Somewhat recently my camera bag was stolen (luckily JUST the bag, not my camera) and I was bummed since I would have to re-buy but I also saw it as an opportunity to get a better (read: cuter) one. I often would not bring my camera places because I didn't want to carry around a camera bag with my purse and whatever else.. Either that or wrap egg crate or scarfs around my camera and stuff it in my purse. Neither were cutting it for me. I looked online and i found some good non-traditional camera bags that look like purses, but all of them were well over $100 and up to $300.. (if you put all the purses i've ever bought in my life together it still wouldn't come close to that total). Procrastination eventually lead to an idea in the back of my head of just making one myself. And after christmas I found the ideal shape/size purse at target on clearance. I got the rest of the supplies at joann fabric and made it in a night, while watching the beauty and the beast blu-ray. This purse probably wouldnt have been my first choice if I were just picking it out as a purse, but it looks a million times better than any plain camera bag so i'm very pleased! And it all cost less than $20.
(Edited to add updated pictures and note: December 2011
p.s. This has held up surprisingly well.. i've been using it for exactly a year now. I use it daily and have also taken it on MANY trips and its still in great condition.. no wear on the padding, no tears or anything. easily one of the most useful and fun projects i've done!)
a better picture of the inserts out of the purse ^
and a photobooth picture to show my camera inside
Here we go, I'll try to explain this the best i can..
a purse/bag - i wanted something very specific..ie: just tall enough for a DSLR, just wide enough for the camera to sit flat, a tapered top so its easy to carry, zipper closure, room to fit other lenses and camera equipment and also room for a small wallet and other everyday things.
3/4 inch foam - 1/4 yard
1/2 inch foam - 1/4 - 1/3 yard, depending on how many inserts you want.
1 yard of fabric to cover foam - you might not need a whole yard, but i wanted to make a whole bunch of extra inserts just in case some get lost.
Velcro - one package should do
Opt: velcro glue
I measured the inside of my bag, and decided i wanted foam on all sides (bottom, both long sides and both short sides).
These are the measurements i used for my foam, yours will probably be different but overall it should be around the same size.
Bottom pad: 13 1/2" x 4 3/8" using 3/4" foam
Short sides: 4 1/2" x 4 3/8" (make 2)
Lens dividers: 7 1/2" x 3" (make atleast 3)
Straight divider: 4 1/2" x 3 1/2" (make 2)
Long side pads: 10" x 4 1/2" (make 2)
Now, use all these foam pieces as a pattern for the fabric, adding about an inch to all sides for seam allowance. Cut two pieces of fabric for each foam insert (obviously!)..
Note: For the lens divider, add 2 inches to the short ends so you have little flaps to sew velcro onto.
Decide where you want your velcro and cut to size and sew onto right side of fabric.
Now, sew three sides of the fabric, and stick the foam in, making a pillowcase type thing for the foam, then fold in and pin the opening closed and sew shut.
(Alternately, you could use velcro glue to glue the velcro anywhere you wanted to save you some trouble.. but i opted to sew my velcro on)
When you are done sewing all your pieces together use velcro glue to put velcro on the inside and bottom of the purse to keep your main foam pieces in place. Add your dividers and you're set.
If you have ANY experience sewing you can definitely do this, and even you don't, i bet you could. I just made it up as i went along and made it work and it turned out extremely well!
There are so many little parts to it, it can seem overwhelming but it was actually super easy and quick. I have a hard time explaining things like this all at once, so if you have any questions, feel free to email them to me. firstname.lastname@example.org