I own, use and occasionally drag around my LS-2125i sewing machine. Like the previous version of this machine reviewed and recommended in Cool Tools, it’s light, small, cheap and reliable. I use it for occasional household work and mostly to make repairs to uniforms and sew on patches. It can do ten stitches and that’s more than enough for me. Especially handy is the buttonholer. This little box, in combination with a beginner’s sewing book, can help you do everything that you can imagine short of embroidery. It has held up most admirably considering how much I use it. I’m an old Red Cross disaster guy currently flying with the Civil Air Patrol. For some missions, CAP is the USAF Auxiliary and as a result, we have two uniform types: AF and corporate. If you’re active and train moderately, you can be promoted and you also get all these dratted qualification badges. Tailors or cleaners charge around ten bucks a patch, and a uniform can have LOTS. My BDUs: ten patches each. My flight suits: only five. But it gets nuts. The unit has paid for itself by simply allowing me to avoid patch sew-on charges. All else is gravy.
[These super cheap machines will work for a while on light duty jobs. I repair machines professionally, and find that these lightweight machines do not hold their timing well. Another option would be to get an old cast-iron New Home, Morris, or Singer Touch-A-Matic at a garage sale or on Craigslist. Any sewing machine repair shop can tune it up to work like new, and parts are common. The old cast iron machines will sew much heavier fabrics (and leather) and will not flex or go out of time. --OH]