Alina Sewing and Design

DIY Custom Camera Bag, Take 2 (Built-in Padded Insert)

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*)

2012 Goals and a Free Printable

Good morning, loves!

I have great news…are you ready? It’s Saturday!!! One of my favorite times of the week is waking up on Saturday morning with plenty of time to spare (you know…around 9:00 or so…we’re not talking early here, people). There’s something about having an entire day open and free to accomplish and tackle projects, take day trips, go to the gym…whatever your heart desires and the day can handle! The day is simply full of optimism and promise at that point.

So, on this optimistic Saturday morning, I thought I would share some of my goals for 2012. I’m not a big fan of setting resolutions because I think you should make necessary changes asap…not wait for the beginning of the year. However, I am a very goal-oriented person. There are things (for myself) that I’ve pushed off until “after the wedding” (do you know how many times I’ve said those words in the last six months?). So, here we are…”after the wedding”…and I thought it would be a perfect time to start myself with some fun goals.

So here we go:

  • Make a quilt: two of my great-grandmas were quilters. One on my mom’s side and one on my dad’s side. I, very luckily, ended up with a quilt that great grandma “Y” made and it covers the bed in our guest bedroom. She has since passed (when I was little), but my great grandma Ruth (mom’s side) is still here. Mostly, I remember being at her little apartment when we would make trips back home to Texas to see family. I remember her making bean soup (and letting me put as much salt as I wanted in them…isn’t that a weird memory? I have no idea why this was a big deal to me…although I’m sure I was just flexing my independence from mom’s watchful eye, haha! I ate some verrryyy salty beans at her house). I also remember her quilting. I remember the frame in the back bedroom that could pretty much stretch across the whole room as she would be in the middle of hand-stitching one of her quilts. She doesn’t quilt anymore…but that’s because she’s 94! She was extremely talented and her work was exquisite. So, in memory and ode to my great-grandmas, I want to make a quilt. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is the one.
  • Make my own cleaning projects: This is one of those things I’ve simply been keeping front-of-mind to accomplish for quite some time. So, now that I’ve written it down (I’m an OCD list-maker), it will happen! Not only will this save money, but it will also rid our home of some harsh chemicals.
  • Take a yoga class: again, this is one of those things that I’ve been wanting to do, but just keeps getting pushed aside. This is the year of yoga! As a previous marathon runner, I’m looking forward to working up a sweat and getting a good workout without beating my body up.
  • Learn my camera: (more on this below)
  • Make a piece of clothing (for myself): I specified because I’ve made clothing before. In fact, I made our flower girl dresses. But I’ve never made a piece of clothing for myself. I haven’t been specifically inspired by anything as of yet, but it’s only January 7. And accessories (like scarves, bags, etc.) don’t count because I’ve made those too.
Now, for the camera. After returning duplicate wedding gifts, adding up all of our Target gift cards and redeeming a 10% off coupon Target sent us for remaining registry items, the Mr. and I came home with this:

 Yep…a Canon EOS Rebel T2i. It’s like a dream come true. Seriously…I’ve been eyeing this camera for a very long time. I did in fact put it on our registry, if you caught that a minute ago, in hopes that someone would decide to be super duper uber generous to us (well, people WERE generous…but an $800 camera would have taken the cake on generous, if you know what I mean). BUT it ended up working out perfectly; in classic Alina fashion, we ended up getting it for $625 with an in-store sale + 10% off coupon. That also just happened to be almost exactly what we had in gift cards, so we walked out with this baby for freeeeee!!! A BIG thank you to everyone who gave us Target gift cards!

So, I want to get to know my camera. I spent an evening watching YouTube videos on ISO, aperture and shutter speed, so I’m happy to say I now know how to work my camera in manual mode…but that doesn’t mean I quite have a feel for which settings are best in which situation. For now, I can use Canon’s pre-set modes while I dabble in manual, but I’d like to have a MUCH better understanding by the end of the year. Like, as in I could explain it to someone else with confidence.

Finally, I do have one more goal. It’s always been my goal to see all 50 states before I turn 25, which seemed really easy and reasonable at the age of 18, when I set the goal. Now, I only have a little over a year and a half left! Ack! I only have 20 states left, but that includes Hawaii and Alaska…so, wish me luck.

I mentioned above that I’m an OCD list-maker. Seriously…I would live and die by my lists. There’s something about finishing an item and being able to cross it off. I’m just like my step-mom in that if I accomplish something that wasn’t on “the list,” I will actually physically add it to the bottom of the list, just so I can cross it off! Crazy, I know.

I like to do the same thing with states. I’ve had various maps printed out since I set this goal so that I could cross off states as I accomplished them, but I decided to make one I could hang on the wall to display. I found a printable map here and tweaked it a bit to make it my own. I put it in an 8×10 frame (so it should print nearly perfect for an 8×10 frame…let me know if it doesn’t) and colored in the states I’ve been to with a dry erase marker. You could color in the states on the paper itself, but let’s face it…dry erase markers are way more fun.



So, for the first ever MYU free printable, I thought I would share it, both as a thank you and as an encouragement to travel and try something new this year.  Click HERE or the picture below to download!


Please only download/print these for personal use–please and thank you!

Enjoy your Saturday, friends!

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