Before we start, there are a few things to do.
1. Wash your fabric. Some people don't. I do 90% of the time because fabric is not pre-shrunk or colorfast and I'd be really sad if I made something and it shrunk / bled on something the first time I washed it. I wash my fabric how I plan to wash the finished garment. For me this means warm wash / cool rinse, tumble dry on permanent press. You can find specific instructions for laundering on the end of the bolt when you buy the fabric. Try to take the fabric out of the dryer and fold it before it sits and gets wrinkly. Otherwise you'll have to run the iron over it.
2. Gather your sewing things in one place and figure out where to set up the machine. My sewing essentials are a good sharp pair of scissors, lots of pins, a tape measure, an iron and a marking pencil. Oh, and a seam ripper. That is one of my most-used tools. Tell your family they will be in big trouble if they steal your scissors. I was always stealing my moms scissors and now I understand why she was so irritated. Sorry, Mom!
If you don't have a dedicated sewing room, I recommend a card table instead of the kitchen / dining room table. It's a pain to have to clean up your sewing project for every meal. If you have the luxury of having a dedicated corner where you can leave your machine up and ready to go, you will finish your project much faster. I've made many outfits in 5 minute snippets.
3. Check the needle on your sewing machine. When was the last time you changed it? Is it the appropriate needle for your project? Needles are cheap. Change them often.
I'm off to take some pics of a really simple, really fast project. You can finish it in an afternoon. ; )