Monday, July 22, 2019

Monday Morning Inspiration/From Parachutes to the Moon

Why do we sew?

When I was a child, my grandmother and my mother both sewed for me. Clothes were expensive, and sewing was a means to have a little more. Although it was a necessity for many, women still saw it as a means to be creative. 

You may have seen this, but the story is so very touching that I just had to share it. Below is Majil Steiner. Her husband was forced to parachute over a Japanese occupied area in eastern China during WWII. He was rescued by local farmers, and smuggled to safety. Once he was able to return to his base, he mailed the parachute that had saved his life to his wife and told her that he would like for her to make a dress for herself with the fabric. The story is so lovely. You can read it HERE.  

Once the dress was completed, Majil had a photograph taken, sent it to her husband, and he carried the photograph with him until he returned to her.

In 1944, Claude Hensinger parachuted to safety when their plane caught fire. He too sent his parachute home, but to his mother. Once he returned, he began dating Ruth. One night he presented a box to Ruth and told her that he would like for her to make her wedding gown out of the parachute. This was his proposal. She accepted and they spent 49 very happy years together.

Not only did Ruth wear the gown, but her daughter and daughter in law also wore the gown, and walked down the same church aisle. You can read more of their story HERE

This past weekend was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. But did you know that it was a group of women who made bras and girdles who made the space suits? They are pictured below.

They were chosen because they understood how to work with flexible fabrics. They were also chosen for their agility as each suit was comprised of 21 gossamer layers of thin fabric. Each suit had to be sewn within a precise tolerance of 1/64th inch. Men's lives were at risk. It wasn't about just getting them to the moon, but making sure that the suits would not fail once they stepped foot on the moon. You can see a video on the full story HERE.

Below is Lillie Elliot cutting a pattern for an Apollo 11 space suit.

There are so many beautiful stories of women who sew. We belong to a very elite group :)

If you have a chance to sit down in front of your machine today, take a moment to smile. You may not make space suits, or gowns from life-saving parachutes, but you are using your creativity to create something beautiful.  

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  1. Thank you for another fabulous post Rhonda. This is the type of history I wish I'd been introduced to in school.

  2. What absolutely wonderful stories!! I had never heard them before. And the space suit construction was amazing. Can you imagine working with that slippery fabric? What a challenge. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. This was so beautiful Rhonda. Thanks so much for the heart inspiration that makes me happy that I sew.