Ever since my first SLR camera way back in 2002, finding a decent camera bag has been a challenge. First were the boxy black, utilitarian bags. I mean, they got the job done of protecting your gear, but they were butt ugly and screamed “shiny, expensive camera”. When I moved to a dSLR in 2005, I bought a Crumpler. To this day, I still use and love the bag but it is way too bulky for everyday use. I have a Shootsac as well, but that is only used when I am actively shooting. I wanted something I could carry everyday and hold my camera, a lens or two plus my wallet and keys and didn’t scream “shiny, expensive camera”. I love the Kelly Moore and Epiphanie bags but, they are so not in my budget. If I am going to pay that much for something photography related, it is going to be gear, not a bag.
So, I set out on a search. I am pretty crafty and knew there had to be some DIY instructions for a camera bag purse somewhere. Thanks to Google and Pinterest I found several. I ended up tweaking a bit to suit me, but these were my inspirations….
Jen and Steve dot Com: DIY camera bag/purse
Journey to Marvelous: DIY Camera Purse
I took me a few weeks and several stores to find what I felt like was the perfect purse. It needed to have a wide stable base, a zipper, be deep enough for my camera and straps that were comfortable. I finally managed to find one at Kohl’s and it was on sale. Even better! The rest of the items I either had on hand or bought at Jo-Ann’s.
(I will warn you, I am a horrible teacher and usually just “wing it” when I am sewing.)
purse (wide stable base and comfy straps are the most important)
1″x15″x17″ (2 packages – for the insert)
iron on velcro (1 package – you could use regular sew on velcro, but I was being lazy)
1 yard fabric (I used a standard cotton – I chose a light fabric, so I could see things more easily)
1/2″ foam (I used some batting I had leftover from the dog bed and split the thickness in half – for the dividers)
thin elastic (optional)
sewing necessities (iron, ironing board, measuring tape, pins, scissors, etc)
The purse I chose had an inner divider, so I carefully trimmed that out.
Then I measured the inside dimensions and my camera height. I used those measurements to construct a “box” out of the 1″ foam. The sides are all one piece. I made a pillowcase type insert and then slid each piece of foam in, stitching between them. I then finished the end and added a piece of velcro to form the square. The bottom is a separate piece that just slides in the box.
I added some strips of elastic to the bottom of my sides to keep the shape, since the foam is not rigid. This step is completely optional. It also keeps the bottom from sliding out of the box form.
I then added 2 strips of velcro to each long side of the box to attach the dividers to. In hindsight, I should have used three strips, just for a bit more secure of a hold.
I ended up making 3 dividers, you can make as many as you want. 2 of mine simply divide the box and 1 is a lens holder. I measured the height and width needed (as well as the length for around my biggest lens) and used the 1/2″ foam. I made another pillowcase style sleeve, making sure to allow an extra inch on each end to attach the velcro to. I then attached the velcro. Be sure not to do what I did the first time around and attach the wrong type of velcro. Furry will not attach to furry…just FYI.
I then slid the whole box into the purse. You could use velcro to attach it to the inside bottom of the purse but I chose not to. I do not feel that it is going anywhere and I like the idea of being able to use it in another purse at a later date.
Perfecto! Just what I wanted, the ability to carry a camera and extra lens (this is a Nikon D7000 with 35mm attached and 50mm included).
Along with my wallet, keys and point & shoot camera. I can also still access the two inner zippered pockets for things like lip balm, hand sanitizer, lotion, etc.
There is even a handy-dandy pocket on the outside for my iPhone.
Success and all for less than $50!