Reuse plastic bags for smooth sewing. bulky or loose-weave fabrics, faux fur, or Velcro) doesn't glide smoothly over the machine plate or gets stuck in the machine foot as I'm sewing, I use a plastic grocery or other store bag to help.
I have this incredible skill that has saved my family hundreds of dollars(quite honestly, it's probably more like thousands). I'm self taught (mostly) and other then a below average semester of Home Ec back in grade, I've never taken a formal class.
Use the longest stitch and turn the tension all the way up and the fabric comes out perfectly gathered, no pulling threads! (I've tried this, and it works really well if you don't need to make the gathered fabric "fit" a certain area.
Sewing for Beginners: Sewing Basics and Easy Sewing Projects for Beginners