I have finished the bag and shipped it out to its new owner. I am so very glad to be done but shipping it is like sending a pet out to someone. Well, maybe not a pet - but when you spend as much time as I have on this (30 or 40 hours), you do get kind of attached to it. So I have to let go of it and hope that its new owner loves it like I do.
I really am very happy with this bag. I think I did a great job, personally. I showed it to Ian last night before it was finished and he liked it, too. I did change the padding to be less poufy in addition to a few other small changes and it looks and feels a lot better than it did yesterday.
That's not to say that the bag is perfect, of course; the main compartment lining, for example, isn't anchored to anything except for the zipper because I haven't been doing that. I'm thinking that I might like to anchor it somehow next time so that it stays in place all the time. Part of me figures that since it's a messenger bag, it's supposed to be kind of casual and so having a "loose-ish" lining isn't so bad. Still, I'll have to put some thought into it to see how this could be done easily. I did anchor the laptop compartment lining to the padding which made it more stable and less likely to shift around or come out.
Anyways, you can see pictures of my latest creation here.