I have a plastic Brother sewing machine which I bought from Walmart about 5 years ago.
I've moved several times. And the machine moved with me. I also move the machine to and from work and other locations, and without a hard plastic case to protect it, it's been knocked around. I've lost the accessories and the free-arm option is now compulsory because I've lost that attachment too.
I mostly use the machine for repairs - zippers, hems, etc - but I do like to sew and would like a machine I can count on when following a pattern. So I have been perusing the flyers, checking store websites and eBay. I've also read the reviews of many sewing machines too.
What I have learned is that sewing machines come in all prices. And most of the new machines are plastic or are a plastic and metal mix. They're designed to work 10 years or so. The vintage machines last forever.
The newer machines have a computer option - which claims to be easier with stitch selection, size and tension- but I just know that damn computer will break and it will be a headache to fix. Besides, I've never used a computerized sewing machine and you can't miss what you never had.
So I am looking to buy a vintage sewing machine with a buttonhole option. I know the machine I want - it is the Kenmore one I used to have - but I can't find it. So I'm looking at other models. My requirements remain the same: a vintage machine (read "all metal") with buttonhole capabilities.
I'll keep you posted on my progress.