I'll answer part of your question with one of my wife's sayings around her crafting, partly in jest but often in practice "I am not a great crafter, I'm just very good at covering up my mistakes"
From my perspective, and I'm probably not alone in this, I'm heavily critical of my own work; but once I've considered the problems I find it a great learning process as well. So my list of challenges on the bag are;
- The tuck clasp patches are out in terms of alignment by just under an 1/8", measured twice, punched once then realised afterwards the top edge wasn't true
- Edging along the ends isn't completely clean on the burnishing. My original gluing didn't take on some sections so I had to force some more in with a syringe but even after sanding as much as I dares it still showed through.
- The stitching isn't consistent enough all over, most of it has gone really well, but those odd runs really bug the hell out of me.
- The section that goes into the closure at the top needed wet shaping before I fixed it so the closure meets completely cleanly, I was too keen to get it put together. It will bend naturally over time so hopefully not the end of the world.
After having a chat with a few of my engineering friends I've started time on making a construction sequence list until things become habit.
However, issues apart it great fun making it and I finally have my own Gladstone for work trips. Now to work out the plans for the next project...............