Celine Zip Top Tote by Swoon Sewing Patterns

Those that follow my blog will know that in early May I attended the KB Sewing Retreat on the Isle of Wight. I was looking forward to the retreat as it would provide an opportunity of meeting again a few ladies that I had previously met on the Southampton Sewcial in August last year. It would also give me the the chance of some dedicated sewing time in the company of a group of avid stitchers!

I knew in advance that we were going to be making the Celine bag by Swoon patterns with the Pocket Supplement A from Chris W Designs.

Celine Bag by Swoon Patterns

The Celine is a handbag look with tote bag functionality, this is the perfect everyday bag. The top zipper keeps your belongings secure, and the closure straps provide a little added security while giving this bag its unique shape.

Pocket Supplement A from Chris W Designs

The Pocket Supplement A is perfect to use for adding extra pockets to the interior of your bag. With The Pocket Supplement A you create two large slip pockets, a pen pocket and a pleated pocket perfect for your sunglasses.

I had not made either of these patterns before and as I wanted this project to be extra special I visited Purple Stitches in Basingstoke and purchased all the fabrics required.

I had chosen Teal to be my main colour theme for the trip (clothing and project) and this fabric certainly fit the bill as it incorporates not only the Teal colour but several others as well so would be easy to choose complimentary prints/colours.

Outer Feature Fabric
Outer Side Gusset Panels Fabric

I was able to pick out a ‘low-volume’ print for the side panels and a Pale Orange/Blush picked from the outer print to be the contrast for the lining.

I ordered Nickel Silver hardware and metal zips with White tape from Sian for my accessories which also included the iron-on stabiliser and Bosal ® foam wadding.

We twelve ladies (no gentlemen on this occasion) were set up in a large room on the ground floor of the hotel with access to plenty of ironing stations. We spent Friday and Saturday cutting, pressing and sewing our bags with a ready supply of refreshments and lots of chat! Sian with her Mum, Jane, as ‘understudy’ was an excellent tutor, always swift to answer queries with a ready smile.

My Celine Bag

By the end of the two days I had an almost completed bag and had learnt a some new techniques to incorporate into my future bag making.

Outer Zip pocket on my Celine Bag
View from above of my Celine Bag

I have to say that although the finished project is OK, I am not in love with it. The bag took a long time to make (longer even than the companion carpet bag which I much prefer) and in the final analysis is not really ‘my kind of bag’ as it is rather too capacious for my needs. I don’t think that I will make this design again but if I do, I will use different fabrics. I need a more substantial outer fabric, combined with faux leather for the gusset as even with interfacing and foam in my opinion, the quilting cotton fabric used on this iteration is simply not ‘man enough’ for the job.

In the final analysis though, I had a great time, enjoyed the ‘holiday’, accommodation, location, project and most important of all – the company.