THE SISTERS MATERASSI (316 pp.)Aldo PalazzeschlDoubleday ($3.50).
For the better part of half a century, the Materassi sisters had dedicated their lives to the proposition that a pair of ladies' drawers, properly stitched, can be a thing of beauty. Teresa Materassi, in whom femininity had been buried like "a luxury she could not afford," did the stitching.
Sister Carolina, in whom femininity had been attenuated to a harmless affectation, did the embroidery. In the entire region of Florence, no pair was so successful.
The sisters were no homelier than many women who had sewed up husbands, but their thoughts were wound around...