For the intermediate sewer these machines are great for someone with some experience or for a beginner that wants a machine to grow with. They are all electronic and offer special features for ease of operation if you are going to be using it often.
Brother - CS6000i online only$199.99Target, JoAnn,Best Buy
Automatic buttonhole feature,automatic needle threader, automatic bobin winder, reverse, auto needle postion up/down ( this is great for projects with lots of corners, it allows you to set the machine to stay in a up or down position when you stop) Rated top machine for intermediate machines by consumersearch.com.
Brother - CE 5000PRW $139.97 Walmart
5styles of 1 step buttonholer, good on thick fabric, auto needle threader, fast bobbin winding, quick set bobbin, auto needle postion up/down. This is part of the Project Runway series.
Singer Precision 7444 $199.99 JoAnn
50 stitch choices, 2fully automatic 1step buttonholer, free arm, auto tension. As I was reading through the consumer reviews most were good but there were a few that said the same thing that they had problems with the tension and had to have the bobbin case replaced because the needle kept hitting it, which was due to a timing problem.
Singer - EsteemII 2273 $129.99Target
Reverse, dial a stitch, built in thread cutter, instructional DVD, free arm, automatic buttonholer.
Like I said before I have not personally used any of these machine. I do know that both companies have been around forever and produce quality products. Both have fairly comparable products. You can also try going into your local quilt supply store, sewing machine store etc. They have very knowledgeable sales people, will let you try out the machines, as well may offer some intoductory classes to show you how to use the machine. Remember however they are paid by commision and they always going to say their product is the best. There are pros and cons to buying both places. Have fun and don't let it overwhelm you, you will most likely know right away if you like the machine you bought. If you don't you can always return, your not married to it.