It did sort of cost an arm and a leg to make, but mostly because I made the mistake of shopping at the posh fabric store down the street rather than the cheaper Joann's fabrics (which I would have had to drive much farther to get to). I think it would have been much better had I bought everything at a cheaper fabric store. It took me about a week to make, but I only worked on it for two or three hours each time and was being really careful with everything (more so than I usually am).
The lining is timex and regular interfacing. The timex is much stiffer than interfacing and is what makes the bag look much more professional (I think). In any case, I really liked using it and will probably be using it a lot now that I know what it is.
And yes, this was my first time doing piping. I didn't use a zipper foot, but I think that would have made it a lot easier. One thing when you do the piping on this bag, make sure you read ahead to know when it should be "as close as you can get it" because I didn't and found out there was one more seam to get even closer!!
I've heard many difficult things about this pattern so it took me awhile to get started (really I was procrastinating so badly). However, it was not as bad as I had feared, and having a denim needle really made a huge difference. The only problem I had was as everyone said, getting the piping seam close enough, but it turned out ok. It took some time to do though, but I can't describe how much I learned about bag construction from doing this pattern. Normally I just try to make something up and don't want to use patterns if I can do it from my head, but this pattern really taught me so much. In any case, I was proud to hear friends tell me it looked store bought! I hope you like it (I'm really a fan of using contrasting fabrics for lining and exterior fabrics, as long as they are somewhat coordinating in color and outstanding on their own).