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Interactive Media Meets Embroidery

Mary Collen made this ski jacket using Dana Marie pattern #1035 Contemporary Classic for the IPCA's 2013 Ticket to Paradise pattern contest. She incorporated an embroidered QR code that launches a website when scanned.

If you’ve flipped through a magazine or a catalog, or picked up a product in a store lately, you may have noticed a square bar code design on advertisements or packaging.

These are QR codes–or Quick Response codes. Like the UPC bar codes we’re all familiar with, they can be read by imaging devices, such as infrared scanners or your smartphone’s camera, and any type of information can be embedded in the codes.

Mary Collen, a contestant in the Independent Pattern Company Association’s 2013 Ticket to Paradise Contest, used a QR code in an innovative way to add an interactive element to her contest garment. Mary created a QR code using a free QR code generator she found online (search “QR code”) and imported the graphic file into her Bernina Embroidery Designer Plus software. The software converted the QR code into stitches for a design, which Mary then embroidered on each breast of the ski jacket she made for the IPCA contest.

When someone scans the QR code with a smartphone, the device launches SewJazzyParadise.com, a website that Mary created for her contest entry. The site displays a fabric design she used for the jacket’s lining and plays the song that popped into her head when she read the contest theme: “Two Tickets to Paradise” by Eddie Monie.

Mary says that sewing professionals should consider the uses of embroidered QR codes on their garment creations or on other sewn marketing materials. They’re an inexpensive and easy way to drive traffic to a website or social media page, interact with potential customers on the go, send people more information about products as they’re shopping, link to coupons or special discounts; or link to videos, audio descriptions, or directions for use.

Home sewers can use QR codes, too–consider the benefits of an embroidered QR code on a lost dog’s sweater or coat, or on a child’s backpack.

Have you ever used a QR code? Would you ever consider integrating one into a garment you made?


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  1. Cherry_colored_twist | | #1

    Elaine Schmidt, author of "The Complete Photo Guide to Ribbon Crafts" created a bag with a QR code in ribbon work quite a while back. It is pictured in the June 28, 2012 entry on her blog site http://elaineschmidt.wordpress.com/

  2. SewPassion7 | | #2

    I wish I'de thought of that! Wow, I love it! Brilliant! Sew much fun! Sew much potential! Beautiful design as well. Congrats!

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