You don't have to be a genius to figure out that the cost of clothing has skyrocketed -- in some cases 25 percent higher than last fall. And yet, the latest styles are simpler -- straight stretch skirts, sheath dresses with no shoulder pads -- and, therefore, easy to sew.
Of course, no one seems to have time to learn how to sew or knit. And yet, each year more and more men and women are learning. There are many quick courses offered in which the basics can be learned in a day or two, or at night after work. The trick to staying interested is to find courses that are fun to go to, like Oscar Britt's popular "Knitting for Beginners" class offered by the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program.
Home knitting has been making a spirited comeback, propelled by the wave of beautiful but expensive handmade sweaters sold in the stores. A pastime perfectly suited to the creative "couch potato," knitting is a way to be productive and still watch television all night.
For those who know the sewing basics, a stretch sewing course would be an excellent next step, because the designers, like Donna Karan, are offering terrific styles in jersey, which takes special skill to sew. For the first time, Karan has created a wardrobe for Vogue Patterns, from seven pieces of her new collection.
Sewing for kids has long been an answer to staggering back-to-school expenses. And thankfully, Butterick has added Esprit Kids to its stable of designer patterns. The patterns mostly call for knits, and feature popular details that are important to the very young -- slim pants, zip fronts and rib-knit trim. Available for kids (Sizes 2-6x) and for girls (Sizes 7-14), the patterns are geared to please children as well as parents. All are labeled "Easy-to-Sew."
Below are listed the locations of many area sewing and knitting classes. Call for more information or to request a printed class schedule.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:
Far Southeast Career Development Center
2526 13th Place SE
Classes in clothing construction for both beginning and experienced sewers. Free to D.C. residents.
District of Columbia Public Schools
Department of Home Economics
Armstrong Adult Center
1st and O streets NW
Classes in clothing construction and tailoring. Fee is $5.
District of Columbia Schools
Department of Home Economics
Potomac Garden Recreation Center
700 12th St. SE
Clothing construction class. $5 fee.
Yarns and Twines
5008 Connecticut Ave. NW
Creative British knitwear designer Sandy Black is giving a seminar, "Knitting With Color," Sunday, Sept. 20. Regular crochet and knitting classes for beginning and advanced levels are offered as well.
The Society of the Cincinnati
2118 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Katheleen Betts teaches textile conservation to volunteers at the Anderson House Museum. For skilled needleworkers only.
Mount Moriah Baptist Church
1636 East Capitol St. NE
Sewing classes for beginners and advanced students.
Naimah K. Omar
889-1460 (7-9 p.m.)
Courses in beginning sewing and alterations. Six sessions for $80.
D.C. Public Schools
Sewing, tailoring and hat-making courses offered at four locations: 1221 M St. NW, 673-6891; 5901 East Capitol St. SE, 767-8272; 2301 11th St. NW, 673-7620; 3145 Hiatt Place NW, 673-7314.
Phyllis Wheatley YWCA
901 Rhode Island Ave. NW
Several sewing classes offered.
Smithsonian Resident Associates Program
The Smithsonian Institution
Workshops and classes in sewing, knitting, lace-making, quilting and embroidery.
The American Sewing Guild
P.O. Box 2638
(703) 644-0679, (301) 565-8860
A series of classes called "Lifestyle Wardrobe 87/88" that includes sewing tips as well as wardrobe analysis and contemporary tailoring.
Ethel M. Martin
1711 28th Place SE
Sewing (beginning to advanced), tailoring and alterations courses offered. Private lessons given also.
The Elegant Needle Ltd.
5430 MacArthur Blvd. NW
A course in basic needlework offered as well as a "Work in Progress" class for ongoing needlework projects that require some expert assistance.
Varintra Design Studio
Small classes offered in fashion design and illustration. Various levels of skill welcome.
Veni Vidi Vici
3061 1/2 M St. NW
Creative knitting workshops are offered to intermediate and advanced knitters. $35 per session.
A Woman's Tailor
802 Janice Dr.
Advanced tailoring, apparel design and couture finishing classes for people who sew well.
Yolanda Voss Studio
9017-E Mendenhall Ct.
Courses in sewing, tailoring and high-fashion design and illustration. Ten-week program for $475.
Renee Jo Ashby
17800 New Hampshire Ave.
Workshops and private lessons on knitting and crocheting. All levels. Six-lesson set for $20.
Mary Alice Hearn
Beginning and intermediate loom-weaving classes.
7710 Woodmont Ave.
Patchwork and quilting classes for all skill levels. Six-session courses for $16 to $66.
Fancy knitting stitches for skilled knitters. Eight weeks for $50.
Silver Spring/Adelphi area
Quilt-making classes for all levels. Six two-hour sessions for $48.
G Street Fabrics
11854 Rockville Pike
Dozens of classes, beginning to advanced, in sewing, knitting and other crafts. Will mail out class schedule.
Maryland Sewing Machine and Vacuum Cleaner
Branch Ave. and Allentown Rd.
A variety of sewing, embroidery and quilt-making classes are offered for all skill levels.
Julie's Quilt Shop
282 N. Frederick Ave.
Hand and machine quilting courses.
Crossland Evening School
6901 Temple Hill Rd.
Sewing and pattern-drafting classes.
The Weaving Depot
8008 Norfolk Ave.
Fabric weaving for beginner and intermediate weavers.
Karen's Yarn Shop
161 Prince George St.
Offering classes in knitting and crochet for all levels of expertise.
Prince George's County Public Schools
Sewing classes for all skill levels are offered as well as courses in pattern making, tailoring and needlework.
The Fabric Center
14340 Layhill Rd.
Several beginner, intermediate and advanced sewing classes offered.
The Yarn Shop
7314 Baltimore Blvd.
Sandy Black, British knitwear designer, will give a seminar, "Knitting With Color," Saturday, Sept. 19. $40, including lunch. Otherwise, a variety of classes are offered in beginning, intermediate and advanced knitting, crochet and stitchery.
1830 Metzerott Rd.
Offering evening classes in tailoring, knitting and needlepoint.
Jennifer Lauren Knitting Boutique
1075 Seven Locks Rd.
Beginning knitting classes are offered both day and evening.
1415 Southern Ave.
Basic to advanced sewing classes offered.
Ellie's Quilt & Knit Shop
15924 Shady Grove Rd.
Quilting classes for all skill levels -- one-day seminars and 12-session classes for beginners.
The Needlework Attic
4706 Bethesda Ave.
British knitwear designer Annabel Fox will give a guest seminar on "Knitting With Color," Sunday, Sept. 20. $60 admission includes lunch.
My Knitting Lady
2440 Ennalls Ave.
Specializes in yarns and classes for knitting and crochet. All skill levels welcome.
Chevy Chase Community Center
Connecticut Avenue and McKinley Street NW
Lessons offered in sewing, alterations and knitting.
VIRGINIA: Stretch and Sew Fabrics
7100 Brookfield Plaza
Classes in basic sewing, sewing with knits, lingerie, sweaters, ultrasuede, quilting and many more.
Clothing by Design
Christine A. Robinson
11125 Glade Dr.
Sewing courses offered for all skill levels.
Arlington Public Schools
Adult Education Program
2700 S. Lang St.
Many sewing, quiltmaking, knitting and other craft courses offered for all skill levels.
3136 N. 10th St.
Classes in pattern making, sewing techniques, construction, design and draping.
Beginning and advanced smocking classes or private instruction.
Classes in French hand-sewing and embroidery.
Mary Penders Quilting Classes
Apple Pie Country Design
1382 Chain Bridge Rd.
Beginning, Sampler or Amish quilt-making classes. Fees range from $35 to $65 for three to six lessons.
Bryant Adult Education Center
2709 Popkins Lane
A sampling of classes in sewing and tailoring offered Thursday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m.
Fairfax County Public Schools
Pimmit Hills Center
7510 Lisle Ave.
Many sewing, pattern-making and tailoring classes offered at several locations in Fairfax County.
Bishop Method of Clothing Construction
Peggy Murray, 573-0974
The Bishop Method is sponsoring "Spotlight on Serging" at the McLean Hilton, Saturday, Oct. 24.
4416 Cortez Dr.
Daytime and evening, beginning and intermediate knitting courses offered.
Soo Young Lim
School of Fashion Designing
804 W. Broad St.
Basic sewing and fashion illustration courses offered as well as a general course in custom design.
8954 Burke Lake Rd.
Annabel Fox, British knitwear designer, will give a seminar, "Knitting With Color," Saturday, Sept. 19. $40 admission includes lunch.
6728 Lowell Ave.
Creative knitting and crochet classes from beginning to advanced. Machine knitting lessons also available.
687 S. Washington St.
Several different courses offered for the beginning, intermediate and advanced quilter.