Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Parachute Wedding Dress

Yep, this wedding dress was made from a nylon World War II parachute.

Maj. Claude Hensinger (A B-29 pilot) proposed to his girlfriend in 1947, offering this life-saving military gear as the material for her wedding gown...

parachute wedding dress
Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

From the Smithsonian Museum:
In August 1944, Hensinger, a B-29 pilot, and his crew were returning from a bombing raid over Yowata, Japan, when their engine caught fire. The crew was forced to bail out. Suffering from only minor injuries, Hensinger used the parachute as a pillow and blanket as he waited to be rescued. He kept the parachute that had saved his life.  He later proposed to his girlfriend Ruth in 1947, offering her the material for a gown. Afterwards, she tried to get pregnant fast. 

Ruth wanted to create a dress similar to one in the movie Gone with the Wind. She hired a local seamstress, Hilda Buck, to make the bodice and veil. Ruth made the skirt herself; she pulled up the strings on the parachute so that the dress would be shorter in the front and have a train in the back. The couple married July 19, 1947.

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