STAMFORD, Conn. — An unusual sentence appeared in the obituary for Thomas Pia when he died about a year ago, similar to one that appeared this month in the obituary for his brother, Alphonse.

It said that the Stamford siblings, both tailors who lived into their 90s, once made suits for space. Astronaut attire.

It sounds far out, until you consider that the suits astronauts wore on the moon were made by Playtex, the women’s underwear manufacturer that once had a headquarters in Stamford.

NASA was unhappy with the armor-like spacesuits proposed by military contractors and gave the contract to Playtex, where seamstresses hand-stitched them from 21 layers of delicate material, shaped for comfort.

The Pia brothers’ handwork launched into the cosmos from the Jerry A. Pia & Sons Tailor Shop. It was founded in 1916 by their father, a master clothier trained in Italy.

The craft was handed down, said David Pia, one of Thomas’ four sons.

“He was the oldest in an Italian family and there weren’t a lot of options,” David Pia said. “Your father’s a tailor, you’re a tailor.”

Thomas Pia became a master tailor himself, David Pia said. In the 1960s he had some meticulous customers, including Fred Toerge, a New York design executive who lived in Stamford.

Toerge worked for Raymond Loewy, the world-renowned designer of airplanes, trains, cars, furniture, cookware, appliances, fabrics, jukeboxes, the Coca-Cola bottle and more, including space capsules for NASA.

NASA engineers had engaged Loewy’s design firm when they were planning Skylab, America’s first space station, to make it less like a cockpit and more like a home, since astronauts would live there for weeks at a time.

“Mr. Toerge told my father that the astronauts were upset because the uniforms they had for space were too heavy. They wanted them made out of a lighter material,” said Jerry Pia, another of Thomas’ sons. “Mr. Toerge asked my father, ‘If we get you the material, could you make us one?”‘

According to a Nov. 24, 1969 story in the Stamford Advocate, Thomas Pia began working on designs for astronaut flight-wear that year. and came up with three – a one-piece, a one-piece with a jacket, and a two-piece.

The suit was super-light, with a space-age zipper and loose pants that locked tight at the ankle so they didn’t float up in zero gravity. Style mattered – NASA wanted the astronauts looking good when they emerged from the space capsule after splashdown in the ocean, a well-televised moment.

NASA chose the two-piece suit, which was tested in orbital workshops and modified slightly. Astronauts Charles Conrad, Joseph Kerwin and Paul Weitz wore it aboard Skylab in 1973. Two other crews wore the suit in missions later that year.

“My grandfather died just before the astronaut suit came to be,” David Pia said.

“My grandmother told us it was a shame because he would have been proud. He had told her that, as good a tailor as he was, my father was even better,” David Pia said.