For rolled hems I use hem clips. They are like hair barrets. Easy and no holes.
Yes these will "hold" on sil, but are a little more inclined to be knocked off accidentally if you're moving a lot of fabric through the machine.
A big advantage pins have over these is enjoyed when you can pin your hem with the pins at right angles to the direction you move the fabric through the machine. You can sew right over the pins, and keep going. Helps in creating/maintaining straight stitches. It makes sewing like house painting though, most of the time goes into the prep work.
When I'm sewing big panels of fabric, I'll roll up all the extra and clip it together with binder clips. That way I have a tube of fabric next to the part that I'm actually sewing on, which is MUCH easier to handle than the big panels sliding all over the place.
My machine has marks on the plate for seam width...works the same as putting some masking tape on it as Perkolady described. Still hard to not watch the needle, but it helps if I make sure the fabric is lined up with those guidelines.
“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story
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- Designer, Jeff's Gear Hammock / Pack Cover by JRB
IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES LONGER
also, iron the hems/seams. This will help keep the fabric flat. After ironing, I will pin the edge. As others have already said, give yourself a wide birth when gripping the fabric and watch the edge on either a ruled edge on your machine itself or by placing tape as previously suggested.
I can't say I'm good yet, still need practice. But using temporary fabric glue to glue the fabric together instead of pins keeps my fabric together perfect. Then I use the edge of my foot as a reference, similar to using tape like mentioned above, to make sure the fabric goes through at the same distance.
I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.
"Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn
We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series
Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies
Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint
On a side note of maintenance...Make sure everything is clean of fuzz and goo in and under your foot and footplate.I've had some build up cause the dogs not to track effectively. Also note how the foot rides.. another issue of maintenance, my foot is held on by a small pin and once worked loose. Could not run a straight stitch? Until I noticed the pin had fallen out of half of the foot bracket.
I agree with most of the suggestions so far. Weights to hold the fabric, tape for a longer guide, take your time to build up your rhythm with the machine and fabric. BIG table to throw all your stuff on.
I'd steer away from glue, in my opinion. (rev touched on the points of gooin' things up.)
It takes time to build a relationship with your machine. Practice, practice, practice.
Ambulo tua ambulo.
Seams are supposed to be straight?
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right. ~G.M. Trevelyan
Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright