Retrotastic Camera Camera Bag Tutorial
This retro design is inspired by the Diana camera sold in the 60’s – now a funky collector’s item. (They sell replicas these days, for those into lomography.)
To make this you will need one Fat Quarter print of this design on upholstery weight twill available here. The bag holds a camera up to 5″ W x 3.25″ H x 2″ D.
Seam allowance is 1/4″ (6mm).
Backstitch at start and end of all seams, unless otherwise stated.
This is not a difficult pattern to sew, however accuracy is important. Line things up carefully and take note when instructed not to sew past the dots. Like most lined bags it gets a bit fiddly towards the end. Just be calm and patient, and it’ll all work out beautifully. OK let’s get started!
Press fabric & mark with a pin where the batting line is. (See red outline and red instructions) Cut out all fabric pieces. Transfer letters A to M and their accompanying dots onto the reverse side of the fabric with a pencil or fabric marker. On Lens Back transfer the centre cut line mark. (Do not cut this line yet.) You may need to put the fabric up against the window to trace these markings.
a) Lay batting down, then place Piece 1 of fabric RSU on top, lining up the straight cut edge of the batting with the pin marking the batting line. Pin batting in place. Cut batting around fabric.
b) Trim small triangles off the batting across the corners to expose your dot markings. (This will also help prevent bulky corners)
c) Stitch around the dotted rectangle shape in the centre of the fabric, (through fabric & batting) This will form a nice base shape for your camera bag.
d) Roughly baste the batting on 1/8″ from the fabric edges. This will keep your edges nice and tickety boo as you sew, and with the basting in the seam allowance you can easily undo it as you go.
e) Stitch the soft half of your velcro piece on the circle marked “VELCRO 1”. Keep the other half of the velcro for later.
a) Lay Piece 1 RSU. Fold • A on the flap over onto • A in the centre section. Do the same with • B to • B. Stitch from the angled end of the fold, along the edge up to BUT NOT PAST • A. Do the same on the other side with • B.
b) Pin back the seam allowance at dots A and B. (This will prevent it getting caught in stitching) Next fold • C to • C and • D to • D. Stitch these two seams from the angled folds up to dots C and D. Again, DO NOT STITCH PAST THE DOTS. You’ll notice that your seam starts at the corner of the rectangular base that you sewed earlier.
c) Now in the same way, fold • E to • E and • F to • F. Stitch the seams taking care not to sew past the dots. Snip the basting along the seams sewn and trim the batting down close to the seam. (Leave the basting on the unsewn flap intact.) You will see that you have now created a lovely box shape.
4. THE STRAP:
a) Lay the two strap pieces RST matching notches. Stitch across the width of the darted end to join the two pieces into one long piece. Press the seam to one side and top stitch over it to reinforce it. Trim the notches and any excess seam allowance.
b) With RST, fold the fabric in half widthways and stitch all along the length of it, and across one end to make turning easier. Trim the corners at the sewn end. Turn RSO*. Press. (*Note: I found this twill to be a bit tough to turn RSO. It just didn’t seem to want to slide. I got a bit frustrated, then my daughter told me to “just calm down” and once I had, I found it went a little better. The quilting weight cotton would be too lightweight for a bag, so we have to use the twill. So “just calm down” and go slow and steady when you do this step. :-))
c) The strap should now be 1″ (25mm) wide. Top stitch lines of stitching down the length of the strap 1/4″ (6mm) from both edges and one down the centre.
d) Fold the strap in half, then fold it up into a neat bundle without twisting it, and with the two ends sticking out. Put the elastic band around it to hold it folded. Pop it into the lovely box you sewed earlier, and position each end centred on the sides of box, extending slightly past the edge so you can keep track of them. Pin in place with pins on the OUTSIDE of the box.
5. BAG FLAP & LINING:
a) This is a bit of an awkward corner so don’t rush it, and double check yourself as you go. Pin back seam allowances at E and F. With RST pin Piece 2 on top of Piece 1, match up lens shape, corners and dots L and M. Stitch from • L to • M taking care not to stitch over the seam allowance at • E and • F.
TIP: It gets a bit tricky to backstitch the start and finish from this point, because of all the folds, and also because you can’t see where to stop exactly on the dot when you’re going backwards. I recommend starting about a half an inch distance into the seam and sewing forward toward the dot (instead of backwards if you were backstitching) then when you get to the dot do a 180 degree turn on the needle, and then sew forwards along your seam as you would have otherwise. When you get to the end, stop at the dot and do another 180 degree turn and sew a half inch back along the seam you just sewed.
Remove remaining basting and trim excess batting close to seam line.
b) Trim outer corners, snip inner corners and notch around curve.
c) Now you need to make the inner box that will be the lining. It will get a bit fiddley, but not for long, so don’t worry. Pin the unsewn flap back towards the lens to get it out of the way. Start by stitching the straps in place from • C/A to • E/G (double letters here because depending on which side of the fabric you are looking at there are two different letters now). Double stitch over strap as you go. Then on the other side stitch from • D/B to • F/H. Trim excess batting close to seam.
d) Next the sides of the box lining. Stitch from • H to •J and on the other side • G to • K. As with all the other seams, do not sew past the dots.
6. TURNING RIGHT SIDE OUT:
a) This is the best part! Starting with the rounded lens end, turn the shape RSO through the remaining opening. Do not tuck the lining into the camera shape yet, we need to stitch up that last seam. Fold in the seam allowance on both sides between • J and • K. Then either hand stitch or machine top stitch with blue thread along the fold close to the edge. Now you can tuck the lining into the “camera” shape.
b) Press the flap and what you can of the camera box shape. Stitch along the two dotted lines on the top of the camera. This will create nice sharp fold lines for your flap.
c) Stitch the remaining piece of velcro where indicated VELCRO 2 under the flap.
7. THE LENS:
a) Place Lens Front and Lens Back RST. Stitch all around the circle. 1/4″ from the edge. Then pinch the fabric layers between your fingers to separate them. Carefully cut along the cut line drawn in pencil taking care not to cut both layers and only to cut as far as indicated. Cut notches all around the edges. Turn the lens RSO through this hole. Press.
b) Stuff lens with a little stuffing. Do not overstuff as it will be tricky to sew onto the camera. Position lens in place on the front flap. Hand stitch or machine edge stitch all around the lens to secure it in place.
That’s it! You’re done! Pop your camera in and head out on an adventure to take some pics.
MATCHING CAMERA KEY FOB:
Fold the strap in half. Sew down one side and across one end. Trim corner. turn RSO. Press.
Fold the strap in half to make a loop. Pin with the cut ends on the cut edge of the camera shape. Sew all around leaving just over an inch gap for turning. Stuff with a little stuffing and stitch up the opening. Attach a key ring to the strap loop. Voila!