Having made my own gear for 50 years using all kinds of machines, here's what I think: Keep it simple, and practice.
Any home sewing machine that makes a lock stitch (as opposed to 'surgers' which are currently poplular) is superior to commercial machines for sewing the fabrics used for light weight gear. Afterall, you are sewing the equivalent of lingerie-weight fabrics. Commercial machines are too fast for amateurs, not as versatile as home machines, and expensive to repair. At the same time, most home machines will sew leather, heavy canvas, and light metal (no kidding). The secret is the right needle and lots of pins (to hold seams in alignment and to prevent bunching). There is also a neat attachment (about $20) called a 'walking foot' that advances the fabric from the top to assist the feed-dogs on the bottom.
A first-timer is better off 1) learning to use the machine right (take classes at your friendly neighborhood sewing shop); 2) practicing until you get it right; 3) test-sewing with the fabrics and thread before you start a new project; 4)learning to maintain the machine (oil, adjustments).
A machine that zig-zags is handy for bar-tacking, but machines that make lots of fancy stitches are usually not as good as simpler machines when stitching thick seams. Don't even consider a 'surger' which is a very fast machine making a chain stitch. They are good for decoration, not real sewing. That's it. Go make stuff.