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Smart Stitches

Path Target Duration Skills
Discovery 18+ 4 hours E-Textiles, electronics connections, cross stitching embroidery, lasercut, textile narrative


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Introduction and context


Smart Stitches is a workshop that is designed to cater beginners (from different backgrounds) in e-textiles who are interested in using cross stitching embroidery technique in a different way to make to make interactive art pieces to tell stories.

Cross stitching is particularly chosen as it is an art that work with concepts highly related to coding/ programming specially in terms of the overall architecture.  The workshop is targeting to share inspiring thoughts through artistic interactive pieces while learning the basics of soft circuits. Reflecting on this patterning art, the multicolor, and cross stitches symbolizes the beauty of embracing diversity and unity.

Using traditional needle and thread arts is one of the interesting and diverse crafting arts especially when these traditional techniques are combined with new materials and fibers that make final pieces more than just a fabric.


The workshop will need a total of 4 hours; 1h 30min for a short introduction to e-textiles, cross stitching, demonstration and experiementing different interactive cross stitched circuits (advised to be prepared in advance). The remaining 2h and 30min is for the participants to start making their own small projects.

For a more advanced level, where participants have a prior skills of cross stitching embroidery, the art peices could be used to reflect their values, experiences and inspirations to tell stories through textile enhanced with smart stitching. However, for intermediate- advanced level of the workshop, it is recommended to conduct the workshop in two sessions each of duration 3-4h.

The ideal number for participants is 8-10 with the assistance of 2-3 instructors.


  • Understand how to use cross stitching embroidery can be integrated with smart threads/ fibers to add new values to art pieces.
  • Get an overview of e-textiles and smart materials.
  • Be able to build an interactive circuits (e.g. sensors, switches and actuators or a combination of all) using a traditional embroidery technique.
  • Get inspired by cross stitching analogy with programming and its power for storytelling and textile narriatives.

Target audience

Adults aged 18+ from different backgrounds

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the basics of the e-textiles and cross stitching.
  • Design and stitch simple circuits using e-textile fibers and threads.
  • Design an interactive piece of art to tell a story (bonus).

Preparation and materials

Equipment, Tools and Materials

  • Laser cutting machine
  • Tables and chairs
  • Projector for demonstration and laptops
  • Needles
  • Multimeter
  • DC power supply
  • Aligator clips
  • Magnets
  • Papers
  • Pencils
  • E-textiles and smart materials
  • Conductive threads
  • Conductive tape
  • Regular embroidery threads
  • Batteries (9V and 3V coin cell batteries)
  • Sewable LEDs
  • Colored felt
  • Metallic accessories (snap buttons, metallic zippers, metallic beads)
  • Regular beads

Workshop Slides

Implementation Guide

Demonstration Projects

Nothing makes concepts tangible more than examples.


The final piece



Linear Potentiometer

The final piece


Tilt Sensor

The final piece


Capacitive Touch Sensor





Photos from the Workshop

License and Credits

Attribution — ShareAlike CC BY-SA This activity has been designed by Sigrid Rotzler with the help of their ambassador: Tasneem Hussain for

Last update: December 23, 2022