What are you most proud of? That I didn't throw the whole thing out while fighting the ^%*$ zip! Who would have guessed that 2 layers of fabric, one heavily gathered, plus interfering beads, would make sewing on a zip almost impossible? Ok, so I'm a bit dim. What advice would you give someone starting this project? Don't try to mix smocking and zips - place the zip in flat fabric, or use some other fastener. And plan where you put pearls - keep them away from seams! I broke at least 4 badly-placed pearls while sewing the bag together. The appearance of the fabric was dramatically improved by interfacing, I really should have added it BEFORE I started sewing it all together, Basically, I suggest planning a bit. This worked out in spite of my casual insanity, but it could have been a lot better.