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Reader Feature: DIY Camera Bag

Cute AND functional? Probably expensive. Affordable AND functional? Probably pretty ugly. When it comes to camera bags, you pretty much have to pick your battles. Until today. Beth from The Incomplete Guide to Living is stopping by to share her brilliant solution for creating a gorgeous, functional DIY camera bag from a purse!!


I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of love for my camera, and I really want to be able to take it out and about easily.  For the first month of DSLR ownership, my camera sat in a basket on my desk.  I did not have an easy time finding a camera bag that I sort of liked could probably tolerate, and £45 seemed like a lot to spend on something I didn’t even really like…

Somewhere during this process, I  discovered Jo Totes. They’re all “Hey….I’m a camera bag!…..or am I?” Camera bags masquerading as handbags is just a genius idea. Sadly, having just forked over a chunk of cash for the camera itself, I could not justify buying a Jo Totes bag.  Even though they are probably the most affordable brands of beautiful camera bags designed for women, they still cost about £100 a pop after shipping for the cheaper designs. Sad face.

Then, it occurred to me that I could probably make something similar if I found the right bag…. So, I picked up a bag for £20 from TK Maxx (yes, it’s “TK” Maxx in England), some 3/4″ foam for £2.50, a yard of fabric for £5, and I got to work!


  • Cute purse that has the features you want (zipper, pockets, shoulder strap, etc.)
  • 3/4″ thick foam
  • 1 yard of cute fabric


1. Measure the inside of the bag, and then cut foam pieces to size until they all fit together. 


2. Use those pieces as your pattern & cut fabric to cover each foam piece.


3. Cut two pieces of fabric for each foam insert.

bag-pattern-diy, camera bag

4. Sew the fabric together on two of the long sides and one of the short sides, forming a sort of pillow case type apparatus.


5. After sewing the cases for the foam, iron them, turn them right side out, and slide the foam in.  Then you can sew them shut on the second short side. (My mother-in-law, who is actually a seamstress, suggested that I go back over the closing side with a zig-zag rather than a straight(ish) stitch to make the padded inserts more durable…I haven’t done this yet, but I will!)


6. Piece them together into the bag, and then… TADA!

camera bag diy

That little white strip is the manual, which fits just perfectly in the little side zipper pocket.

In total, this project cost £30, and only took about 2-3 hours.  (You could probably do it more quickly if you have any knowledge of sewing, including but not limited to how to thread the needle of your sewing machine…..) I’m so glad I thought to do this, and my camera is glad too. :-) I think this will do just fine for a while, even though I’d still really really like a Jo Totes bag someday!

Disclaimer: I’ve sewed one other time in my life, so the sheer terror of working with a sharp metal object moving up and down in close proximity to my fingers is something I’m still getting used to.  I did feel a little less terrified toward the end of the sewing part, and I was so happy with how it turned out!

Where do you store your photography equipment?  Does your camera feel all snug and stylish in a chic camera bag?

For more details about her project, head over to Beth’s blog, The Incomplete Guide to Living.

Thanks so much for sharing, Beth!! I love that you found a cute, easy way to organize your camera gear without breaking the bank! So smart!
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5 comments on “Reader Feature: DIY Camera Bag
  1. Serena | Pretty Fluffy says:

    Fabulous idea! I’m scared of sewing too, but love the idea of of non-ugly camera bag :)

  2. Sandra {} says:

    Super cute! Great idea, thanks for sharing Beth and Casey!

  3. Darlene Nemeth says:

    What a fantastic idea and so cute. I am pinning it.

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