Dusty DIY: How to Add El Wire to Your Playa Coat

I searched high and low to find the best instructions to add El Wire to my new (Goodwill scored) playa coat. When I didn't find anything simple I decided it was time to write my own blog.

As I've mentioned in previous blogs, having a long, very warm playa coat is critical for late night excursions, but sometimes you are just going out for a few hours, and hauling around a huge coat that is unnecessarily warm just doesn't make sense.

So this year I am bringing a short jacket as well, and I wanted to finally take the plunge and decided to add some lights to my nighttime wardrobe. I got my jacket at Goodwill, but if you need a coat and can't find something locally, you can see my playa coat suggestions

Before you begin ordering supplies measure the sections of the coat you want to light up. For example, I measured up one side of the zipper, around the hood, down the other side, across the back to find out how long the El wire needed to be. I also confirmed the pockets were deep enough to hold the battery pack. When you purchase your El wire, it should be 3.2mm or 5mm. The thinner stuff costs less, but it has a greater chance of breaking. You can use it for fine detail work, but not for lining your coat. 

Also, some of the blogs I read recommended clear thread. I ordered some and tried working with it, and I just didn't like the way it felt. I wasn't confident it would hold the wire properly so I chose a color that would look nice against the lining of the coat. 


Step 1. Put some fresh batteries and test your new El wire before sewing it into your jacket. It wouldn't do to arrive on the playa and realize you have a busted wire.


Step 2. Tuck the battery pack in a pocket and lead the cord to where you start your El wire placement.


Step 3. Even if you don't sew, this is extremely easy stitch. Just tie a knot at the end of your thread, and pull it through the fabric, then create a loop of thread by pulling it through the other side of the El wire. Move about an inch up the El wire, and repeat. 


Step 4. Occasionally check that enough El wire has threaded through as you sew it on. Pull it through the line and make sure it isn't bunching anywhere. When you get to the end of the El wire sew a final few loops around the end of the wire to secure it in place.

Final Product: 


P.S. It is really hard to photograph El wire it turns out, but trust me, it looks awesome on!