Hot! The “Yellow Rose of Texas” Dress


Simplicity-1926 The Facts

Fabric: Yellow cotton/polyester blend king size sheet from Alemany flea market – $2
Pattern: Simplicity 1926 ~$15 (including S&H) from Etsy
Year: c. 1945
Notions: Lace & Belt buckle — ~$1
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: January 2011
Wear again? Yes! Yes! Yes! I think this summer will be the summer of Simplicity 1926!

Total Cost: ~$18

With a runtime of about three and a half hours, George Steven's 1956 film, Giant, is as expansive and epic as Texas itself. The unrequited love in question is that of Jett Rink (James Dean) for Leslie Benedict (Elizabeth Taylor.) She's the wealthy wife of cattle rancher Jordan Benedict (Rock Hudson) and Dean is nothing more than a loner field hand (or something). The love affair is completely one-sided, however, and Dean spends most of his life mumbling through a glass of whiskey and trying to one-up the Benedicts.

I do have to say that while the unrequited love theme in Giant is writ large, I'm a bit more partial to the redemption of Jordan Benedict at the end of the film, as the The Yellow Rose of Texas plays on the jukebox (watch that scene here). It's the subplot of the mistreatment of the Mexican-American and Mexican workers that gets me every time.

Therefore it makes total sense that for my Giant dress, my inspiration comes from the two dresses that have the most Mexican roots: the dress that Leslie wears to her welcome barbacoa and the outfit that her daughter, Luz, wears about twenty-five years later.  And, of course, my other inspiration being the Yellow Rose of Texas.



The dress pattern, Simplicity 1926, is from the mid-1940s that I luckily found on Etsy last week. Although I had originally planned on making more of a Western-styled skirt and shirt combination, this pattern was too perfect to pass up. I had purchased the yellow sheet on the same day — a steal at $2.

It was actually quite a pleasure to make up this dress. I started and finished on the day I received the pattern in the mail. It took six hours, but I really took my time to make sure I did everything as perfectly as I could possibly do. The only real pain was the gathering. I kind of hate distributing gathers. But because I had been a good seamstress and made sure to make all my notches, it came together quite well.

My favorite part of the dress is the belt. Even though I've had that buckle forever (it was part of a lot I purchased on Etsy), I've never had the right dress to make it work. I absolutely love how it adds personality to the dress.


And as luck had it, I found the lace while thrifting last week. For about $1, I got a GIGANTIC spool of about 400 yards of ivory lace. I believe that lace will be present in many a creation this year.


image from



Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. Love this color yellow!

  2. YIKES, this is so great! Your photos are turning out lovely too Mena, so darling!

  3. Wow the yellow really pops! I just found your blog last week and enjoyed looking at your 2010 weekly creations..but this one is just my absolute favourite, what a great way to start 2011!
    And I can’t believe this only costs $3!

  4. Mena, this may be my favorite dress that you’ve ever made! It looks so flattering and fabulous on you, and the color is outstanding! This is yet another example of a vintage pattern that looks just as fresh right now. Love the dress, love the photo shoot, LOVE all of the new material in the blog this year! Just, love.

  5. Oh my gosh I love this dress!! That yellow is so great on you and I love the photos! I am definitely adding a tiered skirt to my list of things to make for this spring.

  6. Wow! fantastic dress & photos – straight from a fashion shoot!! I have been a fan of your blog for a couple of months now, and I am loving the new format for 2011. I am going to try and keep up with the weekly challenges – just doing the finishing touches to my Chanel number, and now planning this week’s effort …. too much to do, too little time!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. I LOVE this dress! The pattern is cute and the color is amazing.

  8. Oh Mena! This is probably my favorite dress you’ve made. It’s beautiful!! I absolutely adore the belt buckle as well! The photos are fabulous!

  9. Oh, wow! This dress is fantastic. Really, really love this one. And your photo shoot is beautiful and dreamy too. Perfect!

  10. I love yellow!!! This dress is beautiful and you look amazing in it. Lovely pictures too.

  11. This is beautiful! What a wonderful dress…and I absolutely love that movie, too.

  12. Great Job! Oh and bye the way (BTW) the shoes are great too!

  13. margueritedesigns

    I agree about the photo location – really sets everything off beautifully. A lovely sunny dress – makes me think of summer days while I’m sat here in the chilly UK!

  14. I am in love with your dress! And the picture-perfect setting! And the dress details! Just beautiful all around.

  15. The dress is such a lovely shade of yellow and the setting for your pictures is perfect!

  16. what beautiful photos – and a gorgeous dress, clever old you x

  17. Wow! This is such a lovely dress, i love the color, the lace and especially that belt! Wonderful work!

  18. You look fantastic in that dress! I had never thought that that style would be particularly slimming, but you have just blown that thought out of the water and provided much food for prospective dress making thought – thanks!

  19. Great dress! I love this color it really goes with the style of the dress. Makes me think of vacation.

  20. Wow! This is an amazing dress and your photo makes it look like you’re actually in Texas – that looks like the road to my parent’s house!

  21. This dress is so bright and cheerful…I love it!

  22. YOU ARE SO GOOD WITH BELTS. Could there be a basic belt tutorial some time in the future?
    The dress is cute as always.

  23. I love the dress. I’ve been looking for a pattern like that. Love the yellow too.

  24. Wow, this is BEAUTIFUL! And you look absolutely stunning in yellow, too. You made it from a sheet…brilliant! Everything came together so beautifully, and what an inspiration.
    Also…I have had this pattern for a while and have been really eyeballing it of late. Maybe this summer (but not in yellow—I’m too fair, and people would think I was about to keel over due to malaria).

  25. Ahh so pretty! And out of a bedsheet too!