Thought this might be useful as a reference point when looking for a machine to buy. And also because I'm curious to see what other people use (and recommend).
* Pfaff 807 Hobbymatic sewing machine
: Really old, basic, yet very hardy, love this machine. Handles thick layers easily. My bargain $30 buy. Not very good with buttonholes (4 step), and only has very basic stitches (so I am looking for another machine that does buttonholes with more ease and a few more pretty stitches)
* Janome 134 overlocker
: oldish, yet white case & 4 thread. Again a workhorse (and another bargain at $130). The guy whom services it told me never to part with it as it's a very good model. Sadly doesn't do rolled hem or have differential feed so I'm on the look out for a good cheap machine that does rh/df to add to my collection
* Janome 1000CP Coverpro
: love it! Very solidly built. Great finish on clothes. Bit spendy, but in my case not such an expense all at once.
* Pfaff 1222E
- just acquired in the last few weeks
. I really like this machine! It's 30 odd years old like my 807 but has some lovely extras like one-step button holes, beautiful embroidery stitches, and an electronic pedal that keeps pace when working with thicker fabrics. It also has IDT which causes the fabric to feed through evenly on the top and bottom (way better than a walking foot).
I used to have:
* Pfaff Smart 200C sewing machine
: I had problems with this from day one, it had potential to be a great machine, but it was very fussy (didn't like lots of layers, didn't like elastic in casing, didn't like 2 layers of microfleece, didn't like thread that wasn't highest quality, etc). Buttonholes were one-step though
The embroidery stitches were nice, though threads regularly broke mid-stitch
and it was so slow to do it (faster to sew on ric-rac). After 10 months of trying to love it, it jammed on me requiring a fix - and I really didn't want it back (so I paid a bit more and got the CP instead).