Camera Insert for Backpack

So in a couple of months I am making a very long journey, many thousands of miles, and there are things that I want to take with me. One of those things is my camera. The thing is my camera bag doesn’t really fit into my backpack that is going to be my carry-on so that is kind of a problem. It does actually fit in it, but it takes up too much space in a large pocket I could be using for other things. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great if my camera could somehow fit inside the very front pocket of my backpack?” I played with a couple of ideas. One was taking out the wall between the front pocket and the middle pocket so there would be more room for my camera bag. When I inspected my backpack closely I decided that was not the way to go because I thought cutting through it might weaken the structural integrity of my backpack. Yeah, I know that is probably the first time you have ever heard anyone refer to the structural integrity of their backpack. So I decided to make a nice padded container that would protect it from all those bumps that it’s going to receive being in my backpack up in a luggage compartment in an airplane.

This is a very involved project. It is long, there are lots of pictures I will explain as best as I can.

Ok, sorry the pictures aren’t the greatest, but as you can see I wasn’t using my camera. I was using my Iphone for these photos.

I started off by getting out some egg-crate. Yes, that stuff that you put on your mattress. If you have one lying around you can use it to pad items you sew. You probably have one in the attic or a closet that you’re not using or don’t plan to use anytime soon.

I measured my camera against the foam to get pieces.

I got out my T-square to help me keep the foam somewhat even.





I traced around my piece then cut it out. Then I labeled it. Labeling is very important. When completing a project like this you are going to have multiple pieces to piece together so you should label them so you don’t mistake one piece for another.



I moved on to create foam pieces for all of the sides of the camera. The picture to the left shows all the pieces I cut out. Next I decided to cut out an identical piece of each of these to double-pad my Camera insert.




Once I had all the double pieces cut out it was time to sew. I sewed the two pieces of each together to make them more solid and secure. I used a large needle. You probably have one somewhere and threaded it with some ribbon. I used ribbon because I feel it holds better in foam than thread would.


Here are all of my pieces sewn together. You can see that I put a stitch about every inch. For bigger pieces you will need to sew several times across. for smaller pieces only sewing around the outside will be just fine.






The next step was to measure out cloth to cover the foam. I am using a very soft cloth. I don’t want scratches on my camera or a rough cloth messing with anything. I measured the pieces quite a bit bigger than the foam. I did this so I could have the maximum flexibility later when I was adjusting the insert. Each piece needs to have two pieces of cloth that are exactly alike.




I labeled the pieces of cloth as well. I then put the two pieces of cloth together then sewed around three sides. I then turned it right side out and inserted my piece of foam.






I stuck a pin through the fabric and foam in the middle of the piece to keep the foam in place. I hemmed up the remaining open side. I repeated this step for all of the pieces I cut out.






One of the things I did was use sticky notes to label my pieces. They all kind of look-alike when they are sewn up and I didn’t want to make a mistake. After all of my pieces were sewn up it was time to sew them together. I pinned two pieces together that would be beside each other in the finished project. I sewed them up.


I sewed up all the pieces that would go on the sides. After that came the top and bottom which I did by hand because it would have been too hard to get it through the sewing machine. I decided to take a break from sitting in my sewing chair because sitting there for long periods of time makes a person’s back hurt. So I took my sewing off to the living room.

Here it is all sewn together. You can see it’s kind of shapeless right now. That is going to change.







I tried my camera out inside of it. It’s way too cavernous for my camera as is. It needed some refining. So I went back to my needle and thread to tighten the whole thing up.






Here it is all tightened up. My camera is snug in there. No jostling around for my camera.





Next, it was time to do the cover. This part was the big pain in the butt. At first I decided I was going to try to make the cover look tailored. I cut out the pieces just like I did for the foam. I sewed them together, but I could never get the corner right, so I scrapped that cover. Then I decided to try a different approach starting from a large bag and making it look tailored. Didn’t happen, I scrapped that one too. I used up a lot of my fabric, which I wasn’t happy about, seeing as it was about 4.95 a yard. I don’t think I can salvage any of it, unless I completely pull all the seams apart which I am not going to do right now.

I finally decided on a rectangular bag. Yes a rectangle. Plain rectangle. Not fitted, just a nice simple rectangle. I have an appreciation for anyone who can pull of an irregularly shaped bag.

Ok, again sorry about the photos. I cut two square pieces of fabric. They are squares exactly. They are bigger than my foam piece. I am going to use the technique that I used when creating my handkerchief shopping bags to make this bag so I am not going to explain every step, but  I will explain how to get the creases.


I folded each square in half. I got my iron out and set it to my setting for nylon. I then ironed the entire thing, making extra care to iron the crease where I folded it.




I then folded the piece in half again. Then I ironed it again. It’s now a square again.





Yes, that’s right I folded it in half again and yes I ironed it again. After that I did the exact same thing, again. So at the end it was a tiny square.



You can sort of see the creases in this awful photo to the right.





I sewed up the pieces using the method I used to make my handkerchief shopping bags and here is the bag. I know it’s slouching over, but you would be too after all that hard work.



Next I hemmed up the unfinished edge on the top of the bag.





Ok remember how I cut out a piece for the back on my camera? Well here it is again. I didn’t sew it to the rest of my foam structure because I wanted it to act as a lid. I cut a piece of fabric bigger than the back piece was and this is when I hemmed it onto the foam piece.


I started by sewing opposite sides onto the foam piece. Then folding over and sewing the other two opposite sides. If you use nylon don’t leave any raw edges because it will unravel.



I got a piece of strap that I was going to use for the handle on this camera insert. I made sure to burn the edges a bit to keep it from raveling then I sewed the middle of it to itself, but I left the ends the way they were so I could sew those onto the insert.





After I got that piece sewn up I sewed it onto the back piece. See a handle!





Next I went back to the main piece of this project. I pinned down one side of the bag I made to the foam on the inside making sure not to leave any raw edges.



I then pinned the back piece to the side I hemmed up and sewed it onto the main piece. After that I finished hemming up around the side of the bag and sewed on a zipper that I salvaged from another bag that was destined for the trash.



It’s not the tailored look I originally hoped for, but it does the job. There is plenty of padding around my camera. It fits snugly inside the padding. It can be closed and it fits in the front pocket of my backpack. I am not too concerned about the fact that it doesn’t look fantastic because basically it’s an insert for my backpack. This project was a pain in the butt, but now I do have a nice safe place for my camera to stay in the front pocket of my backpack. I also recycled part of an old egg crate pad and a zipper from another bag. So overall, a success even if I did waste some fabric.














About Ashe

I always said my dream job would be to get paid for sitting in a corner and drawing all day long. Now, I have to ammend that idea of my dream job. I think I would like to sit in a corner and be able to get paid for drawing and writing.
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