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Thread: Singer Featherweight + a surplus parachute = wedding dress

  1. #1
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Singer Featherweight + a surplus parachute = wedding dress

    For my mom's graduation from college, her parents gave her a Singer Featherweight. She bought a surplus silk parachute and made her wedding dress. The dress was beautiful. She hand smocked the front of it. Then she sewed 200 loops down the back and covered 200 buttons and sewed them on the dress. The dress had a wonderful long train. I wish there was still a picture. Any way here is a link to the copy of an ad I just saw on line: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art23275.asp
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

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    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    Thats a great story, It would have been nice for you to have a picture of it for your memory book.
    Nice add, wish it was like that now.
    http://www.skillpages.com/DonnaValleyquiltermo
    Sweet Dreams come from under Cozy Quilts made with love.
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  3. #3
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Mom had photos in a box in the bottom of her closet in a new house. The house had moisture problems her pictures were ruined. I wonder how many other wedding dresses were made from surplus silk parachutes?
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  4. #4
    Super Member catmcclure's Avatar
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    $14.95 plus $1.00 shipping doesn't sound like a lot. However, in 1949 minimum wage was $.40 an hour (increased that year to $.70). So that parachute cost a week's pay.

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    My 3 brothers sent parachutes home regularly when they were in the South Pacific. I remember my mother taking them apart and using them, but what I remember is the blood on the handles.

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    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    what an awesome story

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    Junior Member phranny's Avatar
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    I had an aunt who made her wedding dress from a parachute as well! She lived in Holland at the time, and it was during WW2. She has since deceased, but I recall my mother telling me that story. I was always intrigued, as I used to work in bridal wear.
    phranny ~ I cannot call my day complete. 'til needle, thread, and fabric meet.

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    My senior prom dress was made from a parachute on my mother's old Singer (Mom could make anything we pointed out to her, making a paper pattern and going from there). I remember the prom dress well - the skirt was white and Mom tinted a portion of the parachute a pale pink for the bodice and cap sleeves. I felt so pretty and grown-up. No idea where the parachute came from - probably one of my cousins gave it to us. And man, does that date me or what?

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    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    After WWII it was often difficult to get fabrics (and lots of other things) until the country readjusted to peacetime manufacturing......My DDD came home after island hopping across the Pacific and serving with the Occupation Forces in Japan and I was born nine months later, DM had trouble getting diapers. Or enough so she didn't have to launder them every 24 hours. Parachute silk wouldn't have been absorbent but I bet if she had gotten hold of one her baby would have worn silk dresses. We often know the 'big' stories of wars and disasters but the everyday battles are often untold. The women of Europe, whose plight was dire, were quick to repurpose a 'chute.
    Last edited by Greenheron; 04-25-2013 at 11:27 AM.

  10. #10
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catmcclure View Post
    $14.95 plus $1.00 shipping doesn't sound like a lot. However, in 1949 minimum wage was $.40 an hour (increased that year to $.70). So that parachute cost a week's pay.
    knowing my mom she got the 4.95 with postage included. I'm going to have to show her the ad some time and see what she says.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

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    what a wonderful story - so sorry all of the pictures were ruined. I bet it was beautiful

  12. #12
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    One day when I was in high school I came home and mom had cut up her wedding dress to line a coat. It wasn't going to fit me for sure. I'm a lot bigger than mom. She was only 5' tall and very petite. I guess she thought it was getting yellow, too. I remember the material - it was wonderful very thick for silk and shiny yet it draped nice. I don't think she ever once let anybody else try it on.

    My sister's wedding dress was remarkable, too. Her DH was stationed on a carrier during Nam. Sometimes they got into Hong Kong on leave. He bought his mom 5 yards of 30 inch wide silk brocade. His mom is a big woman and put it away. When he and my sister announced their engagement, his mom gave my sister the silk and my mom figured out how to make a wedding dress. Did I mention my sister takes after my mom? My other sister wore the dress, too.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

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    Isn't it amazing what we can do with what we have? Now we are so spoiled!

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    I'd love to see a picture of her gown.

  15. #15
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    Great dress stories make me shake my head when I see one of those shows where brides-to-be agonize over wether a $5,000 dress will fit their budget.

  16. #16
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenheron View Post
    Great dress stories make me shake my head when I see one of those shows where brides-to-be agonize over wether a $5,000 dress will fit their budget.
    You know if they had to make a dress like that one my mom made, they might think twice whether they want to get married or not... She must have spent hours hand smocking the front down to a point below her waist and then sewing on 200 loops and covering 200 buttons...
    The price of the dress had no bearing on how long they have been married. Let's see - I'm thinking it was 1949... They are still together. I wonder how long a marriage with a $5,000 worth of dress debt holds up??? Oh and that would be just the beginning.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  17. #17
    Senior Member shirleyd's Avatar
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    That is such an interesting story! I had never heard of using parachutes for sewing! I'd love to see a picture of the dress your mom made and I'm sorry her pictures were lost.
    ShirleyD

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