I often carry my camera around in my bag but the only camera bag I have is an old and ugly one. Unfortunately, there are not many nice options for feminine camera bags – so I decided to make a camera insert for my regular handbag. Here’s how I did it.
This is not a project that needs a loft of fabric. If you want you can choose to make the lining out of a different fabric. I have used the same fabric for both the outside and the lining. You will need:
- Foamed plastic. (I used an old cell foam camping mattress.)
- Cotton canvas fabric
- Hook and loop tape (4 cm wide loop for the insert, 2 cm wide hook for the divider)
- Your sewing kit
Making the pattern
The pattern that you need depends on your camera and the bag you are using. As long as the camera fits in the insert and the insert fits in your bag, you’re fine! The above drawing shows the approximate pattern I used for my insert. The pattern doesn’t include any seam allowances, so remember to add them before you cut your fabric!
The red parts represent the foamed plastic. Note that they need to be slightly smaller than the rectangles that make the actual pattern.
You will also need enough narrow tape to finish the top edge. I just cut about 5 cm wide tape from the same fabric and pulled it through my bias-tape maker. (The tape doesn’t have to be cut on bias since our edge is straight.)
Cut the main pattern pieces twice. The other piece becomes a lining. You can cut the divider on fold if you want. Cut the foamed plastic pieces a little (like 1 cm) smaller than the rectangles in the pattern. If they are still too big you can always reshape them later.
I will here cheat a bit and tell you how I would make it now. I made some of the sewing steps in the wrong order that made it unnecessarily difficult to sew. You don’t have to repeat my mistakes!
- Sew on the wide loop side of the hook and loop tape to the sides of the bag lining.
- Put the main pattern pieces wrong sides together and sew around the bottom leaving a part of one of the narrow edges open, to be able to insert the foam later. (Go a bit around the corners, though, since those are difficult to sew later.)
- Separate the lining and the main fabric and sew the side seams.
- Put the lining inside the bag insert. You should be able to slide the bottom foam piece in through the opening you left. Do that and sew the opening closed.
- Slide in the side foam pieces. Trim them so that you have about 1,5 cm free fabric at the top to be able to sew on the tape to finish the top edge.
- Fold the tape edges in and pin it on the top of the bag insert. Sew it on. The insert part is now ready.
- Sew three edges of the divider leaving one of the short edges open.
- Sew on the hook tape at the closed end.
- Make a stitch line about 4 mm away from the edge of the hook tape.
- Slide in the foam piece.
- Close the pocket.
- Fold the raw edges in and sew the edge closed.
- Attach the second hook tape. And you’re done!
You can also make a camera strap to match if you want!
The finished camera bag insert
You can position the divider inside the bag insert where you think it fits the best. You can use the other part to store lenses…
… or have your regular handbag stuff:
When you close your bag the bag looks like a regular handbag and no-one can guess that it doubles as a camera bag. When you do not need your camera, you can still use the insert as a basket to store it.
I have been now using my insert for a few months and it has been super handy. I actually use it even without my camera since the divider keeps all my stuff so nicely in order inside the bag. Perhaps this idea could be used to make a regular bag organizer, too! The cell foam is very lightweight so I haven’t noticed the added weight at all.
Tip: This could also make a nice gift for someone!
I hope you liked this post and subscribe to get notified on future posts! In the meantime: Happy sewing!