Making of Fallout 4 Vault suit – Part 3
A story of piping and quilting
The Fallout 4 Vault suit is a perfect example of a garment made of many complicated separate pieces that individually require a lot of work before being assembled together. Just like these first rectangular yokes with 5 welt pockets I made. They needed all these steps before these little pieces were ready to be sewn to other pieces of the Vault suit. After this, I decided to work on the knees, another small part.
Sewing a rectangular piece of fabric in a rectangular opening can be a little challenging and I explained the technique in Part 2. Sewing a circular or oval piece in an opening of the same shape can also be a challenge. If you’re a beginner, don’t be surprised if you don’t succeed at first try.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but you’ll notice on the next picture that each blue piece of fabric has a black lining. Since I’m working with light knits, I wanted to avoid my Vault suits to look like a typical Walmart stretch one piece Halloween costume or like these very popular printed stretch cosplay suits (that are, sorry to say it, the laziest thing a cosplayer can possibly wear. How many printed spandex Overwatch D.Va suits have I seen online? Too many. Way too many.) To avoid that plain, slick, boring look, I like to do a real patterning job for my costumes instead of having the design details printed on the fabric, I like to choose thicker fabrics with an interesting texture and I like to add even more texture with padding materials, topstitches, pipings, etc. The black lining is a stretch fabric that I used to give each piece of blue fabric more stability. I also used the same padding they use for padded bras and added it to the oval yoke, between the blue fabric and black lining. It adds just a little more thickness, it’s very suddle, but it’s all these suddle details that make a costume stand out at the end.
The trick to sew a round or oval piece of fabric in an opening of the same shape is to make a notch at every quarter of both the yoke and the opening. Notice the 4 notches on the oval itself and in the opening. You’ll need to use pins to make sure that these 8 notches will match when you’ll sew everything together. If 2 of these notches don’t match, believe me, it will look bad when you’ll turn your garment and look at it on the good side. I completed the piece with a topstitch around the oval yoke.
Here are some of the finished padded knees.
This is the middle back piece that holds together the very first pieces that I sewed, the rectangular yokes with the 5 welt pockets. (See Part 2) My plan was to sew a piping in that stitch and that piping would continue in the stitches in the back of the Vault suits, on each side of the golden numbers. Actually, I had initially planned to add pipings in almost all the Vault suit’s stitches.
A piping is a cord wrapped in a folded strip of fabric or leather that is sewed with a special foot. It’s commonly used in sportswear and furnitures.
Following the reference pics from the game, I really wanted to imitate how each stitch is highlighted in the game by using in real life a large piping… everywhere. I was very motivated. However, I realized that many of the yokes in the Vault suit’s design were so curvy that my huge piping would make the fabric bend and curve, giving the garment a weird shape. It was a nice idea, but it just didn’t work. You’ll see later how my piping plan made me unsew a lot of steps that I had to start all over again. That’s one of the reasons why sewing the Vault suits took me so long. I spent a lot of time unsewing. I should have tested pipings in my mockup. I didn’t. It was a lazy mistake.
On the next picture, you see what is actually the back of the Vault suit’s pants. And there’s no piping anymore. I unsewed the little pieces of piping I had sewed and only made topstitches everywhere. Notice the curvy yoke on the booty. This is only part of the female Vault suit version. Male characters wearing a Vault suit don’t have that design on their suit in the game.
Then I decided to attack what is probably the most distinctive feature of the Fallout 4 Vault suit along with its golden yokes: the quilted pieces on the front and sleeves. I started with the front pieces. These are the ones that go right next to the front golden yokes.
I first applied a thermo bonding interfacing on all the pieces that would be quilted to keep them from stretching while I’d be sewing the topstitches. Notice in the background of the picture the polyester stuffing I used. It’s sold in sheets by the meter or yard to be used for quilted bed covers, for example. I cut the same pattern shape, but without the sewing allowances to avoid adding any thickness in the stitches. I placed that polyester stuffing piece between the blue fabric and black lining. I used a lot of pins to hold all the layers together.
The next step was to do all the topstitches. A lot of top stitches. And once all the quilted pieces were done, I could finally sew them with the other part of the suit’s front. I wanted to sew a big piping in that stitch too, next to the quilted pieces. But the yoke was too curvy. It didn’t look good. So I did only topstitches.
I repeated all these steps for the little quilted yokes in the middle front of the Vault suit pants, under the golden belt.
Then I moved on to the quilted pieces of the sleeves. Here’s a trick to make even topstitches: I used a piece of paper of the proper width as a guide, sewing every time next to the paper.
Sewing the quilted yokes with the other parts of the sleeves. These are the only pipings that I finally sewed in the whole Vault suit. One piping on each side of the sleeves’ middle yoke. That’s all. Pretty disappointing considering that I wanted to add piping everywhere! lol But at least, I was satisfied. There would be some piping in my Vault suits.
Then I could complete part of the Vault suit’s pants, sewing the yokes with the fake welt pockets described in Part 2, the small quilted pieces in the front, the padded knees and a first row of golden belt. After all these sew/unsew steps, I finally had something that started to look like a Vault suit! That was encouraging! Don’t you think? :D And it will look even better in Part 4!