That day finally came. The two miscut pieces were shortened a bit more and became the two sides. I had another piece that became the bottom and extends up the sides by a couple of inches (if you look closely you can see the double-stitched seam).
I love the green handles. I wish I had bought more green; I would have done the bottom panel with the green as well. I think would have looked really cool (and less likely to get dirty). Maybe I'll do that for a future bag.
I'm also really happy with the bottom-to-side seams. I doubled them over on the inside (the part in the oval), so there's no raw edges. I discovered when sewing the first two bags that denim frays just by looking at it! Therefore, I've tried to leave as few raw edges as possible. I knew those horizontal seams would get a lot of contact, so finishing them off was a must. I figured the extra row of stitching would help the strength of the bag, too.