I love sewing bags. So, I decided to get really ambitious for this round and design my own bag. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a frequent traveler, I do travel enough to want a bag that will comfortably (and safely) hold both my laptop and my “big” camera, especially when we are flying somewhere.
The fact that I designed this bag myself is the main reason I didn’t finish it in the timeframe allotted for round three: not only did it take quite a bit of time to finalize the pattern, but I also underestimated the fabric I needed (I purchased it before I had all of the design details worked out), and then I had to have my mom help me get more, since I’d bought it at a store near her, and my local store didn’t have it! I also planned (and have all the supplies) to make a foam-padded camera insert for this bag, and I still will, but it was not quite possible for me to finish it in time for the community match deadline (keep your eyes out for it here on the blog!) I am so pleased, however, that I finished up the bag in time for the deadline of the community match, and I am so excited about it!
As I considered the design for the bag, I looked at camera/laptop bags that I have admired and wished for. I collected my ideas on a Pinterest board so that I could have a visual reference as I worked out the details. I also really, really like the diaper bags that I have used for the past 3+ years (I liked my first one so much that I got a second one when my son was born, in a different fabric!), and so a few of the design elements are drawn from those bags as well. The outer fabric is an “outdoor fabric”, which I hope will be extra durable, though it was a challenge to work with it (it is hard to press creases, and when you do, they are almost permanent, so you’d better press correctly the first time!). I used a stiff stabilizer to give the bag more structure. The lining is made from cotton, which I quilted to fabric from an old mattress pad in the same way as my daughter’s backpack‘s lining.
The bag has two zippered, pleated pockets on the front. I absolutely love this detail, and I’m pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to attach the zipper “placket” so that the pockets are secure and useful.
On the back, there is another large zipper pocket.
The two sides of the bag each have a large pocket for holding a water bottle. The width of the pocket is purposely about an inch more than the width of the bag side; I centered the gathered excess at the bottom.
The top of the bag zips (another proud-of-myself-moment, when I worked out how to insert this zippered panel).
The bottom of the bag is reinforced with plastic (Husband and I cut up a lid from an old Rubbermaid tub!) and there are purse feet.
Here’s a secret: the metal hardware for this bag was pillaged from my first (well-worn!) diaper bag. I did purchase a package of four purse feet, but the fifth foot was one from the diaper bag, too! I also have two more metal D-rings that are ready to add to the side-ends if I decide that I’d like to have a cross-body strap for this bag.
Inside on the back “wall,” I added a double-layer quilted divider to hold my laptop. The divider has velcro straps to keep the laptop in place.
On the front wall of the bag, I added another zippered pocket (I love zippered pockets!), and a clip for holding keys.
On one side-end, I added an elastic-top pocket so that I could keep all those computer and camera cords corralled.
I worked on this bag whenever I could, in between other projects (PhD ornaments, pajamas, coat) and summer traveling, and I daydreamed about it more than twice as much, constructing it and re-constructing it in my mind! I have no idea how many hours I spent on it, but I am very pleased with the outcome.
I fully intend to add a photograph of myself holding the bag, for scale, but I didn’t have a chance to get the photo(s) before the community match deadline. I definitely wanted to make sure that I posted about the bag in time!