Bag lady gets lit up! Part 1

A while ago I bought Jon Witt’s book: Wearable-Tech projects with the Raspberry Pi Zero

I’ve been concentrating on Chapter 3 ‘Sewable LEDs in Clothing’ and have read the two previous chapters so that I understand how to make my clothing item run ‘headless’, that is, without needing a screen or mouse to get it started.

I decided to make a light-up bag because it wouldn’t need washing too often – rather than the t-shirt that was recommended in the project notes. Having said that, the LEDs from CPC Farnell LEDs and the conductive thread which I got from Pimoroni – conductive thread (a long time ago when we were doing TedBot – the teddy project ) are both washable.

Here’s what my bag looks like with it’s sewing done but no coding or power added.


The metal press studs (or snaps) are just from a cheap hardware store and they make it possible to remove your Pi Zero so you can wash the item.

I am using a Pi Zero W but it’s not vital to have Wi-Fi.  I also decided to use a pin header so I added one with a Pimoroni hammer header kit – but you can buy them ready fixed now on the model called Pi Zero WH.  Using a header is different from the way Jon (in his book) constructed it, but I wanted to make it easy to use the Pi Zero again later for another project. It also required less soldering.

The coding went fine and I was relieved to see that my sewing and connections all worked.


The soldering of wires to the press studs was challenging but after some failures each wire stayed put so the LEDs all lit up when the code was run.

Getting it to work ‘headless’ was more challenging so I’ll leave that to Part 2.

Happy making and tinkering!






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