Craft magazine blog is doing a round up of what sewing machines crafters actually use and you can see the all of the posts so far here. If you’re thinking about buying a machine there is a round up of articles and three solid recommendations in the mid-range round up post, and see Stitch Lounge recommends starter machines, and one serious Bernina.
You can read about my machine, a Juki, at Craft blog here.
I chose it primarily because it has a longer than normal arm, meaning I can shove unusual things underneath it. My machine isn’t an industrial, though Juki is a name usually associated with industrial machines. This is, as far as I can tell, Juki’s first portable home machine (and I think they have a newer model now). It’s mostly metal and pretty heavy, but it has a handle and is transportable (I’ve owned it over a span of five homes now). I used industrial machines in college and was comfortable with only have a straight stitch, though the lack of a free arm is an occasional drawback. (I do have an old Singer with a free arm and button hole features, as well as a serger that I have used twice. Twice.)
Picture from afar to show the knee presser foot lift, a tremendous saver of aggravation. See this picture in Flickr with Notes.
I’m pretty sure I inspired Cinnamon of Poise to buy the same sewing machine after raving about it in emails, and after the holidays I’m going to have to do this to mine as well. I’ve hesitated to pry the bottom off, but I can see the fuzz that has accumulated deep inside and it’s time.
updated: Oh wow, you can actually buy a very similar model on Amazon.com now, when I sought mine out it took a lot of research to find an online seller.