Alina Sewing and Design
Remember when I made my sister a custom camera bag? Well, specifically, I found a bag and then made a custom, removable padded insert, so she could take it out if she ever found a bag she liked more or if the one we found her gave out. I also made an insert for myself…but the problem was that I made one that would kind of fit into a few different bags…none of which were ideal for carrying around several pounds worth of camera gear. Straps too narrow = aching shoulders, bag too short/shallow = no room for anything else (particularly when traveling), bag too deep = too hard to see into when carrying.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been carrying this one around, with my insert inside. Beautiful bag (Fossil leather found for $2 at Goodwill last year…who gets rid of this stuff?!), but just not meant to be. It was both too deep and the strap too narrow. So, my brain wheels have been turning and my eyes have been on the lookout for something different. Then, last Saturday, my father-in-law went skydiving outside of Wichita (more on that in another post) and, as we were driving back into town, we passed their (very large) Target and I sighed, saying, “Ohh, how I love Target.” And to that, my sweet husband pulled into the parking lot, saying we would just go in so I could browse the aisles for as long as I wanted, in that case. Yes…I did marry a good an amazing one. So, together we meandered the aisles, playing with toys in the dollar spot, trying on atrocious hats, eyeing new fall clothes (which he did actually get–see his stellar new pants below?) and slowly taking in all of the “stuff” that I derive a little too much satisfaction from.

Oh, my handsome! Can you believe this month we’ve been married for 10 months already??

Anyway, Target has a TON of stuff on clearance right now as they clear out summer items. I’ve already scored a few awesome things, including the blue checked dress I’m wearing in the picture above (regular $24.99, I paid $7.48!). They also have some pretty sweet bags on clearance, so I walked over to check those out and saw this one…

And, more importantly, checked out the price tag. Once I saw it was 50% off, I continued to check out the rest of it. Awesome and wide strap: check! Outside pockets for lens caps, filters, keys, phone, etc.: check! Inside pockets for other misc. items, including a zipper pocket, check! Wide and long enough to accommodate all of the padding, plus camera body + at least three lenses: check! I still hemmed and hawed over spending $12.50 on a bag until it was time to check out (I know…such a cheap-o), but the more I processed it and checked it out while Cowboy was trying on clothes, the more I decided that bag was perfect for how I needed to use it.

First, I had already decided that I wanted to make my padding built in for this bag. Since this bag had a divider down the middle, I was killing two birds with one stone when I ripped out the seam holding in the divider. This both took out the divider that was in the way AND it opened up the lining for me to add the padding.

I made my padding the same way as before, only this time I didn’t need to sew a bunch of individual pieces into covers….so, basically, this was WAY faster. I cut out my plastic canvas, double-wrapped it in headliner fabric, sewed that shut (this time with my sewing machine, which took three minutes) and then hand stitched all of the pieces together, just so they wouldn’t shift around once I stitched the lining back up. (It doesn’t have to be pretty!!)

Before I stitched the lining closed, I machine-sewed the “loop” side of my velcro onto the lining, exactly where my padded dividers (I re-used the ones from my removable insert) would sit.

Then I blind-stitched the lining closed and was done! Seriously, this took me less than two hours, start-to-finish, and now…NOW I have a bag dedicated to carrying around camera equipment AND it’s still large enough to accommodate my laptop, iPad, wallet, phone, extra memory cards and more. This will be especially handy on my trip to San Diego later this month, as I’ll be carrying around all of that stuff all day long for ten days (and I’ll have to have all of that stuff in my carry-on, which I found out on my trip to Virginia in August that that is easier said than done).

I love it!

(Make sure you read this post from January, since that was a more inclusive “how-to” on everything I referred to for this one!)

Total cost breakdown:

  • Bag: $12.48, Target clearance
  • Plastic Canvas: $1.99 per sheet @ Hancock Fabric (I only used one since I had some left over from Nicole’s bag, but my bag would have used a bit more, being so tall)
  • Headliner Fabric: $6.49/yard @ Hancock Fabric (I had a 50% off coupon, this is regularly $12.99/yd)
  • Velcro: I used one 3-foot package, which is $1.99 regular, I got it for $1.39 on sale @ Hancock.
  • Thread: I just used a bit of some I had on hand!
  • TOTAL: $22.35
Yes, for $22.35 and a 2-hour investment, this bag was TOTALLY worth it. Moreover, this can be done to absolutely any bag, whether you already own it, or find a great deal on it!
It’s been awhile since I posted my original insert tutorial–have any of you guys tried your hand at it? I know a ton of you pinned it on Pinterest! 😉
P.S. I’ll be attending Sally Manlove Photography’s Moms with Cameras Workshop this weekend. Anyone local attending as well?? (And yes, I realize I’m not a mom. No, I’m not pregnant. *mom*)


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