A Blog for the Perpetually Frustrated Home Sewist

Red Tiered Dress: McCall's 8202 Pattern Review

It's been a while, but I'm finally back with another McCall's pattern review. While Big 4 patterns are not impossible to buy in Japan, I'm extremely grateful that McCalls has started making all of their patterns available as PDF downloads, so that I can use them seamlessly in Japan. Anyways, I recently modified McCall's 8202 to make a tiered mini dress with a square neckline. Keep reading down below for more details! 


In February of 2022, this dress by Sister Jane came across my Twitter feed. It didn't look too hard to make, considering the tiers are basically large rectangles. And since I had already seen the pattern I wanted to use (more on that below), I figured making my own recreation wouldn't be so hard. 


McCall's 8202, released in early 2021, features three top options, each including a square neckline. View A has ruffles on the bottom and sleeve hem lines and ruffles around the necklines. This view also has a shorter overall length than the other options. View B is sleeveless with only one ruffle around the neckline. And finally, View C, which I created, has sleeves and no ruffles, but was the perfect base for this project!

Available here.

To make the modifications, all I did was shorten the bodice a bit and draft some large rectangles for the tiers. Because the sleeves were very full already, I decided to give it a go and left the sleeves as is. I drafted a rectangle for the cuff, with the plan of inserting elastic, as in the original dress. After drafting these pieces, I made a muslin mockup, and luckily no further alterations were needed. So, I proceeded straight to the final fabric! 

There is, however, one glaring mistake in the instructions for View C. Actually, it's less of a mistake and more of an omission. When it's time to attach the neckline to the rest of the dress (which is almost entirely completed at this point), there are no explicit instructions or illustrations for View C. The only guidance is for attaching the neckline with the ruffle sandwiched underneath. Its not hard to figure out on your own, especially with experience, but it's not super easy to sew this type of neckline. For this reason, I wouldn't really recommend this pattern to a beginner or someone lacking ample experience. There have been numerous other square neckline patterns released recently, so I would recommend using one of those instead. 

However, despite this mistake, the dress is relatively easy to sew and complete. There aren't any closures, so all you really need to finish this dress is fabric, thread, and a little interfacing. Although gathering and sewing rectangles does take some time, this type of dress can be sewn somewhat quickly and is suitable for beginners. 

In the end, I changed a couple details from the original Sister Jane dress this one is based on. When finishing the dress, I decided to skip inserting elastic into the sleeves, simply because I thought the dress looked better without. I also forwent the elastic on the neckline, because I didn't feel like it added much. 

As for fabric, I used a red cotton from Craft Heart Tokai. It is slightly textured, with raised slubs throughout, and there are a few strands of other colored yarns woven into it. This gives the fabric a really nice hand and interesting appearance in comparison to a basic cotton. I might even use this fabric again in the future! If you live near a Craft Heart Tokai, this fabric available in other colors as well. (If I'm able to track down the link for the fabric, I'll post it here!) 


In the summer, I tried to pair this dress with my Melissa x Lazy Oaf sandals. They're super fun shoes, and I believe they match a lot of my wardrobe. In this case, I think they helped make the outfit more fun-this dress is a little lacking in cute on its own!

This dress is much for fun to style in the winter and fall! I paired with a black turtleneck and tights, teddy bear heart boots (from Dollskill a while ago), a brown teddy bear coat, and bear beret. Both the coat and beret are from Rivet & Surge, a lovely fashion brand that went out of business during the pandemic (RIP). I was super lucky to snag these items in fall 2019. They're some of my favorite articles of clothing-the bear pockets are nice and warm. I realize the dress is not really the focal point in this outfit, but that's okay with me. 


When I finished this dress this past summer, I thought it was a huge bust. I wore it out about a few times, but I felt as though it wasn't flattering, and I never liked how it looked. But once the cooler weather hit, I've gotten lots of use out of this dress! I suppose it just isn't the summer dress I envisioned it as. Anyways, that's all for this one! 

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below. 

To see more of my McCall's pattern reviews, click here

To see some heart-themed sewing projects, please click here. 

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