I have a Janome 8077 and I LOVE it! I've used this thing to make medieval dresses as well as cosplays. What's nice is the top-loading bobbin - it is so easy and keeps the bobbin from tangling as often as a front-loader. <3 If you don't want - or can't afford - a serger, just get a machine that has a broken zig-zag stitch.
I work in a fabric store, and you can find some really nice, high-quality machines for $120 - $250.