First thing to do -- get the dimensions of a iPad. She wanted a messenger-type bag, but only as big as necessary to hold her iPad. The only other requirement was that it have pockets for iPhone and wallet, and that it have a method of securing it closed.
Next, Googled messenger bag tutorials. There were lots of them. I read through several and put together a set of specifications that would create the size bag I was looking for.
I planned to piece and quilt all exterior parts of the bag, so the next stage was piecing fabric that I'd use to cut out the pieces. I used wool suit swatches that I got from a friend that use to work for Neiman Marcus in Palo Alto, CA.
Once the parts were cut out, I layered the exterior fabric with a woven interfacing, and a muslin backing to quilt the pieces. I played with various types and weights of thread to see what worked best, and even though they were all different colors, I figured it would work with the patchwork look of the bag.
I really liked the look of the Aurifil 12wt variegated thread, unfortunately my supply was limited and I didn't quite have the colors that I wanted. (Obviously I need to increase my thread supply!) So only the sides of the bag use the Aurifil.
I also tried some Valdani 40wt and Superior's 50wt. All nice, too.
The quilting took the most time. The assembly of the lining with pockets and the bag, was fairly straight forward and not as difficult as I had feared.
For the closure, I had wanted to use some sort of toggle closure, but not having one on hand and probably not able to find one any time soon, I opted for a single large button.
This is what the finished bag looks like:
Tomorrow I'll mail it off to my sister for some real life testing to see how it stands up to use!