I was looking on the internet for a simple and free pencil case pattern to sew a bag my daughter could take to school. There are plenty to find, that's for sure. Then I had the idea to try an AI generated model using an AI tool.
What is an AI build tool, you might be wondering? AI stands for “Artificial Intelligence” and there are many AI content creation tools available that use AI technology to generate written or visual content based on text prompts. They can create content like articles, social media posts, product descriptions, and even sewing project templates! The pros and cons of AI have grabbed the headlines and are being studied by content creators like me. According to specialists, AI will not replace humans anytime soon, mainly because it lacks creativity and imagination and cannot replicate the personal touch that only a real person can provide. Phew! It makes me feel better.
Back-to-school AI-generated pencil pouch
Okay, back to my task at hand: a pencil case for my child.
I used the AI tool ChatGPT and I took this prompt: “Tell me how to make a pencil case.” Below are the instructions offered by Chat GPT. If the model was wrong or missing vital information, I noted it in parentheses after the specific step.
Materials you will need:
Fabric of your choice (cotton, canvas, felt, etc.)
Sewing machine or needle and thread
Zipper or button closure
Fabric markers, paint or embellishments (optional)
Plan and measure: Decide on the size of your kit. Consider the length and width needed to comfortably hold your pencils, pens, erasers, and other supplies. Add an extra inch to your measurements for the seam allowance.
Cut the fabric: Cut out two identical rectangles from the fabric of your choice using the measurements you determined in the previous step. These rectangles will form the front and back of your pencil case. (The materials list mentions lining fabric, so I cut two pieces of fabric for the lining.)
Prepare the zipper: If you are using a zipper for the closure, measure the length of your fabric pieces and cut the zipper to fit. If the zipper is longer than the fabric, you can sew over the top to secure it, then trim the excess.
Fasten the zipper: Place the front of the fabric face up. Align the zipper face down along the top edge of the fabric. Place the back piece of fabric face down over the zipper. Pin the three layers together. Sew along the pinned edge to secure the zipper. (Okay, so if I do exactly what it says, there will only be one side attached to one side of the zipper. What? Instead, I used my sewing knowledge to interpret this as the main and liner fabric sandwiching one side of the zipper.. The other side of the bag will repeat this step.Again, it doesn't say this, so I'm using my experience of what a zipper pouch looks like!)
Flip and Iron: Turn the pieces of fabric over so that they are right side up, with the zipper in the center. Use an iron to iron the fabric, flattening the seams and creating a neat appearance.
Sew the remaining sides: Fold the fabric so that the right sides face each other and the zipper is at the top. Pin the sides and bottom edges. Sew along these edges, leaving a seam allowance of about ½ inch. Be sure to keep the zipper slightly open so you can turn the bag right side up later. (I love that it's possible to leave the zipper open so you can turn it inside out. However, if you add the liner, you also need to leave an opening in the liner to turn it inside out. That's what I like did also. See picture of my sewn garment bag.)
Cut the excess fabric: Trim any excess fabric from the seams to reduce bulk and make the corners neat.
Turn right out: Gently pull the bag through the open zipper to turn it right side out. Use a pencil or other rounded object to bring out the corners. (Again, if you've opted for a liner fabric, you'll turn the bag inside out through the opening left in the liner AND the half-open zip.)
The final touch: If desired, decorate your pencil case with fabric markers, paint, appliques or any other embellishments you like. (I don't really want to do that this time, but I like the idea. I'd hate to cover the Breakfast Club kids!)
Final touches: Make sure all your seams are secure and all loose threads are trimmed. Your pencil case is now ready to use! (I sewed and closed the opening of my lining fabric by tucking in the seam allowance and topstitching it closed.)
The results of the experiment
My little clutch turned out pretty cute and I think my daughter will be delighted. The materials list mentions the liner as optional, so I included a liner and had to draw on my own sewing experience to make sure the liner was added correctly. My takeaway from this little experiment is that there may be some simple, free sewing projects that you can access just by asking an AI build tool what you want. However, use it with caution! There are dangers in using AI-generated models, including the risk of misinformation – basically, an incomplete model or whatever you want it to be. There is also concern about plagiarism, penalties and your reputation. Being able to spot AI-generated content can help you gauge its trustworthiness. And, as with any sewing pattern, AI or not, I highly recommend that you read the instructions before embarking on the project!
ChatGPT also gave me some tips: “Remember this is just a basic guide and you can customize your pencil case in different ways by using different fabrics, adding pockets or by incorporating additional design elements. Enjoy your creative process! Thank you, ChatGPT! I'll keep that in mind for my next kit!
More Back to School Sewing Ideas
Here are some proven NON-AI patterns that are PERFECT for back to school sewing!
Inside the Hoop Penny Pouch to hold headphones and other small essentials.
5 great back-to-school projects: read our roundup of projects to get your kids' year off to a great start.
Back-to-School Sewing Patterns and Projects eBook: Full of projects for older kids. It includes a bag, backpack, journal cover, laptop protector, and laundry bags perfect for dorm life.
Have you used AI for sewing or craft projects? What do you think of AI generation tools? We would love to hear your opinion!
Happy back to school sewing!
Back to School Inspiration from Sew Daily