Hello! I’ve been sewing for 34 years (since I was 10), and always had hand-me-down mechanical machines that just did the basic straight and zigzag stitch. 16 years ago, I spent about $150 on a new Brother electronic machine from a warehouse store that I’ve used ever since. It still works fine, but I get frustrated at some of its deficiencies. I sew clothing and doll clothes, for the most part, but do an occasional small quilt, too. My current machine hates bulky layers, and will never sew a straight seam through bulky fabric. I have to hand-crank the wheel to get it to push through the fabric. I often have tension problems, too, which I can fix myself (I’ve gotten pretty good at it) but these problems are time-consuming and annoying. Forget about sewing on denim, organza, or anything else that is either heavy- or light-weight. I also do a lot of detail sewing for doll clothes, including applying many trims and laces — I need a machine that gives me more control for placement of these items.
I absolutely cannot spend more than $1000 — I have a son going to college in two years! Can anyone suggest a machine that might work for me? Thank you so much!