The passing of Labor Day may not have sent you running to your local fabric store, but it may signal a good time to start thinking about your fall wardrobe -- or lack of it.

And if your fingers and a needle have not connected for many moons, consider investing some well-spent time in one of many local sewing and knitting classes offered in the Washington area.

Each year, the reasons for mastering the art of sewing multiply. As clothing prices have been rising with each season, workmanship often has not. Home sewing gives you your own quality control, as well as having the advantage of ending up with exactly what you wanted. If you detest scouring department stores for the perfect black velvet Hapsburg evening suit, sew your own, possibly using patterns form your favorite designer. If you already know the fundamentals, take a course such as tailoring to give that finished look to your new shorter jackets.

An if all the expensive handknit designer sweaters in the stores haven't given you inspiration to learn the art of knitting, consider how terrific it would be to put those spare hours waiting for planes or watching TV to use creating your own crazy patterned sweater.