Question about Brother LS-1217 Mechanical Sewing Machine

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Brother sewing machine, model LS-1717

I have a brothers sewing machine model LS-1717. When I turn the stitch length knob to a particular number and go to sew, my stitch length knob pops to a different setting. Help please, give me an idea as to why this happens. Thank You, MaMaMia

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SOURCE: stitching looping

This solution is for tension problems...if you cannot form any sort of stitch, the issue is quite different, so please let me know if you need a different problem solved.....the question you pose could have 2 meanings....this reply is for looping thread.

It is quite long, but just work through each section in order.

The "knotting up" can reveal a lot. If you have loose threads on one side or the other, the tension on the opposite side will be the culprit.

Ensure sharp new needle,
Thread guides and Bobbin are Clean & Clear of lint
Set Top Tesion to 4 ....then....
Balance Bobbin to suit.

If the looping threads are on the underside as you sew, it is the top tension. Top tension ought to be between 4 & 6 (this variation to allow for the different weights of fabric in your projects).

If you are using a needle that has seen quite a deal of work, or you suspect it may be blunt, change it for a new one !

Make sure that when you thread the machine the presser foot is up so the thread goes between the discs and not to one side, top tension between 4 and 6, and that you have threaded through all the guides, including the last one, usually on the needle arm, just above the needle clamp.

It may be there is lint trapped between the discs, this will keep them slightly apart and reduce the actual tension, sometimes dramatically.

If tensions appear correct, and the thread is definitely in the channel between the discs, but still too loose and looping, try raising presser foot and remove your thread.

Now, with a 2" (50mm) wide strip piece of fabric 8 - 10" (20 - 25cm) moistened with methylated or denatured spirit, gently insert the fabric strip and clean between the discs with a see saw / to and fro action.

In the worst cases, gentle use of a needle to pick & remove the jam may be necessary, but be very gentle and make sure the tension is set at Zero and the presser foot is raised, (to disengage tension plates).... do not gouge or score the plates, they need a polished surface to work correctly.

Far less common, but if the loose threads are on the top, it is bobbin tension that is loose, it too may have lint in the spring and be giving a "false" tension.

I would not recommend fiddling with bobbin tension without good reason, it may end up with missing small screws and spring pieces, however, you can take the needle plate off to clean the hook race area (where bobbin case sits)

...this is just good housekeeping, my wife does this every time she replaces the bobbin....just take it out and clean the bobbin case and the fixed metal hook race with a small brush to remove lint. If there is a significant amount of lint, use a vacuum and small brush to get the worst.

Then wipe all this area with a cloth or cotton bud (Q tip) moistened (not soaked) with methylated spirit, especially if there appears to be fine dirty deposits....oil and lint combine to conspire against you.

If it seems likely that you ......really .....actually .....need adjust the bobbin case, first check there is no lint trapped in the metal spring where the thread is tensioned.

Drop-in Bobbin case will look similar to this image with the tension screw in the middle of the metalwork....

cc3f045.jpg...the other screw at one end is holding it all together, so is not a tragedy to undo the whole lot and clean it, but very gingerly and lay the bits out in sequence and orientation, or you risk tearing your hair out !

....this is a bobbin case from a front loading machine and works in a very similar fashion to the top loader with drop in bobbin, again, if you dismantle it, take care so you can put it all back properly.

When you are certain there's no trapped lint in top tension or bobbin, set the top tension to 4 and the bobbin tension to a point where you just begin to feel resistance.

Try using good quality thread of contrasting colours so you can more easily spot the changes. ie a different colour top and bottom just for the test.

Set your zigzag to one width less than maximum (eg. 5 of 6 ...or... 4 of 5 etc) and sew a sample for a few inches and check the result.... adjust the bobbin tension screw very little at a time, perhaps 1/16 of a turn.

You may find you are playing with this balance for some little while and if you are putting the needleplate on and off each time begin to think it cannot be correct to do is, and eventually, you do get a "feel" for the correct tension and then it happens quite a user you won't be doing it very often unless there is lint built up (or are there small hands at work around the house !?!?!)

If you live near the ocean as we do, salt air can play havoc with metalwork inside and out, so to help minimise this, keep a few small packets of dessicant (silica gel) in your machine case ? then make some sort of cover ! Same applies in any damp or humid environment, keep your machine dry and dust free.

Budget for a proper full service every couple of years (more often if heavily used) and if you don't use your machine for a few years, be aware that old oil will dry out and combining with dust and form a "clag" like glue (another reason for some sort of cover, even a teatowel !)

If it is worth spending the time, energy and money on making something that you would like to give lasting enjoyment......use quality thread, may seem to cost a little more at the time, but the results, ease of use and added longevity will be worth the extra, and as a bonus, your tension troubles may be fewer and further between, because there is a more consistant diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks !

If you need any more help with this, just post back here, or, drop a line through the "Contact Us" page at

Posted on Feb 23, 2008

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: i have a brother LS-1717

Try setting all your dials on the middle numbers, ex:# 5 if it goes 1-9.Check your manual if you have one. Check on scrap material with every project and adjust tension accordingly.

Posted on Aug 05, 2008

  • 9 Answers


Make sure you are threading the machine correctly and it has the proper tension. Also check the bobbin the thread has to go thru the little lash

Posted on Jun 14, 2009

  • 208 Answers


Sounds like either the bobbin case tension is too light or is not in the tension at all.

Consult your manual for how to place the thread in the tension and retry. Increase the bobbin case tension if necessary.

The top tension may be set too high.

Posted on Jul 11, 2009

  • 1126 Answers

SOURCE: I'm new to sewing. I was given a Brother LS-1217

Page 15 in this users guide.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009

  • 429 Answers

SOURCE: Free Brother sewing machine manual

The above is a link to manuals for your machine. Look under the manuals tab for PDF files to download.

Posted on Nov 11, 2011

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Need to know what the knobs are for

Are you sure that it's a Singer LS-1217? I can't find any model with 1217 on the Singer site.

The Brother LS-1217 manual is available here: . The direct link to the English version of the manual is . There are only a few knobs on most machines. On the front near the needle is the Needle Thread Tension knob. If you use contrasting colors (different top, bobbin and fabric colors), you might see a straight stitch where the top thread is visible on the bottom of the fabric for example. Adjust the tension to get both the top and bobbin threads meeting in the middle of the fabric layers. (Increase the needle thread tension - rotate to a higher number but go in 0.5 increments.)

Then you have near the motor area the stitch width and length knobs. The width is only for zigzag stitches. A long stitch length is good for a temporary seam (like basting in a zipper or hem) before you finish that area. However, the width and length should be adjusted depending on the fabric. A fine fabric needs a smaller stitch, usually. The knob on the right side of the machine is the balance wheel (or hand wheel). This adjusts the needle height so that you can have the needle out of the way while changing the bobbin, for example.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Wells
(I use the Singer Sewing Book as a reference for tension issues.)

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Go to and download a free manual and you can make the diagrams larger on your computer screen and see it really well.Then save it to your computer and print it out, so you always have it.

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What stitch selection have you made, anything to do with the buttonhole? If, so make sure that you let it go through the cycle then, pick a straight stitch pattern with a longer stitch length. You can also go online to and see if there are any other suggestions

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You really need a replacement manual and Brother is excellent about providing them. Go to if your machine was sold in the U.S. If not, you'll need to contact Brother International.

Loose thread and jams usually mean the tension needs adjusting. If the loose threads are on the underside of the fabric, it means that the tension on the top thread is too loose. Be sure to have the pressure foot down when you adjust the tension and only move the dial a tiny bit at a time. Also, when you begin sewing, hold the top and bobbin threads securely in your left hand for the first few stitches. That bit of tautness helps prevent 'birds nests'.

Hope this helps!


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You can get a user's manual and a service manual from this site -

The knob could be broken or just gunked up - try a hair dryer to soften up the years of lubrication and dust to see if the knob is moving because it cannot lock in at the length selected - like sliding on ice.

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Here is the manual for vx1400, that is a different model: Users Manual - English

Here is support page where you find all manuals available, chose Home Sewing & Embroidery in the box.

Feb 08, 2009 | Brother LS-1717 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

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Try setting all your dials on the middle numbers, ex:# 5 if it goes 1-9.Check your manual if you have one. Check on scrap material with every project and adjust tension accordingly.

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