Mostly the hard way, while making my first quilt.
1. Cut fabrics EVENLY! Then you won't have to lop off most of the boarder to get it to look somewhat square.
2. Make quilt blocks SQUARE to avoid having to cut off the boarder, 1 & 2 go hand in hand.
3. Take your time! It's not a race!
4. When actually machine quilting, check your tension UNDER the quilt so you don't end up with a mess like this:
*I had a few of these piles.
5. Have fun! I so enjoyed making my first quilt. And even though it's not perfect, I learned a lot and I have already started my next one. (I hope to post a mini tutorial soon!)
There are a few other little ones, including: Don't wash pre-cut fabrics before you're going to cut them (You end up with frayed edges and shrinkage). I misted my fat quarters with water then pressed with my iron...also, if you don't have an ironing board, make sure the towel you're using isn't on top of your cutting mat. Yes, they warp...OOPS!