It’s finished! Thanks for your encouragement, crafty friends! For the record, I had been sewing with Tim sewn to the fabric and cut 5/8 of an inch smaller all around. I wrestled and wrestled with Tim, trying to beat him into submission, but in the end, Tim proved to be stronger than I and an important lesson was learned: If possible, put Tim in at the very end of a project, because that’s what he really wants anyway, and trying to wrestle with him is a losing battle.
So I got my curved bottom, side panel that’s shorter than the exterior, spiral sewing on the side panel and handles that attach to the outside. What it really needs is a zipper closure at the top, but that is something for another day, or it may be one of those things that I never get back to. It felt good to try something new, to struggle with the process, and share the frustrations and success with you!