McCalls 7902: DIY Flutter Sleeve Sweetheart Neckline Button Front Summer Dress

McCalls 7902 flutter sleeve sweetheart neckline button front summer dress

Hi Everyone,

A little while ago, I was contacted by an online store, modeS4U, based in Hong Kong, but who sell and ship their products world wide. modeS4U specialise in Kawaii products (the culture of cuteness in Japan), and sell a variety of products, including stationary, bags and accessories, and including – of course! – fabric. They offered me some fabric of my choice, and I selected this beautiful navy blue floral print Art Gallery rayon (called mystical land) to make a dress in. Thank you to modeS4U for their generosity. They provided me with the fabric for this post, but all opinions are my own. BTW, please do check out modeS4U full shipping and returns policy because they do offer free international shipping (with a minimum spend).

McCalls 7902 flutter sleeve sweetheart neckline button front summer dress

It was my first time working with Art Gallery rayon and it pre-washed, cut, sewed and pressed beautifully. It is very lightweight, silky smooth to wear and has beautiful movement and drape. This dress will be amazing to wear when we eventually have some hot weather! BTW, watch out, this print is directional, so if you are purchasing this print make sure you have enough for your project.

McCalls 7902 flutter sleeve sweetheart neckline button front summer dress

Now for the pattern details. This is McCalls 7902, which doesn’t seem to have been very popular to date. It is actually designed as a top with a peplum attached. I simply lengthened the peplum from the hem downwards to make a dress. What drew me to the pattern was the very on trend elasticated top sleeves, and I would have loved to have made one of the longer sleeved versions, but fabric constraints meant I ended up making the flutter sleeve version (view B). I used 3 metres of this directional print fabric to make this dress, including self lining the bodice.

McCalls 7902 flutter sleeve sweetheart neckline button front summer dress – inside finish

So, I actually love the finished garment, and I plan on making this again with some minor refinements. However, if you plan on making this pattern (especially this view), note:

  1. The pattern didn’t seem to make it clear that this top has a raised waist. I went with it, but for my next version I will probably make sure the waist hits me at my true waist.
  2. Getting those flutter sleeves attached neatly is hard. And the instructions are not that clear on how to do it. I think all the other views will be fine to sew, but if you are making view B be warned that attaching them needs patience (and probably some sewing knowledge to figure out what to do).
  3. As designed, the front bodice is not intended to overlap at centre front. I added 5/8ths inch to the left front bodice/ skirt to act as an underlap of sorts, so there wouldn’t be too much skin on show. On the whole I think it’s worked. I added a couple of extra button loops in the bodice but for my next version I think I need to move the bust darts down a smidge for a better fit.
McCalls 7902 flutter sleeve sweetheart neckline button front summer dress

Overall, I actually love this dress. Definitely expect to see a second, more dramatic, version on this blog soon! Full review below.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Close-fitting tops have button-front closure with self loops and sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing:

6 – 22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

The pattern is designed as a top. I made a dress (based on View B).

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Nope. The instructions for the attaching of the sleeves is not clear. If you have some sewing experience you will probably be able to figure it out, but, especially for this view (view B) with the flutter sleeves, where the sleeves are supposed to hang free from the seam allowance, it is not easy to follow the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Inspite of the difficulties I had with the instructions I love the finished dress and plan on making a second version with longer sleeves and some minor fit adjustments soon. I didn’t like the instructions but apart from that, I do love the final garment. This top is designed to have a raised waist, and I will probably alter that for next time, as I prefer to have waists hitting me at my true waist. Note that the bodice is self lined and the centre fronts of the skirt portion are finished with interfaced self fabric facings.

Fabric Used:

Art Gallery rayon. I used 3 metres of this (directional) print to cut this dress, including the self lined bodice.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the bust, arms and shoulders and graded out at the waist/ over the hips.
  • I extended the peplum down from the hem by 30 cm to make it dress length (FYI I am 5’3″)
  • I added a centre back seam to the skirt for fitting purposes.
  • I did a 1.25 inch full bust adjustment. I kept the extra width through the front and added that to the front peplum.
  • I did a 0.5 inch full bum adjustment.
  • I extended the centre front of the bodice and skirt by 5/8ths” to allow it to act as an underlap, and avoid too much skin showing. As designed, this pattern does not allow for that.
  • I shortened the elastic at the shoulders by 1 inch from the suggested length.
  • Although the pattern doesn’t make mention of it, I did understitch the back of the bodice and the armholes as far as I could.
  • I added 2 additional button loops on the bodice but for next time I think the bust darts need to be moved down a smidge and I think that will improve the overall fit.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I think I am going to make this again. This version is cute but I think it can be made amazing with a few minor alterations. I do recommend if you can cope with lack of clear instructions and if you are happy to make the necessary fit changes (if you need them).


I love the sleeves and the neckline on this. Pass me the suncream 🙂

Until soon!

McCalls 7902 flutter sleeve sweetheart neckline button front summer dress

Posted by

By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at

34 thoughts on “McCalls 7902: DIY Flutter Sleeve Sweetheart Neckline Button Front Summer Dress

  1. Your dress is lovely! I would however like to know how you did a full bum adjustment on the skirt. I am of similar shape and find full skirts to be a challenge when adjusting for my bum/width. I have added to the sides but feel there should be a better way. Thank you!

  2. Wow! This dress is so cute! The fabric is beautiful, great choice! Thanks for giving your review. Happy sewing!

  3. The right choice of colour and print would make this dress suitable (I mean not to girlish) for an older woman like myself. Thank you for your review. You look super good in this dress.

  4. Love this dres and I’m glad I’ve seen it made. Looks so beautiful for summer. I’ve seen you mention your full butt adjustment a couple of times now, nd I’d love to know wht it is plese???

  5. I love the dress, especially the fabric!! By the way, do you have any links on why to find the full bum adjustment pleas, as I too, have a rather full seat!!

  6. I think it looks wonderful on you with the higher waist. It’s a very lovely dress, and you look great in it! I need some dresses myself, and I’m trying to work up the courage to try to make something, lol This one is so beautiful on you, I am so tempted to try to make this!

  7. Thank you for this post, really helpful and good to see the construction inside. I am really intrigued about your basket bag ☺️

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