I’ll have to say- I wasn’t sure about shift dresses. I tend to steer toward more hourglass-y things and shift dresses had me running in the opposite direction. But then Marilla released the Maya dress.
I first met Marilla Walker through a nametag swap in 2014. Since then, we’ve kept in touch, and formed a pretty nice trans-atlantic blogger friendship. Mostly she posts and I read. When she published her first pattern, she was generous enough to send me a free copy (since I’d been oohing and aahing over all her makes’ simple silhouettes and lush fabrics). I finally found the right fabric for my Maya in January, then took a deep breath and dove into a new kind of dress.
My version of Maya is made from a cotton tapestry that my sister brought back from her travels in Spain. All the little blue and white flowers were why I chose the fabric for this dress, but nearly a third of the pattern was not on grain! While cutting, I had to divide the front of the dress into 4 parts to get the flowers to line up. The pattern lines up horizontally at the expense of the center front seam. I made a combined View C and D- the top half of the dress is View D (with snaps rather than buttons) and the bottom half is view C. The back is all one piece. The insides are finished with french seams or facings. I only needed to subtract a few inches from the hem and one inch widthwise to make the dress pattern petite.
Marilla certainly knows how to make a pattern! Maya is drafted exceedingly well and the dress is easy to fit. I especially like that the instructions walk you through some simple finishes to make the inside of the dress as pretty as the outside, eg french seams and facings. I would have liked to see a few more diagrams, but an advanced beginner wouldn’t have any trouble making this dress. Since Maya, Marilla has published a number of other patterns including a skirt, leggings, and a coat. You can find her patterns in her Etsy shop here.
All this winter I wore my Maya with leggings, boots and a long sweater. I had intended to add elastic or a belt to the waist, but I found that I really liked wearing the simple shift shape and decided to omit the belt. Now that the weather is warmer the loose shape is a welcome alternative to tight clothing (and the warm weather is making it easier to photograph my winter sewing backlog).