People sometimes email me to ask what kind of sewing machine I use, thinking that because I have a business I must have some fancy schmantzy machine. And I do have a Bernette that I bought that first year. But, you know what? The machine I use the most is my mom's Singer Featherweight that she received as a going-away-to-college gift in 1950.
It does nothing special—no fancy stitches and I can't even get the buttonhole attachment to work right. But for straight sewing it works like a dream. And it's all metal. Unlike the Bernette which I sometimes think will break if I look at it wrong.
My Mom (that's her on the right in what I think is a dress that she made herself on that same sewing machine) was officially a home-economics major in college but, as many young women of the time were doing, was actually pursuing her MRS degree. In her case she succeeded :)
Actually, she did teach for a while, too. But, when I came along (and then my brother and sister) she opted to stay home. And she put those home-ec skills to good use. We didn't have much money but she was so good at stretching every dollar that I don't think we really noticed. Except for some of the weird casseroles (with Spam and canned salmon) she sometimes served for dinner. She made a lot of our clothes on that sewing machine, too. I wish I could find pictures of some of them.