To start sewing, make sure both the top thread and the bottom thread are under the presser foot and out to the back of the machine together out of the way. Place the fabric under the presser foot and line the edge up against the groove on the throat plate that is 1.5cm from the needle. Using your right hand, feel through the gap in the sewing machine to the right of the needle and locate the presser foot lever, then lower the presser foot gently to secure the fabric in position. Gently press the foot control on the floor to start sewing. Always reinforce the stitching at either end by doing a couple of reverse stitches over the top before proceeding down the seam.
Once the seam is stitched and secured at the end with a few reverse stitches, lift the presser foot using your right hand and pull the fabric out to THE BACK of the machine before cutting the threads. This ensures the threads are in the right place to start the next seam.
TIP: Always make sure the "Take up lever" that moves up and down on the front of the machine is at the top of its cycle before removing the fabric from the machine. This means that a0 the needle will not be in the fabric, so it wont get broken and b) more importantly, your needle will not unthread itself as it starts to stitch. If you remember only one thing, this is the one, as it saves so much time in re threading the needle!!!!!
Open seams are usually pressed open using the iron, to create a neat finish without bulk.
If the fabric frays you will need to neaten the edges to make the seam stronger. The easiest way is to neaten with a zig-zag stitch.
If you only have straight stitch on your machine, if it is an older one, you can turn the edge under and machine close to the edge. Then press again with the iron.
Just a note about "pressing" as opposed to ironing. It may seem daft but again it is important and gives a good finish. Pressing requires steam and a "lift up and press down" technique with the iron. Ironing is pushing along the fabric to remove wrinkles and can stretch fabric during the construction stages. To get a good finish, use a damp cloth, where you wet a tea towel or a hankie or a piece of muslin fabric, squeeze it out as tight as you can, so it is just damp and then open it out. By laying this over the fabric before pressing down hard, you will create a burst of steam that "sets" the seam in place.
Ok, so off you go, you can now create, straight seams that are very secure! using the thorat plate lines as a guide, you can also create straight lines of various widths. Give it a go! Practice on paper if you want! TFLx