Review: Ginger by Sallie Tomato

I've had my eye on the Ginger handbag pattern by Sallie Tomato for some time. I finally pulled the trigger and selected it for our Bags Totes Organizers sewing subscription box last month. I was almost giddy about putting this one together. Thank you to Maria Foley for sharing her photos of our completed Ginger bag. It's our featured photo here. 

Ginger is defined as a medium cross-bady bag. It's the perfect size to use every day for your wallet, essentials, and phone for sure so I consider it an everyday handbag with an ample handle. The foam stabilizer provides great structure so you can use a wide variety of fabrics without loss of body. It does get a little cumbersome to sew a few of the seams and then turn with the foam stabilizer and compact size, but it's worth it and doable. 

I selected some heavier cotton fabrics in bold prints with a summery tangerine pinstripe as the coordinating pattern. The prints were large enough to allow for some fussy cutting to get a range of interesting looks. I did the sample in the 'Cool' color tones and loved the look! I used the pinstripe for the bottom, or main, fabric and the brown and tan print for the accent at the top. I cut the pinstripes horizontally and made the stripes from the same fabric. 

Now to the pattern itself. The instructions and pattern pieces are all provided on standard 8-12" x 11" paperprinted in color and numbered. I appreciate the comprehensive foundational information presented up front. A bit of background about the design, overall orientation for seaming and references used, along with specific cutting information. There are even labels provided for your cut pieces. Very handy. The page before the pattern itself has the labels and advice to photocopy the pages with the pattern pieces - always a good idea.  Time to get started! 

Throughout the pattern there are tips in italics, such as, using a bit of interfacing where the snap is installed to prevent rubbing. You'll use these tips again! The construction is straight forward and the instructions have plenty of illustration to keep you on track. 

Construction is not too complex with one zipper pocket installation that is all done flat and then a reasonble bit of seam work after preparing all the parts with stabilizer and darts. The lining is similar and includes a patch pocket. Pay close attention to all measurements provided to ensure good placement. Be sure to press well as you go. 

I did have a bit of trouble with the top flap after stitching it per the directions. It seemed as though the underside was bigger than the outside causing an awkward fold. A little extra steam seemed to help get everything where is was supposed to go. 

I especially like that the bottom edge of the zipper lining is where the bag is turned! Pretty nifty choice! Well done Jess. Then, the lining is constructed with gradually increased seam allowances to help it fit better in the finished handbag. Smart. I must not have increased my seam allowances quite enough because my lining was still a bit crumpled at the finish, darn it. 

And now the strap. Pretty standard construction but the instructions continue with very good directions and illustrations to ensure this final detail is just right. The only thing I did was to again use 1/4" washable basting tape to secure the ends before folding in the sides and then in half. 

Sallie Tomato continues to be one of our favorite pattern companies to feature in our Bags Totes Organizers sewing subscription boxes, and Ginger very much makes us happy!  I'm so happy to have Ginger in our Bags Totes Organizers lineup for 2021! I hope you give it a go! 

I'll update soon with project photos! Be sure to post your Ginger photos with the hashtags #gingercrossbody #sallietomato and #coolstitchessewingboxes so we can all enjoy them too! 


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