Well, the time came: my old 20+ years-old Kenmore has retired. I've been fighting with it for a while now, and was spending more time unjamming and ripping out bad stitching than I was sewing. I tried out quite a few machines, including Singers, Bernina (nice but out of my price range), and Janomes (I have a Janome serger and really like it). I used this website to do some research and read reviews. This is the machine I bought, the Janome 2030QDC (computerized, how fancy!):
It's actually considered a quilter's machine but has all the features I needed without being overly complicated with bells and whistles. It has good power, is fast, and easy to use - I took it out of the box, plugged it in and started sewing right away (well, the most difficult thing was trying to figure out the auto-threader!). It also came with an extended sewing table, hard case and lots of accessories. So nice to have consistent, even stitching!