Let the real fun begin!

However, as you can see from the title photo, this stage for me involved the dreaded stitch-ripper… In fairness, I’ve only myself to blame as, having prepared the Front Mountain Panel, the Front Flap and assembled the Main Front I decided that the strapping for those elements needed to be pink. I could have left them dark brown, but in order to persuade No.3 that she didn’t need a Unicorn Rainbow bag I decided an extra bit of pinkification wouldn’t go amiss.


This post will follow Steps 5-8 of the main Planetary Backpack tutorial, and will talk through how I added piping to both the Front Mountain Panel and the Front Flap.

I followed the main tutorial used the Piping Hack tutorial (download here) to add piping to both the Front Mountain Panel and the Front Flap during Steps 5 and 8.

At the outset I adjusted the apex of the Front Mountain Panels to make a gentle curve. Here I used a ceramic plant label, to mark a curve on both pattern piece A1 and A2 and then trimmed them back. Make sure at this stage that you have added a spot of interfacing to reinforce the snap location.

You will need just under 60cm of piping for the slopes of the Front Mountain Panel.

With raw edges aligned I pinned the piping along the slopes on the right side of A1, the outer Front Mountain Panel. Don’t worry if there is a little crease at the curved part. It will smooth out when you turn the panel right side out. Next I basted it in place with a 0.8cm seam allowance. This is close to the piping cord, but not totally tight.

Time now to go back to Step 5 of the main tutorial. I sewed the A1 and A2 Front Mountain Panels right sides together along the slopes with a 1cm seam allowance. Tip: Keep side A1 right side up as you sew to use the 0.8cm basting stitch as a guide and just stitch outside it by a couple of millimeters. Before turning the mountain panel right side out I trimmed back the seam allowance along the curve (as per the hack tutorial) so that it sits neatly.

I turned the Front Mountain Panel right side out and gave it a good press, but protected the corduroy with a press cloth.

To reduce the bulk of the piping in the seam allowance first of all I trimmed back the excess piping so that it ends in line with the raw edge of the fabric. Next I pulled out approximately 1cm length of the piping cord and trimmed it off. I let it slip back into casing which is now empty, and less bulky for the length of the seam allowance.

While I was in the piping zone I then jumped to Step 8 of the main Planetary tutorial to prepare the Front Flap with the addition of piping. You will need just under 90cm of piping for the Front Flap. I added the piping to the outer Front Flap, C1, and did it before basting in place the swivel hook. This allows the piping to run over the swivel hook as viewed from the outside when finished.

I followed the steps of the piping hack tutorial again and then finished out Step 8 of the main tutorial, including cutting little triangles out of the seam allowance to allow the curve to sit flat when turned right side out. I didn’t topstitch along the edges of the Front Flap or the Front Mountain panel but feel free to do so!

As you can see the little wrinkles at the curved apex of the Front Mountain Panel (and any that might have been there on the Front Flap too) work themselves out once the panel is turned right-side out.

Next I went back to Step 5 of the Main Tutorial and followed the steps there to attach the Front Mountain Panel to the Main Front.

First up I added the snap fixing to the Front Mountain Panel. As you can see here I used an awl to make the hole for the snap fixing instead of punching it. This cuts through fewer threads than punching a hole and makes it much less likely that this hole will fray!

Then I fixed the Front Mountain Panel to the Main Front. I followed the main Planetary tutorial, but added rivets in place of bar tacks to secure the corners of the pocket opening. (I used the awl here again to make the holes for the rivets.)

I forgot to explicitly photograph it, but once the Front Mountain Panel was fixed in place I used the snap in the Front Mountain Panel to locate the correct spot for the other half in the Main Front!

Next I moved onto Step 6 of the main tutorial and fitted the bottom strap to the assembled front, but…


At this point I looked at the front and thought to myself. This ain’t right. There was a roll of pink webbing sitting there beside me whispering, “I’m so pretty! Your daughter would love me! Use me! Use me! Use me…” So I walked away, had a nice cup of tea, and returned with stitch ripper in hand, took a deep breath and got stuck into replacing the straps I had just sewn.

Despite having had to endure the stress of potentially messing up my lovely work, I am delighted that I went with my gut and replaced the strapping. The pink strapping is a great colour match for the pink in the Ruby Star Society canvas.


As the Front Flap is already prepared all that is left to do today is to follow Step 7 and prepare your Strap Connections.

I usually use the main outer fabric for these and not the contrast outer fabric. I wanted that little pop of colour again so I used the contrast fabric, but as it is not a heavy canvas I reinforced it with a layer of Pellon SF101 interfacing.

I went with dark brown webbing, and luckily I didn’t feel the need to change that later!!


Some real progress was made during today’s stage! Definitely worth a cup of tea, a glass of wine or a gin & tonic, which ever rocks your boat!

Stage 4 will cover assembling the Main Back, preparing the drawstring casing and putting the outer bag together!! So check in here again mid next week, probably Wednesday 11th August, for Stage 4 of the sewalong!!

Come join us over at In Complete Stitches Sew & Share!

The 15% discount code PLANETARYSEWALONG is still valid until 1st September to get yourself the pattern at an even better price than usual!! Click here to bring you straight to the Esty shop where the discount code will automatically be applied at the checkout.

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