Questions And Answers

I can't tell you how unbelievable it is for me to have people like you from so many parts of the world visiting my website, and especially buying my book 'Sewing 101'. To those of you from America, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, New Zealand, and all parts in between, hello and thank you for making this website such a success!

Having never been outside of Australia in my whole life, I now have the world visiting me! After a lifetime of helping others in Mudgee to learn sewing, embroidery, dressmaking, doll making, and more, I am very fortunate to be be able to help you too.

So that I can help you with some of your trials and tribulations that befall anyone just starting out in any new venture, I would like to have a section of this website dedicated to answering some of your questions.

Because I'm used to explaining to my students by telling them in simple terms what they need to do, I'd like to do the same here as well. So if you don't mind, please send no more than 3 questions and I'll add them to the list below until I think there are enough questions.

And if you are not shy, when sending the email would you mind giving your first name, what country you are from, and attaching a scanned, e.g. JPG or BMP file, photo of yourself
(if possible)
. We all have the same sewing goals and it would be wonderful for us all just to know that we are all sharing this experience together.

Before I receive your questions I will have someone collate them together in order that they can be answered in bulk, so it may take a few weeks before I can answer your questions.

If you have any questions that you would like to ask, just e-mail me at and I'll answer them for you with an audio reply below. Please try to make your questions as straightforward as possible, so that everyone can benefit and understand what I suggest.

Best wishes,

Mavis Cox

Author of “Sewing 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing Basics”


Click on links below to hear answer to questions

Questions from Maria:

1. It's hard for me to sew small things, like baby clothes and sleeves, because one can't put the little sleeve through the machine bed, if that's how you call it. Can you give me an idea how?

2. What number of stitch should I sew a garment on?

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply


Questions from Rebecca:

1. How would you alter a pattern to fit your body?

2. What is the best thread for sewing khakhi and denim material?

3. Do you have any tips for inserting a zipper?

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply


Questions from Sharon:

1. I am a fairly new sewer and am attempting to make my own dust ruffle for my double-size bed. I need help on how to get the gathering using a gathering tape - I have it sewed to the fabric - it has
2 strings to pull for gathering, but I don't know exactly how to do it. Do I place it on the deck of the bed (fitted sheet) and gather, or do I gather before putting it on the sheet?

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply


Questions from Chileshi (Zambia):

1. How do I position the material before cutting it?

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply


Questions from Kathleen (UK):

1. How do you find the correct grain on the material when making a bias skirt or dress? This is giving me problems as I'm trying to use Thai silk my mother-in-law brought back from her holidays.

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply


Questions from Judy:

1. When I do any kind of sewing I have to use a pattern. One of the things that I would like to learn is how to sew without a pattern. I would like to see something in a magazine and say I could copy that. I would also like to alter clothing. I have lost some weight and would like to learn how to tailor my clothes to fit me properly. I would also like to learn draping.

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply


Questions from Tracy:

1. How do you go about measuring a child's size for clothing without using a pattern? I have purchased boutique clothing and they asked for my sons measurements. I'm just wondering what they do from that point?

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply


Questions from Eden:

1. I am going to take sewing lessons in a few weeks and the sewing machine I am going to learn on is computerized.  I was also going to buy myself a sewing machine.  My question is if I am learning on a computerized one would it be difficult to sew at home on a regular one?

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply


Questions from Diana:

1. How do I alter the waistband on a skirt or trousers?  I have recently lost weight and have a lot of clothes that are now too big at the waist.

Click Play to hear Mavis's reply

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