The bag is almost done! I'm so pleased :) All of the component pieces have gone together and now I'm doing the final assembly. I came up with a different order of operations for this stage than the last time so hopefully it won't take as long or be as painful. The idea is to get the padding in as late as possible so as to affect the fewest number of seams.
The only area with which I've had trouble so far is the nylon interlining fabric I bought. It has a rubberized backing that doesn't agree with my machines. When it's on the outsides of a seam to be sewn, it tends to bunch up and skew. The solution is to apply strong tension (by pulling) as it's being sewn and use a longer stitch length. Even so, some of the seams with this stuff have very tiny stitches. I'll assume that this isn't a bad thing :)
My bellydance studio is asking me to make some drum cases. If I weren't planning to sew for myself over the next few weeks, I'd do it soon, but I'm putting it off until the new year. They're really just cylinder-like with a zipper near the top and some backpack straps.
You know, the first bag I ever made was a drawstring purse with a petal-shaped bottom pattern. It was on display and someone stole it because I guess they liked it. I had no idea that making bags would be something I'd ever willingly return to or that people would actually ask and pay me for. :)