Tag Archives: fashion

Dazzle Camouflage in Fashion

We’re no strangers to seeing an occasional hard-to-look-at article of clothing. However, we recently came across the above pictured dress (the Signature Shift Dress by Julie Brown), and noticed a peculiar quality about it.  The pattern of angled, high-contrast shapes makes it remarkably difficult to see the actual shape of the dress underneath that print.

Now, where have we seen this kind of thing before?

Ah yes: Dazzle Camouflage!  Dazzle camouflage was used in WWI to make ships more difficult to identify and target, by disguising their size, configuration, range and orientation. This is different from traditional camouflage, which tries only to minimize visibility, but can be surprisingly effective.  In the photo above, of the USS Mahomet in port (circa November 1918), it’s hard to make out even the out the shape of the ship.

Additional good examples of ships with dazzle camouflage can be seen herehere, and here (in an article that discusses the design process for the patterns).

Curiously, dazzle camouflage seems to have made a recent comeback in fashion.

This Print Wrap dress at Uupto distorts the model’s curves in strange ways.  Thanks to the “mountain range” in the middle, one might initially perceive this to be a maternity dress.

The Print and Proper dress at Modcloth is another new example.

And the Poleci Women’s Cross Front Striped Longsleeve Top from FavBuy creates the illusion of a strangely misshapen abdomen.

The Elbow Sleeve Tiered Dress at Venus.  The interrupted, striped, spiraling pattern creates the illusion (perhaps assisted by photoshop) that the diameter of the dress is somewhat smaller than it is in reality.

You can dazzle all the way to your toes, with these matching Black and White Platform Heels at Venus.


Some designs stray from simple black and white geometric patterns, but still effectlively confuse the eye, such as this Jersey Maxi Dress by Julie Brown.  Worth noting is that many of the original dazzle patterns on ships were brightly colored, too.


Of course, this is not the first time dazzle camouflage has appeared in fashion. At the time that dazzle camouflage was first introduced, the public was fascinated by it.

The Dazzle Camouflage Pinboard by user Saruzza has some wonderful historical fashion examples, including a reference to a 1919 Dazzle Ball at the Chelsea Club.

From a contemporary article (via camoupedia), comes this account:

Four British naval officers, distinguished for their success at camouflage, had charge of designing the dresses, and the ballroom looked like the Grant Fleet with all its warpaint on, ready for action. The jazz bands produced sounds that have the same effect upon the ear as this “disruptive coloration” has upon the eye.

A themed masquerade ball is one thing, but the patterns did also make their way into the mainstream culture of the time:

This picture of dazzle camouflage bathing suits from the 1919 New York Tribune was provided as a visual supplement to an excellent audio post by 99% Invisible on disruptive camouflage.

And as for the future? No discussion of dazzle would be complete with out mentioning CV Dazzle, which covers methods of using makeup and hairstyles to thwart face recognition software. Perhaps soon e-ink fabrics will also provide changeable displays that disrupt QR and barcode readers, as well as other visual tracking systems.

A new Kraftwerk-inspired LED tie kit?

LED Tie - 28.jpg

Well, almost— With a breath of new firmware, our Larson Scanner kit takes us on a trip to the late 1970’s.

In the old videos of electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk performing their classic The Robots, a prominent prop is the animated LED necktie worn by each member of the band. If you haven’t seen this, or it’s been a while, you can see it right here at YouTube. (Additional viewing, if you’re so inclined: Die Roboter, the German version.)

The Kraftwerk tie has nine red LEDs in a vertical row, and one lights up after the one above it in a simple descending pattern. And what does it say to the world? One thing only, loud and clear: “We are the robots.” Now, if you’re anything like us, the most important question going through your head at this point is something along the lines of “why am I not wearing a tie like that right now?


The good news is that it’s actually easy to make one. And the starting point? A circuit with nine red LEDs and just the right spacing: our open-source Larson Scanner kit. With minor modifications– a software change and dumping the heavy 2xAA battery pack–it makes a pretty awesome tie. In what follows, we’ll show you how to build your own, complete with video.

Continue reading A new Kraftwerk-inspired LED tie kit?

Conference Bag

lanyard bag

Conference lanyards are often made of nice sturdy woven webbing. They seem like they ought to have plenty of uses, like replacement shoelaces or camera straps. After enough conferences, they start to look like an awful lot of raw material. Even enough to make a bag.


Lanyards that are sewn or crimped shut at the clip end are used for the horizontal webbing, and determine the overall width of the bag. Leaving the clips at the sides gives the bag a nice rattling sound and keeps the clips from scratching the contents of the bag. The upper clips can be used to hold keys to help keep them from getting lost in your bag.

lanyard bag edge finishing

Breakaway lanyards can be used for the vertical webbing, woven in and out of the continuous lanyards until they reach the top again. Place lanyards with compatible breakaway clips next to each other such that the clips can be connected to the neighbors to finish the top edges.

lanyard bag empty

Make the handles by clipping a few lanyards end to end and then weave them through the middle of the bag afterwards to wrap around from one side to the other.

Alternate ending: omit the handles and clip the breakaway lanyards (vertical webbing pieces) back to themselves and stuff to form a pillow. This bag has proven popular with our feline population, and might be completely irresistible in pillow form.

Continue reading Conference Bag

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories: Year 4


Happy birthday to us! Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has now been around for four years. We’ve collected some interesting projects from this past year to celebrate.

Microcontroller and Electronics Projects:

Tabletop Pong
Tabletop Pong

Moving from breadboard to protoboard

Revenge of the Cherry Tomatoes

drink making unit
Drink making unit

pin 1
Finding pin 1

xmega - 2
Say hello to xmega

Adding a Chronodot to Peggy 2

Meggy Twitter Reader
Meggy Jr RGB Twitter Reader

twisted wire bundle
Twisted Wire Bundles

LED graph
Some thoughts on throwies

rovin pumpkin
Rovin’ pumpkin

ADXL335 - 10
Accelerometer with an AVR (updated)

LEDcalc - 20
Wallet-size LED Resistance Calculator


seeing magnetic fields
Seeing Magnetic Fields

Ice Spikes
Ice Spikes

opposition effect in clover
Opposition effect

Kitchen Science 18
Litmus Candy

Beans day five
Gibberellic Acid and Giantism in Sprouts

Simple LED Projects:

fake seven segment display
Fake seven segment display

LED-lit sea urchin
LED-lit sea urchins

Edge Lit Cards
Refining edge-lit cards

Food Hacking:

Ice Cream Gyoza -13
Ice Cream Gyoza

Lemon Pickle
Lemon Pickle

The array

coffee bean cooler
DIY coffee bean cooler

Marmalade 30
Marmalade: easier than it looks

AtomicCookies 7
Atomic Cookies

asteroids cookies
Asteroids (the edible kind)

Crunchy Frogs01
Crunchy Frog

Kit Projects:

Bulbdial Clock Kit

Peggy 2LE

LED Hanukkah Menorah Kit

Larson Scanner
Larson Scanner

D12 bag8
Handbag of Holding Kits

Crafty Projects:

arecibo 2
SETI Scarf

scrap acrylic
Scrap acrylic shelf

24 hour tombstones

ipad 3
iPad lap stand

Custom iron ons 10
Custom iron-on techniques

Geek Design:


Typographic Coasters
Typgraphical Character Coasters

Ornamental Components 08
Ornamental Components

Cat String 6
Radio controlled string

Bookend - 9
Bookends for physics geeks

Lego business cards-2
Lego Business Cards

Tie Stools2
Portable Stools

And, don’t forget, you can win a Peggy 2 or one of 13 other prizes in our clock
concept contest
, going on this week.


A scarf to aid your search for terrestrial intelligence

arecibo 2

The Arecibo Message, one of the most famous messages transmitted as part of SETI, loosely translated, says: “Hi! We’re intelligent! We’re made of meat! Here’s where we live!”

Binary designs like the Arecibo message are popular with knitters and cross-stitchers since they can be pixelated easily. We found a pair of fingerless gloves, based on a muffler pattern. We think this type of binary pattern would be good for the message as well. It has also been made into a cross-stitched bookmark.

We implemented the embroidered pixels as columns of satin stitching in a single color. The original binary message didn’t have any of the color coding that people have added to help explain it, and it seems more elegant to keep it this way.

We machine embroidered the pattern on both ends of a piece of linen about 14″ x 76″. The linen is then sewn together on the back and at the ends, and turned right side out. The edges are stitched down to help it lie flat.

arecibo 1

The embroidery design is about 3.5″ x 11.5″. We’re providing a couple of different embroidery formats for those with access to machines as well as a .pdf for cross stitch, hand embroidery, laser engraving, or whatever else you can think to do with it.

  • .DST embroidery file (36 kB)
  • .PES embroidery file (75 kB)
  • .pdf file (4 kB)

If you are inspired by the message or use one of the patterns, we’d love to see the results in the flickr auxiliary.

Improved handbags of holding

D12 bag8

The retro-dork-chic-DIY D12 handbag is back and better than ever– We’ve added a zipper, a handle cord, panel stiffeners and beautiful numbers.

D12 bag7

Comparing this side by side to the original, it looks as though the original is getting floppier. That’s partly age, and partly just how much nicer the new model is. The new version is easier to assemble and holds its shape much better, thanks to internal pentagonal stiffeners that are fused to each face. The neat and tidy zipper closure is much neater and more reliable than the original magnetic enclosure.

And… those athletic style numbers (which are the best that our local craft stores carry) just had to go! We used a neat font called BPreplay to get simple rounded numbers that look like they could have been carved into a die. But we carved them with a laser: They’re made from cotton-poly blend which fuses as it is laser cut so that it the edges of the numbers won’t fray. Finally, the new handle cord is an obvious improvement over the simple fabric strip on the first verison.

And, by popular demand, we’ve designed a d20 as well:

D20 instrux b25

The d20 has the same basic design as the new d12– complete with triangular internal stiffener panels to give it the right shape.

Today we’re releasing both of these new designs along with their patterns and assembly instructions. The d12 project is documented here and the d20 project is documented here. We’re also making kit versions of both projects available here.

As always, if you are inspired to make something by our projects, we’d love to see the results in the Evil Mad Scientist flickr Auxiliary.

d20 Handbag of Holding: How to build it

D20 instrux b25

By popular request following the d12 bag, here it is: the d20 bag! Now you can make your very own icosahedron.

d20 small and large

We’re making a pattern and kit for this project available in two sizes: darling and practical. The tiny one is just over three inches tall, and holds little things for you. The larger size is about five inches tall and will fit your phone, wallet and keys along with your dice.

Continue reading d20 Handbag of Holding: How to build it

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories: Year 3

Evil Meggies

Happy birthday to us! Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is now three years old.

To celebrate, we’re rounding up our most interesting projects from this past year.

Quick projects and observations:

Magnet tricks
17 cool magnet tricks

The monetary density of things

Cheap calendar 2
Cheap Perpetual Calendar

Parts Tray-14
Contact Lens Case Small Parts Tray

Simple LED Projects:

lanterns - 11
Quick, easy, temporary, and beautiful LED garden lights

RoboGames Awards (on)
RoboGames Awards

LED Ghostie
LED Ghosties for Halloween

Food Hacking:

Dry Ice Martini
The Hungry Scientist Handbook

Decoder 2
South Indian Restaurant Menu Decoder


"That's no melon!"
“That’s no melon!”

Grillin 2
Hot Dog Bun Grilling Jig

LOLHearts - 34
Improved Custom Message Hearts

Apple Pie
Now that’s an Apple Pie!

Caprese - 16
Eyeball Caprese

Fractal Snowflake Cupcakes - 24
Fractal Snowflake Cupcakes



The CandyFab 6000


Harley Sleeps
Cardboard Cat Chaise

EdgeLitCard - 49
Edge-Lit Holiday Cards

Hex Boxes5
Hexagonal Stacking Boxes

frabjous - 01
Making a Frabjous

Electronics Projects

Interactive LED Dining table
Interactive LED Dining Table Circuit


Color distortion
Giant seven segment displays

DarkPumpkin - 11
Dark detecting jack-o’-lantern

SolarCircuits - 06
Simple Solar Circuits

Soft Circuit Merit Badge14
Soft Circuit Merit Badge

Kit Projects

Meggy Rainbow
Meggy Jr RGB

VideoPeggy - 09
Video Peggy in action

Peggy 2 RGB
Peggy 2 RGB

2313Card - 1
ATtiny2313 breakout boards

Revised ATmegaXX8 boards

Crafty Projects

d12 Bag
DIY d12 Handbag (of Holding)

Meggy Jr RGB Cozy-21
Meggy Cozy

no-sew iPhone cozy14
No-sew iPhone Cozy

fabric klein bottle
Fabric Klein Bottle

Seat recovery
Reupholstery with Used Denim

Missile Command Skirt 24
Missile Command Circle Skirt

Fishbowl cat quilt29
Fishbowl Cat Quilt

Turning Mollie into Maulie

Bicycle lunch bag
Bicycle Frame Lunch Bag

Acrylic Nesting Bracelets-1
Sinusoidal Bracelet Design

Microcontroller Projects

Time exposure
Tennis for Two, a video game from 1958

stockpumpkin - 11
Scariest Jack-o’-Lantern of 2008

mignonette - 09
70 bits of gaming goodness

Serial Port Added
AVR Serial Communication

lissajous-dark - 07
POV Lissajous figures

Mobius Circuit - 21
Single sided circuit board

A Bulbdial Clock

Geek Design

Snowflake generator
Vector Snowflake Application

The Amazon Kindling

Pi (squared) trivet - 9
Pi Pie Trivet

lego - 2
Lego Kitchen Crafts

Binary Birthday
Binary Birthday