By all means, TackBradley, practice on your mothers machine with regular material! At least you'll get some experience at sewing and controling a straight and/or curved stitch line, etc.
I've seen the Tacsew I bought (just the machine) selling for more than $900; it's the T111-155 ... but the guy I bought mine from sells them for $600:
He sells the Tacsew T111-155 with a table (you *must* have a table with these because they sit atop an oil pan), thread stand and clutch motor for only $750 (shipping is $99, bringing it up to $849) ... but I upgraded the motor to an electronic servo motor for another $99 (they sell for $150 alone). So I dropped a total of $947.00 for my setup -- and everyone who knows this stuff says I did extremely well ... I'm sure I did because I'm grinning from ear to ear.
Keep an eye on my site:
I post photo-tutorials on everything I do there ... I also have links there to buy those 2 upholstery books I mentioned on another thread.