Just over a month ago the lovely Sara at Sew Sweetness launched a brand new bag of the month style pattern pack called Minikins.  There are 12 exclusive patterns in total, and each month there is a step by step video to show you how to make the pattern of the month.

Sara gave me a chance to try them out, and I can’t tell you how nice it is to just be able to make patterns that someone else has written for a change, it’s definitely the time of year for mindless sewing where someone else has done all the hard thinking!  The brilliant thing about them is that they don’t take much time to make if you’re an experienced bag maker, and if you’re not, the videos are a great aid to help you through all the new techniques you’ll be learning in the patterns.

I’ve made up 3 of the patterns so far, so I’ll review them in today’s post – look for reviews of the other patterns in the future :o)

The first one I made was the largest of the desk cubes:

There are actually 3 different sizes of these cubes in the pattern – I chose to make the biggest one to hold my hot chocolate mixes, but all 3 are great for fussy cutting treasured fabrics, or for adding a little paper piecing to like I did.  These are so easy that assuming that you’ve not gone the paper piecing route you can expect to have one of these in your hands in around an hour (dithering time over finding the perfect fabric not included!) and that includes cutting, fusing and sewing.  I’m betting if you made all 3 together you could batch cut/fuse/sew and make things a bit faster.  Great techniques in this pattern for getting a square bottom (because nobody wants a rounded bottom ;o) )

Yesterday I knocked out these next 2 patterns:

First was the Bellevue Pouch, where I went for the middle size of the 3 options available.

This is a nice quick make, coming in at around the hour mark, and with a nice, unusual shape to the top to make it a little different to your bog standard zippy pouch.  Techniques in this pattern include adding a zip with tabbed ends, sewing a curve and boxing the corners of your pouch.

Finally I went for the Binary Pouch:

This was definitely the most complex of the patterns I chose, and possibly the most complex in the pack (I’ll get back to you on that though once I’ve done the rest!)  It is fun though, and I love that it’s a nice big size for holding useful things – in my case it will be holding all my scissors for my classes/retreaters as they’ve been free range in a Tesco carrier bag since November!  It would also make a good toiletry or cosmetic bag, maybe with laminated lining.  This one is definitely technique rich with zips, magnetic snaps, curved sewing, and a few head scratchy moments to make you go ‘Hmmm’ when it all magically turns out.  If you’re stupid enough to choose a directional print, like I did, you can add 1/4″ seam allowance to the bottom of the pattern piece and cut out 2 singles that way rather than on the fold – note that one side has a different curved corner to the other, so you’ll need to flip the pattern over for the 2nd one.  Place right sides together and stitch along the bottom edge, then open out, press and baste or fuse to the foam interfacing and continue as normal.  You’ll also need to be careful when cutting out the sides and the flap piece, or you might have upside down dogs and then have to swear a bit and cut another one.  All in I would say this one took me the best part of 3 hours to sew, with the finishing of the lining taking up the biggest chunk of time (plus a bit of seam ripping)  Take the advice in the pattern and break that down into smaller bits rather than trying to do one big seam (although I was able to do one big seam on the outer no bother, but you’ll see why the lining is more awkward when you make one)

Right now the Minikins are at an introductory price of $80, rather than $120 which will be the full price.  All the patterns are available immediately, but the videos will be added once a month – the second one is due out tomorrow, and once the videos have been published they’ll always be available for you to go back and rewatch as often as you like.  Given that there are 12 patterns with varying size options in many of them AND instructional videos, I’d say they’re an absolute bargain at the moment, working out at only $6.67 per pattern – just think how much you’d pay for a Craftsy class in comparison!

Le me know if any of you try them out :o)

* Note that this post contains affiliate links which puts a penny or two towards hosting fees if you decide to buy.