There are so many machines out there, and it think it's wonderful that the folks at SewMamaSew are putting together a list of reviews by actual owners of various machines. I have a little Singer that does me well most of the time. Here's my review:
How long have you had it? Since Christmas of 2011, almost 2 years
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? 175.00 USD
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? I've used it for home dec, clothing and handbags, as well as some other accessories
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?. Several hours a week on average
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I love the ease of use of my machine, but we do fight sometimes.
What features does your machine have that work well for you? I love the automatic threader (it's just a huge time saver), and the auto-button holer. Also the speed controls are awesome. I love that you can lock out how fast you can go that way you can't accidentally step on the pedal too hard.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? It can be a bit finicky and after really putting it through it's paces (sewing 4 and 5 layers or super heavy fabrics) the tension can get a bit wacky. I've heard from others that own this machine that it can get a bit temperamental after some rough sewing. It usually works it self back out after a good cleaning and leaving it be for a day (go figure).
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? I think it's a great beginner machine and has worked wonderfully for garments and most hand bags. However, it does get bogged down quickly by multiple layers, or even a few layers of heavy fabric. I think that more advanced sewists may need a heavier duty machine.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? I think making sure the machine is capable of doing what you ask it to do. Asking: How much can it handle? Does it have all the features you absolutely need and is it reliable?
Do you have a dream machine? lol no, I'm actually really happy with mine, except if i could get it to handle a bit more without throwing a tantrum that would be great.
Overall, I love my machine, I just wish it wasn't so finicky with the tension after a more difficult project. I've gotten it to sew through a layer of quilting cotton, headliner fabric, insulbrite, soft and stable, fusible fleece and PUL. This was all without a walking foot! It made it through but it wasn't without it's struggles. I does a great job for anything up to moderate weight jobs. It does wonderfully with bag making, it comes with an impressive amount of extras (zipper foot, blind hem foot, rolled hem foot, button holer, and much more...I haven't even used half of them!). It was my very first machine that was all mine, all those that preceded it were loaners.