As a female photographer, I always wished I could combine my purse and my camera bag so I didn't feel like such a clunky fool wandering around with two bags. I did some research, and found that real designer camera purses are a hefty chunk of change, so I figured I could make my own for around 20 bucks! Super cheap, super easy, super fashionable.
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Step 1: Materials!
Here's a list of what you'll need:
- Purse (I got mine from a thrift store for $2. Make sure it's large enough for your camera and extra lenses and such. Also, extra pockets on the outside are super handy for purse things, since you won't be using the pockets inside.)
- Fabric 1 yd (I chose a flannel print, since it's softer)
- Soft foam 1/2" thick approximately 24.5"x18" (Depends on the size of your purse.)
- Velcro (either sew on, or ready to stick. I used sew on.)
- Measuring tape
- Optional: Quilt batting for extra cushion
If you have a sewing machine, by all means use it! If you're going to hand sew, like I did, you're going to need:
- Thread that matches your fabric
- Optional: Thimble.
Step 2: Step 1: Measuring and Cutting Foam
Measure your purse to determine how large your foam inserts will be. I flipped my purse upside down and measured the bottom of it, since it's a lot easier.
Using a marker, trace out these measurements on your foam, and cut.
You should end up with five pieces for your general shape: one for the bottom of your purse, 2 for the large panels of your purse, and 2 for the smaller panels.
You will also cut out removable pieces that will later be velcro-ed into your bag. These should be measured by the height and width of your purse.
Note: Take into consideration the thickness of your foam. Do not measure your purse to the T, since the foam will fit a little too snugly. Give yourself a bit of leeway.
Step 3: Optional Step 2: Quilt Batting
Measure out your batting using your foam pieces. I used a sharpie to trace them out, since these will be hidden under your fabric. You will only need batting for one side of your foam.
You will need two pieces of batting for your extra foam inserts to be placed on both sides of your foam.
Step 4: Step 3: Cutting Fabric
1. I roughly measured my fabric using my foam. I folded the fabric over my foam piece and made sure there was an extra half inch to inch of fabric bordering my foam. If you'd rather, you can be more technical and measure it out and trace it.
2. Make sure the non-patterned side is facing you, and fold the fabric in half corresponding to your foam length.
3. Place your foam on the fabric. The batting is not necessary to have on right now. Since my foam was 1/2" inch thick, and we will essentially be stitching a "pillow case" for the foam, I made sure I had a 1/4" border around my foam. This will ensure that my fabric fits snugly around my foam.
4. Trace out a 1/4" border around your foam on the fabric either using a pencil or fabric chalk. If you want to use a sharpie, test it on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure it doesn't bleed through!
Step 5: Step 4: Sewing
1. You're going to want to pin your fabric to keep it aligned, and your shape doesn't get all wonky.
2. You're going to stitch along the tracing you created in the last step! :) If you have a sewing machine, this is super quick, and you'll want to make it a single stitch. If you don't have a sewing machine, simply sew a single stitch along your traced outline. If you want extra strength, you can double back on your stitch.
Leave one side of your rectangle open! Do not stitch it closed! This is where you'll insert your foam!
Step 6: Step 5: Fabric Up Your Foam!
1. Cut off the extra fabric around your stitch, except for the open side. Don't cut too close to your stitch, or the whole thing will fall apart!
2. Turn your fabric inside out, so your fabric pattern is facing you. It should look like a little pillow case.
3. Stick your foam into your fabric case! If you chose to use batting, insert this after you put the foam in. Make sure your foam is all nice and straight, and it should sit snugly in the fabric case.
4. Sew shut the top of the case using a single stitch, and again you can double up if you want. Cut the excess fabric off.
Step 7: Step 6: Stitch It All Together!
Stitch your panels together! I stitched mine by pinching the sides together, and doing a cross stitch. Whatever works for you.
You should end up with a nice, beautifully held together, cushiony "box" worthy of your delightful camera!
Step 8: Step 7: Velcro Your Inserts
Now, you will sew (or just stick, depending on which velcro you bought) your velcro on. Granted, you are be able to do this in Step 5 when you've sewn your fabric in your panels.
Sew two strips of your velcro on the inside to allow for different placement of your inserts. This is easy, and you can even sew completely through your box if you'd like, since it will be hidden in a bag. Make sure your velcro is securely sewn in.
You will also sew velcro onto the sides of your foam inserts to correspond with your velcro lines. Use a thimble!
Step 9: Step 8: Ready to Put Into Your Purse!
Now you're ready to stick the whole thing into your purse! :)
You can sew the whole thing into your bag if you'd like. I didn't because I want the option of placing it in a different bag to match different outfits. It will fit into your purse just fine without being sewn in.
Step 10: Complete!
You're now a proud trendy owner of a camera bag disguised as a purse! I put a scarf around the handle of mine to make it look a little more fashionable, since I had a pretty boring purse.
You can now take your camera everywhere without worrying about it getting damaged, or looking ridiculous with two bags! Simply place all your purse things into the sides of your case, or into the pockets on the outside. :)