I would largely concurr with the rest Les, - Go for decent 2nd hand to start, I would say an old singer , the black heavyweight, Very much 'idiot proof', and if serviced recently, as good as anything new. Avoid, however, the old 'shuttle' one, they are a pain, but surprisingly, there are still a lot about. My current beast is a fairly (1980's) modern one, with zig-zag and such, but I seldom use these features, By using the correct, ball-point needles, most old singers will happily cope with surprisingly heavy canvas for tilts & such. My best was my gran's old 'S19' , Sadly lost in the fire, but served her,(As a professional dressmaker) for thirty-odd years BEFORE I started trying to destroy it! - Without any success at all !
In short, stick to KISS, a good name 'oldie' and a bit of common sense and you won't go far wrong!