I've had fun getting to know my new serger. I had my former serger, an Elna Pro 5 DC, for about 15 years, so I expect it will take some time for me get used to the Evolve. But so far, I like it! Since my conventional sewing machine is a Bernina, I first considered the Bernina 1300MDC. When I went to my favorite dealer and told her what I wanted, she recommended the Babylock Evolve. They didn't even have a Bernina serger in the store to demonstrate! According to the dealer, when the owner's classes are held, the Babylock owners were much happier and had lots more fun than the Bernina owners. Still, I wanted to make an informed decision, so I went to another dealer for a demonstration and second opinion. The second opinion was the same as the first. They, at least, had a Bernina 1300MDC machine on site to demonstrate, but only one salesperson knew how to use it and she didn't work that day! The poor little machine was on the floor under the shelf that held the Babylocks.
As an introductory project, I took time off from garment sewing and made covers for my machines. My objective was to use serger stitches that I don't often use so I could see how difficult is was to change configurations for different stitches. I finished the seam allowances by sewing them together with a two-thread overcast stitch and I used a cover stitch for the hems. It took a long time, about 3 - 5 minutes, for me to configure the serger for the various stitches. But once it was configured, the stitches looked great and no further fine tuning was necessary. I'm sure my times will be better when I'm more familiar with the machine. When I was totally finished experimenting with the stitches and configurations, I set it up for the 5-thread (2-thread chain w/ 3-thread wide overlock), the stitch I use most often. Switching between that stitch and the 3-thread overlock, my second most used stitch, won't take long.
The manual boasts 87 stitches! (I counted only 70, but hey …) According to Babylock, 3 thread overlock narrow and 3 thread overlock wide are two different stitches. According to me, a 3-thread overlock is a 3-thread overlock, no matter how wide or narrow it is. At first, just the idea of 8 threads was a little intimidating. I wanted a serger that did a cover stitch and the chain stitch-overlock combination. The only way to have both is with 8 threads. All eight threads can actually be used at once, (can you say "overkill"?) but I don't see that in my future. I have one small issue with the Evolve. My Elna came with a thread catcher and the Evolve does not. I had to order one from Clotilde.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the Babylock Evolve. I was sad to see the old Elna go, but nothing in this life is constant – not even sewing machines.