“Cross Yourself in Front of the Hearse”

A few years ago, when I first started sewing, my mother and I went to Fabric Depot so she could buy me some fabric and notions to get me started.  I came across some fantastic fabric printed with little hearses on it. “Oh! I want to make a dress out of this!” I squeed clutching the bolt.  My mother gave me a look, “Really, a whole dress? How about just an apron?” I sighed, and agreed.  And I made this wonderful apron.  The years went on, and I moved on to other projects, but when my dad bought a hearse a few months back, I finally felt justified in making a hearse dress.  Multiple pattern designs in hand, I trekked out to Fabric Depot, giddy with excitement over making such a ridiculous dress.  I skipped over to the Halloween section to discover the fabric was gone. And I mean gone. Not just that it was in someone’s cart, or at the cutting counter, or out of stock, but gone. Out of print.  I was devastated.  After throwing a tantrum a five year old would be proud of, I slouched back home where I designed this…what I am calling “The Julie Grave”

Taking inspiration from my apron, I selected the design of a coffin falling out of the back of a hearse, and figured a slim cut wrap dress would be the best option for getting such humor across, and selected Simplicity 1685, from 1956.  The pattern offers a short sleeve or three-quarter length sleeve option, but I felt that a sleeveless dress was more vampy.  The hearse and coffin are giant appliques I designed and sewed together.  The wheels, door handle, scroll emblem and RIP are embroidered in metallic thread, while the bounce dots are embroidered in plain black thread.

When it came to buttons I couldn’t get the idea of coffin shaped buttons out of my head.  I checked Fabric Depot when I bought the fabric, also visited the Button and Ribbon Emporium, and searched the internet and I could not find any! Seriously? Skulls, black cats, spiderwebs, bats, pumpkins and ghosts, but no coffins.  I would have settled for headstones, yet the only headstone buttons I could find were too tacky.  As I was nearing defeat, Patrick had a brilliant idea to have the buttons 3D printed!  Ooohh…Technology! Patrick then thought it would be nifty to off-set the button’s holes just enough so when sewn on it would appear that they have a cross on them!  He designed them in a 3D modeling program, then uploaded his design to Shapeways who printed and shipped them.

I’m still no brilliant seamstress by any means, and this dress tried my patience and sanity quite a bit, especially with the neckline.  And while I can find a lot wrong with the dress,  (I still haven’t reached the capability to make a muslin or cotton mock-up first.  I hardly have the patience to make the dress in the first place! Let alone two!)  I’m still very happy with it.  Also I know I’m making progress as a seamstress because instead of thinking “THANK GOD that’s over! I don’t want to see my sewing machine for five months!” I’m actually really excited to start my next project!

24 thoughts on ““Cross Yourself in Front of the Hearse”

  1. Oh that is just super cool that Patrick thought of a way to get you coffin buttons. How original! Your outfit looks fabulous on you. The car has a total retro feel about it. It reminds me of something Rocky and Bullwinkle would drive.

  2. Oh forgot to mention, I’m going to do a blog post about the book you sent me. I used some of the concepts for fingerwaves. What a lovely book! Thank you again!

  3. Oh Janey honey, this is nothing short of incredible! You are so creative and have such an awesome eye for coming up with your own original designs. I completely love this dress and think it’s one of the coolest handmade fashions I’ve ever seen.

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Major kudos to Patrick for the buttons, too – fabulous thinking there!!!

  4. cool dress…..Iol…Ive had similar experiences with fabrics….now if I like the fabric, I buy some…….I admit I have a huge fabric stash…but one day I will use it all…

  5. Love love love! Especially that you did go a different route with colors most people would have just done black but I love that you went green with it. The buttons are precious and definitely worth it.

  6. What a cool dress! I amazed at your patience for embroidery! As someone who sews a lot, I still haven’t gotten around to delving into that – which I really want to! But a full time job restricts me and it sucks.
    Anyways – rad dress. And yeh, I dont make muslins either. Boring! Most things fit pretty good without too many adjustments from the pattern anyway.
    The buttons are killer – hehe. Very neat idea to get them printed!

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE the dress! What a gorgeous color on you! I too grabbed a few yards of that hearse fabric when it came out. I used it to make cute little pop-pom trimmed throw pillows.

  8. Mind blown. That is hilarious and amazing! I LOVE that the coffin is falling out the back of the hearse. I’m totally showing this to my hearse-obsessed spouse later. And all the little details (who would have thought of 3D printed buttons?!) are just perfect. What a wonderful creation!!

  9. Oh my goodness! This is fantastic! I love clothing that’s stylish and also a bit tongue in cheek, so you can imagine how tickled I am by this dress. Well done.

  10. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this. This is why I love following you: I don’t think anyone else would have the guts to wear this, or the chutzpah required to make it look so cute! As the granddaughter of a mortician, I WANT ONE TOO! 😀

    Also, mad respect for the 3D printed buttons. That was a fantastic idea. You have such a creative husband.

  11. Wow! I’m sure it’s already been said many times…you are so creative and original. Looks beautiful…love the chartreuse color. You can really wear anything and look perfect.

  12. I love a good themed outfit and this is no exception! So great that you continued the theme with those buttons- good on Patrick for coming up with the idea. You did a fab job with the sewing and applique, making up a new pattern for the first time can be so trying.
    xx Shauna
    P.S- You hair look DIVINE.

  13. Amazing! What a fabulous idea with the buttons too, you have a very cleaver husband (and your sewing skills are pretty rad too).

  14. I am in LOVE with this dress. With every detail on it. If you EVER decide to make this to sell, I will be the first one on the list. This is one of the coolest dresses I have ever seen and words can’t express how much I NEED one of those in my life.

    Would you consider making one of them for me? I pay the price you ask.

    • Thank you very much! I’m doubtful I’ll ever get around to making and selling. I’m still such a novice seamstress right now, and I have a lot on my sewing table right now and for the foreseeable future.

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