Getting Started — The Halston Shirt Jacket

So here it is, resurrected from 1976, McCall’s 5009. I guess it’s technically a “leisure suit”, but I’m calling it a shirt jacket since I’ll only be making the top half.



My inspiration is Peter’s shacket of last year. You can see it here. I think he made all the guys in the sewing blogosphere want a shacket of their own. I know it had that effect on me. Structured coats are nice, but we all need that simple, “in between” garment, that can just be tossed on to run out to the mailbox, walk the dog or fill the bird feeders. We’re entering prime shacket season here in Maine, so the time is right. I need to get a move on.

I’ll tell you one thing, this pattern is huge! There are pattern pieces for two jackets (one is specifically for ultra suede, and wouldn’t that be something) plus the trousers. The jackets have some nice touches which appeal to me. There’s a real collar on a stand, a back yoke and two piece sleeves.



I’ll be making the non-ultrasuede version with a wool blend that’s been in my stash for a few years now. It’s loden green with a multicolor windowpane plaid. I’m sure Mr. Halston wouldn’t approve, but I love the colors and it’s not 1976! I bought the fabric in one of those unnamed stores in NYC’s garment district. It was up in a cramped second floor loft space for $10 / yard. I’ve been burned on bargain “wool” in the past, so I was glad when a burn test resulted in the stench of burning hair! I’m sure there’s also some nylon or polyester in there too.



Because I want this shacket to slip on easily, I’ve decided to fully line it with rayon bemberg. I picked this up at my local Jo-Ann’s with a 50% off coupon. They usually only have bemberg lining in black, gray and burgundy, but they’ve branched out and had this beautiful blackberry and a navy blue. Shocking! I’m a huge green / purple fan. The interfaced bits will be done with a lighter weight hair canvas from Fashion Sewing Supply.




I prepped the fabric using the London Shrink method. Strips of an old cotton sheet are soaked, wrung out and placed between the folded wool. The whole mess is then folded up and allowed to sit for several hours (in my case, overnight).




To keep it from drying out too quickly, I like to wrap it in a plastic drop cloth. The moisture in the sheeting is gradually absorbed by the wool. By morning, it’s all a uniform dampness. The sheeting is removed and the wool is air dried.


I’m going to make a quick muslin, and then get down to cutting this project out.


15 thoughts on “Getting Started — The Halston Shirt Jacket

  1. The Women's Halston patterns from that era are great, so I think you'll be pleased. They do still sell UltraSuede, but I'm guessing you would feel upholstered. Please, no high-waisted poly pants and 70s 'stache to go with it!


  2. “…and wouldn't that be something”: bwah ha ha! Yes! That would be something!!

    LOVE that you have a croquet set. Do you know how to play?


  3. I really like that you took your time with shrinking the fabric. Now day's it's all “toss it in the dryer with a damp towel”

    I am sure your shirt jacket will be awesome!


  4. I wash the wool in the washing machine using a low temperature and short cycle. Then it gets dried on the washing line. Works a treat.

    Looking forward to seeing your shacket.


  5. I have never heard of that shrink method, sewing since the 70's. Thank you, I think I'll try it out.

    I think my dad wore this suit to my brother's wedding, curtesy my mother and her Necchi. I think I'd like one of those in denim lined with flannel for Delaware this winter.


  6. I love windowpane, and I love the colors in this wool. I've never heard of the London Shrink method but thank you for introducing me to it for when I start working with wool in my projects.


  7. I love windowpane, and I love the colors in this wool. I've never heard of the London Shrink method but thank you for introducing me to it for when I start working with wool in my projects.


  8. Hello Duane, So impressed by your version! I'm thinking of making one for my dad. Could I be cheeky and ask your chest measurement? I see you are using a 40 pattern. Cheers, Sarah


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