Making the Panning Switch
Magnets and conductive fabric are used to construct the panning switch. The conductive fabric gives a larger contact area (easier to touch two pieces of fabric together than two threads). The magnets keep the connections in place. You can certainly use another fastening – snaps could easily replace the conductive fabric and magnets.
It’s a good idea to first think of how you would like to finish your scarf (discussed more in the section below). If you are covering your entire scarf with another piece of fabric, you will want to make your switch on the other side of the fabric.
This is also where you can really personalise your scarf. Your conductive fabric patches can be whatever shape you would like.
- Cut out a piece of conductive fabric big enough to wrap around one of your magnets. Sew this around the magnet, you can use normal thread.
- Cut out a rectangle of scrap fabric or cut a piece of ribbon long enough to reach between the end of the mixer circuit and each of the contact points for the panning switch.
- Using conductive thread and leaving long tails at both ends of the stitching, stitch a line down the middle of the scrap fabric.
- Hand sew one end of the fabric or ribbon to the end of the mixer circuit.
- Sew the other end of the fabric or ribbon to the magnet covered in conductive fabric.
- Cut out 4 additional pieces of conductive fabric that will be your contact points for your switch.
- Using the tail of conductive thread from the trace to the right ear, appliqué the fabric to the scarf.
- Repeat for the left ear.
- The contacts for playing music through both ears is a little more tricky. You want to sew two contacts with the fabric, but they can’t touch or you will never be able to isolate the music to only one ear. However, they need to be close enough that the conductive fabric covering the magnet touches both contacts at the same time.
- Using normal thread, attach the remaining 3 magnets to the underside of the fabric under the 3 switch positions. Take care that you have magnets the right way around so that the switch attracts and doesn’t repel away from the contacts!
Preventing Short Circuits
Because the conductive thread is isn’t insulated like most wire, if the scarf folds over on itself, a short circuit can occur and the audio will no longer work. There are a number of ways you can solve this with the added benefit decorating your scarf. You can embroider over the conductive thread traces by hand or with a machine, appliqué with pieces or fabric, or cover the entire scarf with a second piece of fabric, tacking down the fabric in between the conductive traces. If you go with that last approach, you will need to have your switch on the opposite of the fabric from your conductive thread.