Thursday, May 8, 2014

I'm So Glad I Can Sew!

In high school and again in college, I took a photography class as an elective.  Back then, I believed I would pursue photography as a hobby. It would have meant having a dedicated room in which to pursue the hobby and spending lots of money on supplies.  (Sounds a lot like sewing, doesn’t it?)  In those days you needed chemicals to process photographs.  These days, it’s easier to practice photography because you don't need darkrooms, enlargers, or dangerous chemicals.  Now that I’m semi-retired, I’ve decided to rekindle my interest in photography.  I bought myself a digital SLR camera for Mother’s Day and enrolled in classes for digital photography and Photoshop Elements. 

The digital photography class is held in downtown Philadelphia.  I hate driving in downtown traffic and paying exorbitant parking fees.  And, I wasn’t happy about carrying a conspicuous camera bag on public transportation.  I searched my tote bag stash and found reusable grocery bags I sewed years ago.  This grocery bag was the perfect size for carrying the camera bag and a notebook to class.  There was one problem: the fabric I used made it look like a grocery bag.   

So why does all of this make me so glad I can sew?   I had a very specific need and I was able to fill it by sewing.  I bought some really fun home dec fabric from JoAnn and sewed another, more suitable bag.  If I hadn’t sewn this bag, I probably would have bought an expensive Vera Bradley tote bag.  (Vera Bradley has become my go-to source for tote bags).  Sewing this bag was so much more fun and economical.  I’d seen the bird fabric in JoAnn and I often wished I had a project in which to use it. 

Camera bag tucked neatly inside 
This bag has features I really like and make it a perfect “camera bag”.   Plastic mesh canvas is inserted into a sleeve and placed in the bottom of the bag. 

This provides more support for the camera (or groceries) than just the fabric.  Also, The corners and bottom of the bag are sewn to give the bag definition. 

During construction, I used a technique I first saw demonstrated by Louise Cutting.  She recommends pressing a seam open whenever seam allowances have to be pressed back on themselves.  This prevents the seam from rolling to one side or the other.  This technique was perfect for attaching the facing to the top of the bag.

I was so excited about making this camera bag, I decided to make two of them.  JoAnn’s Waverly Home Dec fabrics were on sale and I had a 50% off coupon for the second fabric.

When I make the second bag, I may put velcro in the top to keep it closed.

The directions for sewing this bag are here:


  1. Thank you for sharing your bags and the instructions. I really like both prints and am encouraged to make a few for myself.

  2. I love your new bag! Enjoy your camera classes -- that is something I need to learn about one of these days, too:)

  3. Wonderful bag and have a great time at your photography class.

  4. Such a cute print. Enjoy the new learning!!

  5. Pretty bag! Thanks for the link...and congrats on being semi-retired. :-)

  6. I, too, am so glad you sew! I enjoy your blog so much - the techniques, the ideas, the projects, the fabrics, beautiful wedding clothes, the colorful and clever camera bag. It's all wonderful.