Originally Posted by Boothill
if you have a local sewing repair place, START THERE! they will have some older heavier machines that you will more than likely be alot happier with, probably pay less for and be built a whole lot better than the current plastic version you will be finding at most of the big box store
+1! I started out with a WallyWorld machine and had nothing but trouble with it. For less than thirty dollars more at the sewing machine place, I managed to score an old 70s-vintage Husquvarna that has had no problem with everything from PU-coated 1.3 oz polyester up through three layers of nylon webbing and four layers of 1.9 oz nylon all together. It's definitely worth the investment.
If you buy refurbished, expect to pay in the $130 to $170 range for a good machine, in my experience. It's worth it.