I'm a crafter who likes to do everything but usually doesn't stick with one thing for very long. So when I had a sudden interest in sewing, buying an expensive sewing machine didn't seem prudent. So, my then fiance bought me a basic Singer machine from Walmart.
It's been six years and my sewing is still going strong. Suprisingly, the Singer has gone strong as well, since they aren't rated very high--especially the cheapy Walmart brands. Mine has done well. It was a little workhorse. But Singers aren't built for longevity and it came to the point that no amount of cleaning out the lint would give me good thread tension. And with the diapers--with so many layers being sewn together so often--it really wasn't cutting it.
So, I decided it was time to retire the little guy. After lots of research, and lots of saving, I found this beauty brand new for only $554 at a somewhat local sewing machine shop.
It's basic, it's simple, and it's made well--all metal parts--so it will last years and years as opposed to the basic Singer machine's life of 1-5 years.
It's not fancy, but I didn't want fancy. I wanted my Singer, but more reliable. This guy does the job and does it well and I'm so pleased!
So if you're in the market for a sewing machine, I highly recommend the Swiss made Bernina. You can't find it online unless you find it used on eBay or Craig's list, but it's well worth the trip to the store.