Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Padded DSLR Camera bag tutorial

I know I'm not the only one who wouldn't mind having a camera bag tutorial, so here it is!
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, leave a comment!

  • 1 ½ yards main fabric
  • 1 yard contrast fabric
  • 2” Slide (x1)
  • 2” D-rings(x2)
  • 2 2” swivel hooks(x2)
  • ¾” D-ring(x1)
  • ½” swivel clasp(x1)
  • purse feet
  • zipper—I used a 9” zipper
  • Plastic template
  • interfacing
  • Fusible web
  • Something for padding—I used a foam sleeping mat used for camping. You could use a yoga or exercise mat, thick craft foam, or any other type of closed-cell or high-density foam. It needs to be ¼ to ½ inch thick.

Cutting your pieces

 From your main fabric, cut:
            a. Outer—12 ½” x 16” (cut 2), then cut a 2 ½” square from both bottom corners
            b. Lining—12 ½” x 16” (cut 2) then cut a 2 ½” square from both bottom corners
            c. Back pocket—16”x9” (cut 2) then cut a 2 ½” square from both bottom corners
            d. Strap—5” x 44” (cut 1)—(this was the width of my fabric. You can cut it longer if you want a longer strap. If you want to make the strap out of webbing, just cut the length you want from 2” wide webbing.)

 From your accent fabric, cut:
            e. Closure—2”x7” (cut 2)
            f. Strap loops—5” x 3” (cut 2)
            g. Inner pockets—11” x 6 ½” (cut 2) (optional and not shown in picture)
            h. Zipper pocket—9”x13” (cut 1)
            i.  Outer pocket—7 ½” x 12 ½” (cut 1)
            j. divider cover—(size varies depending on size of padding, not shown in picture )
            k. pocket binding—16”x3” (cut 1)
            l. strap pad—5”x5” (cut 2)
            m. Flap—10 ½ x 11 ½ (cut 2), round two corners on one short end, if desired.

Apply interfacing to each piece.

From your Velcro, cut 4 pieces of loop 8” long. Cut 8 pieces of hook about 1” long.

From your padding, cut 7 pieces: (these measurements are for 1/2 “ thick padding)
            a. padding front and back—11 x 8 (x2)
            b. padding bottom—4 ½ x 10 ½ (x1)
            c. padding sides—4 ½ x 8 (x2)
            d. padding dividers—4 ½ x 7 ½ (x2) (not shown)


1.         Take your strap loops and fold the long edges to the middle so the loop now measures 2” wide (or, put short edges wrong sides together and sew short edges together, turn right side out)

2.         place a 2” D-ring on the loop, fold the loop in half, and sew as close to the D-ring as possible (I used a zipper foot).
 3.         Do this to both strap loops. Set aside.

4.         Take your pocket binding. Fold both long edges in, then fold in half. Press.
5.         place back pocket pieces wrong sides together.
6.         Sew to top edge of back pocket. 

7.         Place back pocket on one outer piece, right sides facing you and baste or pin
8.         measure the center point (8”) and sew a line from the bottom of the pieces to the top of the pocket, making sure to reinforce the stitching at both ends. Set aside.

9.         pin your front outer piece and your zipper pocket piece right sides together.
10.       Draw a box, about 7” x ½” about 2” from the top.
11.       sew on the box outline
12.       cut a line in the center of the box until you get about ½” from the short ends, then cut a diagonal to each corner.
13.       flip the pocket fabric to the wrong side through the slit you just made. Press.
14.       Sew the zipper in place, centering it in the slit.
15.       Flip outer piece over. Fold the zipper pocket piece in half and sew up the sides. You don’t need to sew the top; it will be enclosed in a seam later.
16.       Take your outer pocket piece. Fold it in half, right sides together, short edges touching.
17.       Sew all the way around, leaving an opening to turn.
18.       Turn right side out and press.
19.       Center on outer piece right below the zipper pocket. Sew on the sides and bottom of the pocket, reinforcing at the top of each side, making sure not to catch the zipper pocket in your seam.
20.       Fold your closure pieces wrong sides together with the long edges together. Sew and turn right sides out. Press so the seam is in the center.
21.       Center one closure piece on the outer front, one raw edge on the lower edge, then topstitch down at least 3”, leaving the other end free.
22.      place the ¾” D-ring on the free end, fold the end over twice, and stitch down, securing the D-ring in the second fold. The amount can vary. I stitched it at this point, and adjusted it later.
23.       Place the swivel clasp on the other closure piece. Fold the raw edges together, centering the clasp.
24.       Place the flap pieces right sides together, and sandwich the closure piece between the flap pieces on one short end (the rounded one, if you rounded ).
25.       Starting at the opposite short end, sew around the other three edges. Turn flap right sideout. Topstitch.
26.       Center 2 pieces of loop velcro on each lining piece, about 3 3/4” inces from the bottom, and 4” apart. Sew down.
27.       place lining pieces right sides together and sew one side seam.
28.       Take the inner pocket pieces and match the short edges, wrong sides together. Sew around raw edges, leaving an opening for turning. Clip corners and turn right side out.
29.       make an inch pleat on both sides and press.
30.       center the pocket on the lining side seam. On each side, sew only through one pocket layer. At the bottom of the pocket, sew through ALL layers, keeping the pleat folded. This will let the pocket open.
31.       Sew the other lining side seam and apply the other inner pocket as described and sew the bottom seam of the lining.
32.       To square the corners, line up side and bottom seams and the raw edges. Mark where to sew by measuring where the seam is 5 inches long (see photo)
33.       Sew the marked seam.
34.       Place outer pieces right sides together. Sew side and bottom seams.
35.       square the corners of the outer and turn right side out.

36.       Apply purse feet by following this tutorial: http://nicolemdesign.blogspot.com/2009/07/simple-purse-feet-tutorial.html
37.       place the right-side-out outer inside the wrong-side-out lining. Sandwich the flap and strap loops, making sure the flap is centered at the back of the bag and the loops are centered on the side seams.
38.       Sew around the top of the bag.
39.       rip the stitches from the bottom seam of the lining and pull the outer through.

40.       fit the padding into the outer, starting with the bottom, then the sides, and finally the front and back. They should fit snugly.
41.       Cut 2 pieces of Fusible web to fit the front and back pieces of padding. Stick it to the padding, then position the lining so it lies tight and flat. Press according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (don’t iron directly onto the Velcro—it WILL melt. Use a pressing cloth. Ask me how I know…)
42.       hand stitch the opening in the lining closed.

43.       Take your strap piece and fold it wrong sides togeter, long edges meeting. Sew down the long edge and turn right side out. Press, with the seam centered
44.       thread one end of the strap through the slide. Fold over the end ¼” to ½”, and sew. Thread one swivel hook onto the free end, then thread it back through the slide. Then put the free end of the strap through the other swivel hook. Fold the raw edge over and sew.

45. for the strap cover, I used this tutorial: http://makeitandloveit.blogspot.com/2009/05/seat-belt-covers.html

46. To make the padded inserts, take your divider covers, fold them in half wrong sides together, and sew along the two sides, leaving the raw edge opposite the fold open. Turn right side out.
47.       sew along one side about an inch from the side seam, and stop about an inch from the open side.
48.       Insert the padding divider, and pin along the long side that has only one seam, stretching the fabric so it fits the padding snuggly. You want about an inch of unpadded fabric on both sides.
49.       Once you have it fitted as tightly as you want it, remove the padding, and sew where you’ve pinned. Then sew the hook Velcro onto the sides, matching the distance between with the distance between the loop Velcro on the lining.
50.       insert the padding dividers into the fabric covers, turn raw edges under, and hand sew the opening closed.

Now all you have to do is insert the dividers and attach the strap. 

Admire your beautiful padded bag after all that hard work! You deserve it!


  1. I must say you have impeccable timing with this tutorial! I've been thinking about getting a new camera bag that will hold all of my accessories, but thought maybe it would be better to make my own. I did a search today and found your design which is super cute! Thanks so much!

  2. Pretty fabulous!!! :) Great job! I am so going to make one of these! THanks!

    www.aperfectmemory.com (wall vinyl site)
    www.aperfectmemory.com/clevermama (my mama blog- pretty new)

  3. I just found your blog and all I can say is... IT'S FANTASTIC!!!

  4. Nice Work, I need to sew something to put my new DSLR in, this will be perfect!!!

  5. This is BRILLIANT! I was looking for a way to make a stylish bag for my mom's new camera and I'm so very glad you posted the tutorial!

    I also really like the bag you made for your firend- it's fun and I like being able to see everything inside because it's not black!

  6. Love the tutorial. I thought it very easy to understand. I wanted an insert for my purse that would protect my camera, so I wouldn't have to carry around two bags. I modified your pattern very slightly and came up with exactly what I had been looking for. Thanks!

  7. THIS IS PERFECT!!!! I can't wait to try your tutorial out!! Cute camera bag here I come!!!!

  8. This is so great, I was thinking of buying a cute camera bag, but it is 50$. I really want to make this, but it seems hard, I will try it hopefully this weekend. How much did this cost to make? (bet it's not 50$). This is really great work, I am so glad you are sharing this with us. Thank you.

  9. Thanks for the tutorial! I made one and posted it on my blog.

  10. Thank you everyone!
    I hope everyone who tries this tutorial is successful.

    Mrs. Duncan, it DID cost less than $50 to make...It was close to $35, but I also bought a lot of new materials, and had extra.

    Thanks so much for posting! your bag looks incredible.

  11. Your tutorial is wonderful! Very detailed! Thank you!
    I had a quick question - I checked out the video you linked for the feet - but I don't have a Saddlers Punch - where did you get yours? Or what did you use? Is it called something else? I was trying to avoid ordering it from overseas, since shipping is so expensive, but will if I must! =)
    Just can't find one online - other than the site in Oz.


  12. Miya,
    Thank you so much!
    I got punch from my mother, who got it from my grandfather....It's a leatherworking tool. Tandy Leather has a whole set for $50, but Amazon has them for around $12. I googled "leather punch" and found this: http://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Leather-Punch-Leathercraft-Horse/dp/B000RB3X5Q
    good luck!

  13. Can you tell me what level of sewing project you believe this is? I would like to try to make it, but I am a beginner sewer.

  14. Kissing the Prince, this is probably an intermediate project, just because there are so many steps. If you've had any experience making lined bags, I'm sure you can make this bag. It's pretty much all straight stitching and straight seams. You can make it easier if you want by leaving out the interior pockets and/or the zipper pocket. If you still want to try it yourself, I would suggest asking a more experienced sewer for a little bit of help

  15. Thank you for the response. I think I am going to give it a whirl, and if I run into problems, I will find an experienced sewer to help. Too bad I don't like my mom in law.. I would ask her!

  16. Where did you get your strap hooks, clasps, and slide. I can't find any that are that big. Help! I love this bag.

  17. Laura, I got my hardware at strapworks.com. They have an AMAZING selection! metal or plastic in all sorts of colors and sizes and styles. I can't tell you how long I spent looking and trying to decide what I wanted to buy. Their turnaround is pretty good, too.

  18. Jennifer thank you do much for this tutorial! I have just posted on my blog my own version, it is simplier and smaller than yours but I used your instructions (and linked to this tutorial) that were very very clear and detailed, so a big big thank you!!!!

  19. That bag is amazing. I would attempt to make one myself but I am not that great of a sewer. Do you sell them already finished?

  20. Frederica, I'm so glad you had success! It's a gorgeous bag!
    Lisa, Thank you! I'm not selling any at the moment...Honestly, figuring out this one took a lot out of me. I also have a ton of other projects in the works that I need to finish, and I have 3 children ages 4 and under. Family comes first. I'm sorry. I will definitely think about making more.

  21. Posted this tute on my blog today! Hope you don't mind! You can see it here:


    If you prefer me not to just let me know and I'll sadly take it down :) Thanks for a great project!

  22. Good luck with making it! Don't worry, I don't mind you linking to me :)

  23. You are fantastic!! I just bought a new dslr camera and haven't been able to find just the right case - until I found yours. I've already started it, but have a question - on step 9 did you really mean "wrong" sides together? the picture looks like right sides and the directions kind of sound like right sides together. I dont want to sew and cut if it will turn out wrong. I am so excited, I just can't wait to get this done. Thank you so much for being such and ingenious and sharing person

  24. Yes, I did mean right sides together on step 9. Sorry about that. I've edited it and fixed it. Thank you!

  25. Thank you so much for this tutorial! Short of tearing my camera bag apart to find out what type of foam was inside of it (I can't because I have a big wedding on Saturday, the 17th - a big 2 camera thing!), I was thinking about using material from an old blanket we have that no one uses. I never even thought about those little pad things - I've seen those all over the place at the thrift store here! Going shopping tomorrow again.....

  26. About how long did this take you to make?

  27. Your instructions look really good, however, I cannot see what the seam allowance is. I am assuming 1/2 inch. Please advise if that is not correct.
    Also, for the padding, I was able to get a 1/4 inch Yoga mat from the Dollar Store (yeah!) Do I cut using the dimensions you gave?

  28. Tonya: Good luck!

    Jessica: I worked on it off and on for about a month. total time was probably about 10 hours. Remember, that was including figuring out how to make it and making the pattern--I didn't have the benefit of the tutorial :) If I made one now, it would probably take about 2-4 hours.

    Anonymous: for a 1/4" mat, the dimensions should be:
    a. padding front and back—11 1/2 x 8 (x2)
    b. padding bottom—5 x 11 (x1)
    c. padding sides—5 x 8 (x2)
    d. padding dividers—4 ½ x 8 (x2)
    Hope this helps.

  29. Hi Jennifer,

    Great stuff! I am a photographer and recently bought a beautiful handmade leather camera bag unfortunately it is not lines with padding.
    I was wondering if I could pay you to adjust your pattern to make a lining insert for it? I can't sew but as I said would happily pay for your time.

    Love your blog!



  30. What types of fabric did you use? Cotton?

  31. Leslie, I did use cotton. regular old cotton :)
    The green is Kona cotton and the lemons are an Alexander Henry print. You can use any type of fabric that you want. If I could have found any, I would have used waterproof fabric.

  32. Wow, this bag is exactly what I am looking for...don't suppose you make them to sell??


  33. What is the finished project size??


  34. this is really good to have a camera bag by my own hand.


  35. Wow! This is exactly what I was looking for, I just hope I can follow all those steps! It looks awesome!

  36. I wish I could sew....even just a button onto a coat or something. Awesome bag. I would buy it. You might consider making them and selling them on Etsy.

  37. wow! I have thought about making my own, but thought it would be too hard. I may try this. Thanks for the tutorial!

  38. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I followed your directions (SUPER GOOD DIRECTIONS) and made a camera bag for my daughters birthday. She loves it. I didn't put the zipper in, but maybe next time.


  39. This tutorial looks great, I just got a camera as a graduation present and have been looking for a pattern to make my own bag, black bags not only look ugly but since all my equipment is black, are hard to use! Can't wait to get the materials for this so I can get started!!!

  40. My nephew wnats me to make him a camera bag and this apttern look perfect.
    Thank you.

  41. I'm looking to make this bag for a video camera and will probably need to modify the dimensions slightly. Does anyone know what the final dimensions are for this bag?

    1. I can't remember the exact dimensions. I gave it to a friend almost immediately after I finished it. I do know that she can fit her DSLR, at least one or two extra lenses, extra batteries and extra memory cards.

      Hope this helps

  42. Awsome I cant wait to make it!!!!

  43. Thanks so much for this I used it to make a bag for my sisters birthday.

    1. I hope your sister liked it. I would be thrilled

  44. Jennifer, I am confused about how to complete steps #6-#9.

    This is what I got out of step #6: http://i43.tinypic.com/wuo2s5.jpg

    Am I even on the right track?! Hahaha.

    Thanks for your help! AWESOME tutorial!

    1. You're making the pockets, right? You want to line up the side with the two squares cut out so they're right on top of each other, right sides facing the same way (printed fabric on top), and then sew a line from the middle of that side up to through the printed fabric.

      Does that make sense? (sorry for the delay in response)

  45. Just found this tutorial and it's going to be the perfect project for me and my mother-in-law to make together!

  46. Good article and right to the point. I don't know if this is actually the best place to ask but do you guys have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thank you :)
    Dynalon Products Glass Disposal Box; 8L x 8W x 10 in. H

  47. Just made one . . . . Thanks so much for the tutorial!! I love how it turned out :)

  48. So excited to try this awesome tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to put it together. Thinking about laminating my favorite fabric with iron on vinyl for the exterior.

  49. I haven't tried making this but have to say your finished product looks VERY professional! Highly impressive.

  50. Where would you suggest getting the majority of the materials? More specifically all the metal works (d rings, zipper, purse feet, ext.)... also any recommendations on where to purchase the fabric needed? This is awesome by the way thank you for this great idea!

  51. Gorgeous bag! Thank you for the tutorial :)

  52. Thank you so much. This was actually what i was looking for. Made a few changes to suit my fabric but a huge "Thank you"