the run you want stitching (making sure the other parts arent in the way), place the foot down and insert the needle and then start sewing. Dont go too crazy, if you dont fully depress the footpedal then it goes nice and slowly. When you reach a corner, make sure that the needle is down in the fabric, lift up the foot and swing the piece around so you are lined up with your next run. Drop the foot back down (IMPORTANT) and proceed on your merry way. When you come to the end of the rectangle sew forwards and backwards a few times to seal the stitch (we were using a nobby machine that had a button that did this for you) and raise the foot and needle up and cut the thread away. Repeat with all your squares and you are done. yaay!
Step 4: Scissorstab!
With the stitching done all you need to do now is to turn the t shirt right side out and cut away the fabric inside of the stitching. I chose to do this in basic capsule shapes but you could even do words or graphis and things. As this is a very basic version these might frey eventually so the more textiley peeps of you might want to cut and seam these before you put the circuits behind them... but meh.. effort.
Step 5: All Done!
Now put this over you lighter layer and you have a cool top, ready to go out and confuse the locals with . Looking back i think i would have stuck to doing just one panel more at chest/normal tshirt level for best effect but if anything i'm always a bit ambitious.
Other ideas to try might include painting the circuits or the back side of the plastic with uv reactive paint (or wearing a uv top underneath) for extra raver glow when in the clubs or even wiring circuits using the contacts as a base. (yeah i suppose you could keep all the original wiring intact and sew the entire 3 layers of circuit as one panel to have a fully functional keyboard in your chest bt kids these day will do anything for a bit of touch :p) Any feedback/ideas would be awesome. Grin!