I learnt sewing basics under the guidance of my mother using her second hand Singer sewing machine. This machine only does straight stitch and needs separate attachments to do zig zag and buttonholes. She bought it in the early 1960s as a young mother and made all her childrens' (6) and her own clothes with it. She and the machine are still going strong (although the machine can no longer do reverse).
Sewing tips I learnt from her and try to emulate:
* If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well.
*The inside should be just as good as the outside.
*The difference between a good seam and a bad seam is a press.
*Keep your scraps as you never know when you may need them.
*Allow more in the seam allowance as once the garment's cut you can't make it bigger.