I have an older singer regular machine (this one is GREAT for sewing vinyl or light leather/suede fabrics - it is a BEAST!) and a serger (I can't believe I ever sewed without one) and most recently got a coverstitch machine.
Mine are Singer or Janome. Both very versatile, easy to repair and bobbins/needles/pressure feet are found in just about any sewing store. Being able to get parts and accessories on the fly is very convenient.
I sew all kinds of stuff from Suitability, and have made more english/dressage pads that I can count.
If you like doing heavier fabrics, by a machine that has a heavy duty motor. The little machines will go out of whack fast and then never be right again - you'll be taking them in every six months because something is off - been there myself.