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Original Issue

From rags to britches

When Photographer Toni Frissell was in Nantucket last summer her camera caught the pair below in what looked like a brand-new fashion—patchwork madras trousers and shorts. Investigation brought to light a pantsmaker in Boston who, as far as could be discovered, was the first patcher of madras on the North American continent. More patchwork turned up in the Caribbean this past winter season in the form of patchwork madras skirts. Now northern suppliers of sports shops and country stores have patched up a whole new flock of summer clothes—varying from children's dresses to the luxurious silk and velvet skirt shown at lower right. Here, photographed with antiques from George Karger's shop, are island-born patchworks, which you will see a lot of this summer.

At Nantucket, summer residents Ann Morton and John Jensen wear patchwork shorts ($30) and trousers ($40) with work-chambray shirts (George Stinchfield in Nantucket).

Patchwork aprons button on the sister dresses worn here by Mary and Joan Duffy. Dresses are brown cotton with red-and-gold aprons, were designed by Helen Lee for Alyssa ($9, Lord & Taylor).

Hobo shirts are already hot numbers in the Fifth Avenue stores. Frank Rohr's Joseph's shirt is made by Hathaway ($11, Lord & Taylor) and Cinny Johnston's by Hill-Day ($6.50, Saks Fifth Avenue).

Mixed-up Madras skirt by Brook House ($32.50, Lord & Taylor) draws a stare from Uncle Sam as Patti shakes hands.

Squares of silks and satins are embellished with lace and appliqué in Patti's handmade skirt ($175, Lord & Taylor).