If you want to include LED lights in your projects, one of the classic options used to be to wind the legs of a through-hole LED around the tip of a pair of needle-nose pliers, making rings that could then be sewn. Another option introduced by Leah Buechley, was to solder tiny metal crimp beads to the ends of a surface-mount LED, making it sewable. But by now there are some more options out there and this posts tries to collect different solutions for sewable LED lights.
Homemade Solutions for Sewable LEDs
Solderable and Sewable Extensions
An easy solution for surface mount LEDs is to solder a strip of very flexible wire, or even a solderable conductive thread (like the ones from Karl Grimm), to the ends of the LED and you don’t even need to make it into a loop. Simply leave a 2-3 cm long lead and the stitch around it with another (non-solderable) . Or you could also sew with the solderable conductive thread and attach the LED afterwards!
Solder LED to Flexible PCB Breakout
Unfortunately the spacing between the strip’s holes is slightly narrow, so it can be hard to solder on a surface mount LED without covering one of the holes. A solution to this is to cut the strip diagonally, giving you a bit more space between the holes.
Flexible PCB strip from Plug and Wear >> http://www.plugandwear.com/default.asp?mod=product&cat_id=95,101&product_id=116
Leah Buechley’s crimp bead LEDs
LED Bead Jig
Commercial Sewable LEDs
StarBoard Flexible LED Strip
Various colours from Sparkfun >> http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10637
Various colours from Sparkfun >> http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10045
LilyPad LED Mirco
Various colours from Sparkfun >> http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10753
Fabrickit LED Brick
Commercially Available LEDs
Surface Mount LEDs (1206)
Various colours from DigiKey >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=160-1737-1-ND
Surface Mount LEDs (Axial)
Various colours from DigiKey >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?keywords=516-1402-ND
Square through hole 4 pin LEDs
Bright white from DigiKey >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?&keywords=CP41B-WGS-CK0P0154-ND
Various colours from DigiKey >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=C566C-BFS-CS0W0451-ND