Wednesday, May 8, 2013

DIY Cute DSLR Camera Bag Tutorial :)

Ever since I got my DSLR, I've been a little on edge when taking it outside. It's kind of like having a child - you don't want to drop it on it's head, lose it, have someone kidnap it, or accidentally nick it on random sharp objects when you're walking around.

So then, I thought I would make a brilliant, lightweight camera bag. You know, something with awesomely cute fabric, that could just clamp onto your camera like a little nutshell, and you could keep your camera strap on. After spending approximately 4 hours hand sewing the original camera bag that I had envisioned, it turned out to be not so brilliant. (I didn't think the entire design through but got way too excited to just start making it, and then made an unsalvageable mistake. Standard.)

I didn't like it, so I started perusing the internet for ideas. I then realized that my fail camera bag, was actually great as a camera "purse insert"! Basically, it's it's a small padded bag that will protect your camera from getting knocked around, that you can transfer it to any bag! (as long as its relatively large)

I took a second stab at it, with inspiration from a bunch of tutorials online. And this time, I even drew out a plan before hand.. face palm at free-handing my first attempt

Mine's a little different because:
1) I wanted to use two different fabrics (because I'll get stuck at Joann's for DAYS trying to choose only one) which changes up the logistics, and

2) I hot glued the crap outta my camera bag/purse insert. Still, there are tricks you can use to make sure it looks polished even though you're hot-gluing. Basically, you need to hand-sew only where it counts. I also added handles and a different color base for added support. It's more "no sewing machine" friendly. Cuz I don't got no sewing machine. But I got two hands!

And seriously, look how cute this fabric is. Even if my first bag was okay, I HAD to make another one so I could use this new fabric.

Oh! And it's low budget -spent around $10 on mine! I used scrap velcro lying around the house (free), high density foam from Joann's with a 40% off any regular priced coupon (IF YOU ARE A CRAFTER DOWNLOAD JOANN'S PHONE APP FOR COUPONS!!), used the 15% off my entire purchase coupon, and then got fabrics that were all 30-50% off.  

So here we go, a minimum-sew DSLR camera bag/purse insert tutorial. 

1/2 yard 1/2" high-density foam
1/2 yard soft non-pilling/non-linty fabric (inner lining)
1/2 yard home decor/outdoor fabric/canvas (outer shell)
**Iron all fabric before using!! No wrinkles allowed**
velcro (steal some off old bags/clothers or get some from ze Joann's)
hot glue gun
sewing kit - pins, needle, thread (thimble if you've got one)

Step 1
Cut out foam pieces. Make sure you have about 3/4" allowance on either side since you have to line up the edges of the 1/2" foam and account for the thickness of the fabric.

Base: 4" x 8"
Long Sides: 6" x 8"
Skinny Sides: 4" x 6"
Insert: 4" x 5" (you can make this even shorter if you want it shorter than the top ledge)
Here's what it will look like. I pinned it up to make sure everything lined up correctly. 

Step 2
Use the inner lining fabric and start covering them present wrapping style and glue it so that it holds in place. Glue at least 2 inches in from the edge. If you glue too close to the edges, it will be difficult to sew the trim later since the glue will harden. (I covered my foam with white felt because the green color showed too much through my white puppy fabric.) Do this for all the outer panels except the insert. 
On my first bag, I sewed all the panels shut which made it a helluva lot more time consuming. Shoulda realized glue would work just fine -.-

Step 3
Pin all the panels upright so you can measure how long the outer fabric panel should be so it fits well. Once you figure out the correct length for the outer panel (just a long piece of rectangular fabric to cover all the sides with about 3" seam allowance on the top and about 4" allowance on the bottom) Sew the fabric together along only one edge so you can flip it inside out and put the foam box inside. 
Step 4
Roughly pin the bottom excess fabric together, and tuck under like present wrapping. Now the sewing begins! This is where sewing is visible and will help make your bag more sturdy. First, for the upper trim, pull the fabric taught and use hot glue only along the top edges. That way, when you're sewing the trim, it won't get slack and poof weirdly. Fold the scrappy part of the fabric under (you know when you cut fabric and it begins to shred?) and sew!

Step 5
Sew a sleeve for the insert (you don't want it to have that messy glued look), so it's worth it to handstitch this part. Sew the sleeve inside out, place the foam insert inside, and close it present style! You can glue the bottom fold since it won't be seen. Add velcro to the sides of the insert and to the inside of the bag (see pic above!) where you want the insert to divide your camera from the lens. You can add more if you'd like! And pockets and things.. but I was too lazy :p
Step 6
Cut out a panel (can be different colored fabric. I chose brown because it's dark and won't show if it gets dirty as easily. Close up the bottom by folding the excess flaps of outer fabric like gift-wrapping, and then glue the different colored fabric over it. Before I glued it on though, I folded the scrappy bits of fabric inward and ironed it out. ANOTHER PLACE WHERE SEWING COUNTS: sew little L-shapes on the corners so they don't peel off! then reinforce with glue. 
Step 7
Cut out strips for handles and iron them flat. Fold in half, and then fold in half again and glue shut. Add them to the sides and SEW TO REINFORCE! You don't want your camera dropping since you made shoddy handles for your bag. That would be very, very sad. 

You've made a cute camera bag/purse insert that you can use to keep your child I mean DSLR safe and cozy and happy :) I stuffed mine inside an old bag that I have, but I'd definitely be happy carrying it around asian lunch bag style. 

Happy crafting! 


  1. omg I feel the same way about the camera and how u feel like its ur child
    I am super cautious even w/ a camera bag, I am like "ohh mah gawd"
    then I realized, "okay its going to have some wear and tear", might as well get used to it, as if u r letting go of ur first born child..."they will become corrupted anyway..."

    1. love it. lol literally the perfect analogy

  2. This is so cute! I love the little puppy patterns for the inside lining.

  3. Wow! That is brilliant! And way more stylish than a regular camera bag too I must say! I might try this too! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Laptop and Camera Bag Combo

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