What machine would you recommend, or even, what would you avoid?
One type of machine I'd say avoid, is the tiny ones that cost about £20/30. They are a real pain to sew on and will put anyone off sewing for life.
I use a Toyota, it wasn't the cheapest, but it wasn't the most expensive. I did manage to get it in the sale. It's been a real workhorse and very reliable. The man that did the servicing said they were among the best made basic, modern machines. Others that have them have recommended them too. It's not computerised, so less to go wrong. My only gripe about it is that I can't regulate the width of the zig zag, although it's not been a problem.
I know Hobbycraft have a sale on their machines at the moment, but I've not used a Brother machine, so can't tell you what they are like.
It may be worth trying Freecycle/Freegle to see if anyone is looking to rehome a machine. You never know you, could find yourself a gem.
Helen V i use an old singer, yep its just about electric you can usually pick thee up quiet easy, ideal if your new to sewing does forward back and zig zag nothing else fancy i got my last one at a charity shop so worth looking around
Joanne My machine's a Brother & it's great for what I need it for, clothing alterations & basic sewing
Clair I had a Husqvarna for over 20 years and it was brilliant
Susanne A I have a Toyota and my daughter a Brother Innovis and her overlock is a singer
Thanks to everyone that had an input. If you have any recommendations, please let me know and I'll pass them on. The next Ask Loopy session will be held on 21st April and I can't wait to see what comes in this month.