Well, Christmas has passed, all the presents have been opened, (I am in loooove with my new iron, btw...) and now I can write about what I made without spoiling any surprises.
I made a library bag for my niece, who is only a year and a half and already loves library books, respects their specialness, and doesn't mix them with her regular books. I used some novelty fabrics that I had already cut into squares for a project that I started 10 years ago... I don't even remember what it was going to be.
I haven't made a quilted bag before so I sort of made it up as I went along. I knew that I wanted to hide the seams as easily as possible so I actually quilted the top layer to the middle layer, and then lined the bag with what would have been the bottom layer of the quilt sandwich. The flap I made separately and quilted normally. Binding that was quite a pain... I know now to avoid rounding the corners of my quilts.
I also made a shoulder bag for my sister, with embroidery on the flap and lining made from an old jacket of hers that had gotten too small. It also has a little embroidery on the strap, specially designed for me by a dear friend, with my sister's initials hidden in the swirls.
mmmcrafts' the basic messenger bag
Review: All the steps are pretty easy and it goes together in about 4 hours (I think I sew slowly, though). The tutorial contains all the information that you need and it is easy to follow. I like the shape of the bag a lot. It turns out ok when made with canvas/denim weight material, but I think that it looks the best if you use very heavy material or add interfacing. I made two with pockets and one without pockets. In the future, if I put on pockets, I will probably modify the design to add a zip to each pocket and make them more useful.
At some point I would like to make a little ad-on to the tutorial for making differently sized bags and to streamline the instructions for people who have made it before. (The tutorial has some great explanatory pictures, but it's not easy to glance at the instructions and identify the next step.)
All in all it is a great tutorial and I will definitely be making the bag again. I already have another request in my queue.