Sewing basics

  • Threading a needle

Use a sharp fine needle suitable for the weight and weave of your fabric. Cut a length of thread (approximately 30cm - 40cm) and thread one end through the needle. Use a needle threader if you have one.










  • How to start and finish, and running stitch

Loop the other end around your forefinger a couple of times. Twist the loops by rubbing your finger and your thumb together. Slide your finger out of the loop and tighten the threads. This should form a knot. 


To finish, thread through to the wrong side of the fabric. Wrap the thread around the needle a few times and tighten the loop. Using a finger to hold down the loops, pull through the needle. This will form a knot. Cut thread. 

  • Basic stitches: running stitch, couching stitch

Couching stitch will be used in this project to attach the wire to the fabric. 

  • Couch wire to fabric 

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Embroider metal wire to fabric


  1. Cut a length of copper or silver wire (about 30 cm)

  2. Poke a length through the fabric from front to back, leaving around 10cm tail on the underside (this will be one terminal of your speaker). This will be the centre of the speaker, and your starting point.

  3. Gently holder the wire and cloth together between your thumb and index finger; have a threaded needle ready (with one end knotted).

  4. From under the fabric, bring your needle through the fabric close to your wire. Begin using couching stitch to couch (attach) the wire to the fabric. 

  5. Start to coil the metal wire in a spiral, turning the fabric as you go. Be careful that the wire does not touch itself at any point.

  6. When your spiral reaches about 4 - 5 cm in diameter, layer the paper onto the back of the fabric and start sewing this with the fabric. 

  7. Continue couching the metal wire until you have around 8 - 10 cm remaining. Knot and cut your thread.

  8.  Line up both ends of your wire to the edge of your fabric (one should be at the front, and the other at the back). If using conductive copper tape, tape these down.

Attach the Electronics

Supplied with this workshop is a little Amplifier chip on a breakout board. Wires have already soldered to the board.




  1. Connect the speakers’ terminals (taped onto the edge of the fabric or connect to the wire) the crocodile clips.

  2. Insert the other end of the crocodile clips’ wire to amp input, tighten the screws to secure. (The polarity, or positive/ negative terminal, is not important here.)

  3. Insert the Lipo battery into Amp board (JST connector).

  4. Insert the 3.5 audio jack into your audio player or phone (some phones may need an adaptor).

  5. Place the magnet on the table, then place your fabric speaker on top. Press play on your audio player and lean close to the speaker – you should be able to hear sounds!    



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Make your e-textile speakers standalone by sewing your magnets into a pocket on another piece of fabric. Attach your speaker fabric with the magnet and connect to the circuit. Place your e-textile speakers need your work area – plug in your phone or computer to hear your recordings of the environment.

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For the exhibition Spinning World, we created 18 of these fabric speakers sewn onto a wall hanging. These were connected to a sensor circuit triggered by the audience. The speakers plan an underwater recording of the Great Barrier Reef made by XL Catlin Seaview Survey.