On one side is a zippered laptop sleeve ( bottom right). It turned out really well and it is heavily padded.
On the other side is a sort of hidden pocket that I made for my hand to slip into. ( left side) The pocket is quite large on the inside. I like it but I can only put things in that are hand size.
I wanted a bag that opened on top rather than a zipper. This is so that I could fit larger things in, like pads of paper or rulers. I have gotten some comments about the way it opens on top, but I don't mind that it is not zippered. I thought I could remedy that by putting a draw string pull closure.
My favorite part of the bag is the waxed treatment. The fabric is actually a light beige but with the wax it became a darker khaki. I waxed the poly suede and it became shiny and much more durable. This was my first time doing a wax treatment to add water proofing. I don't think I put enough on but, but I lined the outer fabric with water resistant lining material- available at Fields. I was stuck in one especially heavy down pour and nothing got wet inside. I used a tutorial online for the wax treatment. I used 100% parafin and a paint brush to do this. I have since done a second bag differently, see Handmade Backpack 2 for details.
Things I learned: Having one central strap caused gapping on the side and put a lot of stress on the strap. You can see the shredding of the belt I used for the strap, which may just be because that belt wasn't made for that type of stress.
Also I need more pockets. And a place for a travel cup or bottled water. I was constantly having to get into the bag for these and it was just clumsy.
However I do like steam lined, minimalistic look without a lot of clutter, so I guess there is some sacrifice.
Here's the three backpacks I have made. The middle has internal laptop sleeve, the outter two have external laptop zipper pockets. I repurposed the organization pouches from thrift store bags to save me time. I made all the straps and spent time making then strong and reinforced. I basically was experimenting with top closures, sizes, and usefulness of bags.