Comparative Review: Swoon Camille & Sew Sweetness Ansel

Today, we take a look at some fun and useful camera bags. Denita has a wonderful and insightful review to help you make the choice that works best for you. We also have some wonderful versions sewn up by Lisa and Kim!

Hi! It’s Denita from HattieLu Handmade. Did you notice it’s June already?! Congrats to all the class of 2015! Who’s ready for summer vacation? As the summer travel season begins in earnest, are you going to be taking lots of vacation photos? Oh course! You’re going to need a camera bag that will hold everything in one place!
Today, we’re going to talk about camera bags and hopefully help you determine which will work best for your needs. There are similarities as well as differences between the two camera bags we’ll discuss today!

Let’s jump right Ansel by Sew Sweetness and Camille by Swoon Patterns. At first glance the patterns look similar with the biggest difference being that Ansel has three size options. But, there’s so much more to both than meets the eye! Let’s take a look at what each pattern offers first.

So what are some of the bonuses of each pattern?


  • Measure and cut rectangles for all pieces except the lid front

  • Center release buckles

  • Decorative binding to finish the lining

  • Crossbody strap

  • Available in pdf or paper formats

  • Approximately 6 hours to cut, stabilize, and sew


  • Pattern pieces except for the straps, handle, and support stabilizers

  • Center release buckles

  • Decorative buckle connectors

  • Crossbody strap

  • Available in pdf or paper formats

  • Approximately 8 hours to cut, stabilize, and sew

I think that both Ansel and Camille are equally difficult, but for different reasons. Both camera bag patterns are excellently written and easy to follow. Some elements are similar; however, each camera bag has its own unique flare! When trying to decide which pattern to choose, ask yourself… Are pattern pieces a must? How much space is needed? Are stationary or adjustable dividers needed? There is no right or wrong answer. What will work best for you is the only answer.

Some Differences:
First, the lid/flap attachment is different for each. Ansel’s flap is easier to sew because it is assembled flat. The flap is attached to the main body using a hinge binding strip. The flap covers the main camera bag body. Camille’s flap is assembled as a curve. The flap is attached to the main body then turned. The flap fully encapsulates the camera bag’s main body.

Second, Ansel utilizes a drop-in lining. A drop-in lining is literally “dropped in” the exterior shell of the bag. The raw edges are then finished by binding. Camille utilizes a turned lining. A turned lining means the exterior is inserted into the lining, sewn, then turned through an opening in the lining.

Third, Ansel is available in small, medium, and large sizes. For this review, I sewed the large size. Finished measurement was 14” long by 7.5” high by 6.5” deep. The large camera bag is well suited for someone with lots of photographic equipment. I was able to place my Nikon D40, 200 mm lens, and smaller Nikon Coolpix camera inside with plenty of room for more essentials. The detachable dividers can be moved to accommodate different size camera equipment. There is an interior pocket for holding SD cards. Camille is available in one size. Finished measurement was 12.5” wide by 8” tall by 5” deep. This camera bag is well suited for someone with standard photographic equipment. My Nikon D40, 200 mm lens, and smaller Nikon Coolpix camera fit inside perfectly. The static dividers on each side hold camera equipment securely in place. There is an interior slip pocket to store a battery charger or SD cards. There is also an exterior magnetic snap pocket on the back for quick access.

Fourth, Ansel only uses a pattern piece for the lid front. All other pieces are cut using a list of measurements for the different rectangles. You will need to use sticky notes to label as you cut each piece. Each step of the instructions corresponds to a photo. This is great for a new bag sewer. Camille has pattern pieces for each piece except the handle, strap, and support stabilizers. The instructions are thorough and great for an intermediate bag sewer.

Which will you choose? Need more inspiration? Scroll down to see how Lisa styled an Ansel and Kim used home decor fabric for Camille. I want to see your finished Sew Sweetness Ansel and Swoon Camille camera bags! Post them on our Facebook page!

Until we meet again! Remember, it’s all about the sewing!

And here are Kim's version of the Swoon Camille!

Look how much she fit in there!

Now, we have Lisa's version of the Sew Sweetness Ansel!

So much space!