Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The AI Challenge

For most of this summer, I have been mesmerized by a Instagram Reel attributed to BiasCutWoman, a self prescribed artist/digital creator who uses Artificial Intelligence (AI)  to aid in her digital fashion creations.  This particular animation features a flat white square with the letter "H" cut in the middle. As it evolves, a perfectly formed dress emerges, fitted to the torso, releasing side drapes and an asymmetrical hemline. Fascinating!

Images created by biascutwoman@instagram.com

I took still photos of the screen (above) however if you have an Instagram account, you might want to check out the ANIMATION  for yourself.

It all looks so simple... you cut an H inside of a square and everything effortlessly pulls up into a dress. EXCEPT...... the more I studied it, the more questions it raised. Does it really form a dress? How do you get in and out of the dress? What about those big gaps that form on either side of the body? The animation eventually led me to the designer's IG page where I was delighted to find a post showing how she created a real dress in fabric.

Images by biascutwoman@instagram.com

On screen, the drape of the dress suggests her chosen fabric might be some sort of stretch material, which in itself explains how to get in and out of the garment. As for the gaps on each side.... the top of each gap was stitched along the top edge, thus creating a sort of panel which flaps about as the model spins around. Another aid in getting in and out of the dress...she's added straps at the top. Hmmmm...I decided to engage in the challenge with a little help from my ladies. Though interesting, we were not wild about the end resort, I made the decision to use a woven fabric and not stretch.

Following the "pattern" and cutting a square from an old bed sheet, this was my result, modeled by Priscilla. The only thing I added that was not part of the original square, were bows over the hips for reasons I'll explain later in this post. After evaluating my end result, I concluded the original design was worthy of further exploration. 

My first thought was...what happens when you use a handkerchief or pocket square to make this dress. Note: they are usually plentiful at vintage shops.

Let's first start by creating the "pattern." 
This begins by creating a square then folding that square in half each way. 
Align the doll so that the vertical line cuts through the center line of the doll. The base of the neck is in line with the horizontal line.
Depending on whether you want a higher waist or lower waist, draw a vertical line (blue) from the top of the shoulder to that point on the torso. The light blue dress (above has a lower waist. However the dress below has a higher waist...it depends on the desired result. 
Whatever length that (blue line is, extend the same length of line above the horizontal line. 
Measure the distance from blue/red line to the center vertical line and draw another line (green) the exact distance to the right of the center line. 
Without the doll, here's what your pattern will look like. (The dotted horizontal lines are fold lines. The 'H" are cutting lines.

1. Place the pocket square over the pattern and trace off the "H"
2. Cut along the solid lines of the "H" then make a running stitch (either by hand or machine) around both sides of the "H"
3. Fold along the stitched edges and turn under then press down. 
4. You can stitch or glue down.
5. Turn once again.
6. Hand stitch in place.
7. Press.
Pick up the middle of the H and place on the body, taping the edges to the doll's shoulders. Without doing anything, the "dress" looks like this. Clearly adjustments must be made!
One of those decisions was--what to do with the huge gaps the dress creates over the hips! But let's start at the top.
1. At the shoulders, untape the dress, then place the front shoulder tips over the back. Tack down the left side (your left/doll right) with a few stitches. For the opposite side, use a hook and eye closure to close--remembering to place front over back.
3.For the gap that falls over the hips....I chose to use a running stitch to create gathers on both sides.
Draw up the fabric as close as possible and stitch it so the gathers don't move.
2. When you have done this to both sides, fold the little area above the gathers in the front over the back and stitch down on the left. 
4. Sew another hook and eye at the waist on the other side of the dress, over the gathers to fit the dress closer to the body. 
If you are not happy with the gathered areas, feel free to add some sort of "decoration," ribbons or bows, to hide it like I did with the light blue cotton dress.

I'm pretty happy with the results. It makes for a pretty little sun dress for Julia. But I didn't stop there. What would this dress look like as eveningwear? For my next dress, I chose a sheer polyester organza. The edges were all "flamed" so no hemming was necessary.

The steps are exactly the same. You use the same pattern and cut out the "H." But instead of turning the edges, I flame sealed them instead. Tape the top of the "bodice to the shoulders. Then proceed...
1. Start with the "gaps" on the sides.
2. Make gathers by making a running stitch along the top edge and drawing it up. Make a few extra stitches to secure the gathers in place. 
3. The result looks like this, but you will want to draw up the gathers as close as possible.
4. Repeat on the other side. The dress is a little wild at this point.
Like the author of this dress design, I have "cheated" a little here and there. 
5. I cut a small piece of sheer ribbon and attached it to the shoulder points. You can stitch the front and back bodice to this tape on the left side (doll's right side), but stitch the other side to the front of the ribbon and use thin velcro or hook & eye to the other side (allowing the doll to get in and out of the dress). 
6. The sides tend to fly up and bounce around, so I cheat by taking them down in place with hidden stitches to the dress always falls in place the way I want.
I wanted the dress to fit closer to the body, so this time around, I stitched a strip of thin ribbon to either side of the waist. It is tied in the back. Like this, the doll can get in and out of the dress yet enjoy a nice fit!

The end is quite interesting.....resembling a black orchid of sorts!

Final thoughts...

It's a new world out there..... My overall impression is that the AI robots must still rely on human input...at least for now. It's one thing to create an image of a garment, (everything is possible in a sketch) but unless you are familiar with things like fabric, construction and fit, you're only dealing with something imaginary. 

Onto the next challenge!!!!!

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  1. Fascinating ---April, I'm sure you have seen the old 1920's-30's patterns where they gave magazine directions to make a dress from 2 yards of fabric...here that would have been roughly 36"x72" in the 20's. Basically, they were quite similar to your idea, except you loose the wonderful bias drape. The cuts is made from one side of the selvage edge of the fabric and the draping/gathering/swagging was all done on the sides, depending on how the side pieces were cut. I had thought about using the idea for a 20's flapper day dress for the 2022 B convention...but opted instead of going as Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd with a cocoon type caftan of metallic on black and turban...I'll have to post it one day, when I make a mini..Always fun to see your ideas being worked on. Sandi

    1. Sorry this has taken me a month to answer. Life has been getting in the way of doll play. I have seen those vintage patterns but I guess I didn't look carefully enough at the instructions. My much younger self probably thought it all looked too complicated. But it is a very good idea, especially in the context of what we are creating for the doll. After all of the confusion and craziness that has been plaguing catwalk shows, I think a return to the vintage couture is quite refreshing. Thank you for your kind words and you loyalty, Sandi. Big hugs.

  2. Hello April, thank you for this new sharing which is always very enriching and full of advice. I will try to make an H dress.

    1. Hi Shasarignis. First of all, let me compliment you on your wonderful Instagram posts. The H dress is a lot of fun, simple to make and a great way to make dolly dresses out of vintage pocket handkerchiefs! Gros Bisous

  3. I'm not a fan of AI, but I always admire your work, imagination and skills. Amazing idea with using the handkerchief.

    1. Thank you Kamelia. I'm really not a fan of AI either but I couldn't resist taking the challenge to see if a dress really could be made. For the moment, I think I'll stick to the old fashioned pattern drafting. Big hugs. April


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