Thinking about buying a Brother LX3817A and wondering if it’s worth it? This Brother LX3817A review goes over our opinion of the Brother sewing machine, and answers some basic questions about it. You’ll learn if you can sew denim with this sewing machine, what type of bobbin you should be using with it, and more. So keep reading our Brother LX3817A review to learn all about this sewing machine.
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Table of contents
About the Brother LX3817A
|Portable||Can be challenged by thick fabric and denim|
|17 built-in stitches||May be too basic for advanced sewers|
|Easy to use|
|Great beginner sewing machine|
|25 year limited warranty|
Brother LX3817A Details
The Brother LX3817 Full-Size Sewing Machine is a great sewing machine for you to create DIY projects. It’s easy to use and great for everyday projects. This machine is often referred to as the Brother 17 stitch sewing machine. This is because you can choose from 17 built-in sewing stitches, including a blind hem stitch, four-step auto-size buttonhole, zig-zag and couching stitches. This functional sewing machine also comes with a brightly lit LED work area, a free arm that allows you to sew sleeves and hem jeans, jam-resistant, quick-set drop-in top bobbin system, and much more. The LX3817 is considered a perfect machine for everyday sewing. You can use it to create something special like a gift, or just something that you really need.
The Brother LX3817A 17-Stitch Full-Size Aqua Sewing Machine is the perfect machine to start with for your sewing studio or workshop. It’s easy to use, so it will be ideal for everyday tasks. This Brother full-size sewing machine includes a blind hem stitch, four-step auto size buttonhole, zig-zag, and couching options. You can easily pick a mode and start your sewing work. It also includes an instructional CD to show you the right steps you’d take to set it up and use it properly. This sewing machine has four quick-change sewing feet (Zig-zag, zipper, buttonhole, and a button foot). The overhead thread tension handle knob assists you with setting the thread tension to suit your textile and plan, so you can get the tension just right. Lightweight, portable, and small; this Brother full-size sewing machine is versatile. It is one of the most appreciated sewing machines that anyone can use for classes or in a small room at home. It makes a good present idea for a birthday, celebration, or any other occasion. Excellent for novices and advanced users looking for a portable functional machine.
- 17 built-in stitches in addition to one, 4-step auto-size buttonhole
- Jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin is super easy to use
- Free arm for sewing tight areas like pant hems, sleeve cuffs, collars, and kids clothes
- Upper thread tension control for getting the tension just right
- Four sewing feet included, multilingual instructional guidebook and CD
- 1/2/25 year warranty
Brother LX3817A Review – Is it worth it?
The Brother LX3817A sewing machine is a great little machine for beginning sewers. This sewing machine is also great for more advanced sewers who only sew occasionally and only need a basic machine. This machine would also make a good backup machine “just in case” your main sewing machine breaks and needs to go into the shop. This Brother sewing machine is super easy to thread with it’s drop in bobbin and marked threading path. It has one large dial for selecting stitches and one smaller dial for selecting sewing tension. There is also a lever for sewing in reverse and locking off your stitches. Having super simple controls on this sewing machine makes it much easier for a beginner to use – no dizzying array of stitches, buttons, levers, and LCD screens to contend with.
The Brother LX3817A is often priced quite low, making it a good deal for beginning sewers who want to try out sewing without a huge initial investment. More sewing machines for advanced sewers tend to come with quite a few more capabilities and features – but at a significantly higher price. Buying a cheaper sewing machine like the LX3817A Brother manual sewing machine can be a wise choice, especially for a hobby you are not sure you want to do long term!
The most important thing to remember when you buy a Brother sewing machine (or any sewing machine) – read the manual! If you look at Brother LX3817A reviews, you will see some low ranking reviews from buyers. A small number of these reviews are from actual defective machines. The warranty would cover these machines. The bulk of the low reviews seem to be from people who have not read the manual! Remember, this is an easy to use, beginner sewing machine. Just because it is easy to use doesn’t mean you should just start sewing on it without any idea of how to sew, much less how to put the presser foot down! Most of the low reviews are people complaining about the thread bird nesting, skipping stitches, or the tension just being wrong. Most of these sound like user error that could have been fixed by reading the manual.
So, be sure to read the manual if you are a beginner sewer. 🙂
Other users have complained that the LED light on the machine is not bright enough. If you are in a dark room, you might find that you need additional light in order to see what you are doing when you are sewing. You can either repurpose a light that you have for this (I use a floor lamp pointed at my workspace). Another option is to buy a strip of LED lights that can attach to your sewing machine to provide extra light. This one here has super high reviews, and provides a cool-white light. These LED strips are easy to attach. They have double sided tape where you just remove the sticker and stick it where you want on the sewing machine. Just make sure to not block any moving parts!
Other Brother LX3817A reviews comment on how light the sewing machine pedal is. If you are sewing on a hard floor, the pedal can slip out from under your foot while you are sewing if you are not careful. There are multiple fixes for this minor issue. You can either make your own non-slip sewing pedal, add gripper feet to the bottom of the pedal, or buy a non-slip sewing pedal pad. Personally, I would just grab some non-slip drawer liner, cut a chunk off of it, and place it under the sewing machine pedal. This bin drawer liner would be perfect.
If you are learning to sew, looking for a sewing machine to do some occasional sewing, or just need a backup sewing machine this Brother sewing machine is a great option.
Commonly asked questions about the Brother LX3817A
Is the Brother LX3817A a good beginner sewing machine?
The Brother LX3817A is a great basic sewing machine for beginners. This is a great starter sewing machine that can do day to day sewing. If you are looking for an entry level sewing machine to start sewing with, then this is a good choice. This Brother sewing machine is also great if you are just looking to do occasional sewing – hemming pants every now and then or creating a few basic projects. With this Brother LX3817A machine you will learn the basics of how to use a sewing machine; what stitch length and width are, how the needle position impacts your work, and why thread tension matters. This manual sewing machine would be great for completing basic sewing tasks.
If you are a beginner who wants to move into more advanced sewing then you might be better served with getting a different sewing machine. If you have dreams of creating beautiful embroidery with your sewing machine, quilting with your sewing machine, or sewing thicker materials like denim, canvas, and leather then this may not be a good beginner sewing machine for you. Instead, consider one of these sewing machines:
- If you want to do machine embroidery, consider the Brother SE625 combination sewing and embroidery machine
- If you want to quilt, you can check out the best home quilting machines in this article
- If you want to sew heavy fabric, consider the Singer 4432 or 4423
Depending on the machine, there may be more of a learning curve with it than with this Brother sewing machine. The Singer 4432 and 4423 will work very similarly to the same as the Brother LX3817A, but the BrotherSE625 and the quilting machines will be quite different since they are computerized sewing machines. You might find it easier to get the Brother LX3817A sewing machine to pick up the basics, then upgrade to one of these sewing machines later.
Is Brother a good sewing machine brand?
Brother is one of the top two inexpensive sewing machine brands. Brother sewing machines are known for their quality at a competitive price point. They offer everything from beginner sewing machines and budget sewing machines to more advanced computerized sewing machines and embroidery machines. Brother sewing machines often have more features than other, similarly priced sewing machines. They also come with a 25 year limited warranty when you purchase them new.
Where can I find the Brother LX3817A manual?
You can find the instruction manual for the Brother LX3817a on Brother’s website, here.
Does the Brother LX3817A come with a warranty?
The Brother LX3817A manual sewing machine comes with Brother’s standard 25 year limited warranty and Brother’s at your side support. This gives you general support for how to use the machine, and a warranty to fall back on if it is defective. The 25 year limited warranty is broken down to cover various sections. In general it covers:
- Parts, labor, and accessories for 1 year
- Electronic components for 2 years
- Chassis (the sewing machine body) 25 years
You can find the Brother sewing machine warranty here.
Can you sew denim with the Brother LX3817A?
The Brother LX3817A can sew through a couple of layers of denim or heavier material. This makes it great for hemming jeans. You could even sew through a couple layers of very light weight leather. Anything heavier than a couple of layers of denim could hurt the machine. The needle will have difficulty piercing the fabric, causing it to misalign and hit the needle plate. This will cause your needles to bend and break, leaving strike marks from the needle in your needle plate. Make sure that if the machine is struggling with the material you do not force it to sew through it. If you are sewing through heavier materials, make sure that you use the appropriate needle for it. You should use denim needles when sewing through denim and leather needles for leather.
What is the sewing speed of the Brother LX3817A?
This Brother sewing machine sews at a max speed of 850 stitches per minute. Note that this is the max speed, you can sew slower by not pressing down as hard on the sewing machine pedal. You can control the speed of the sewing machine with the foot pedal. 850 stitches per minute is on the faster side of average sewing machine speeds.
What stitches does the Brother LX3817A have?
The Brother LX3817A has 17 different built-in stitches. Many of these stitches are variants of a similar stitch. For instance, there are six different versions of the straight stitch with different stitch lengths and one with a left needle position. There are four different versions of a zigzag stitch with different stitch lengths and widths. These stitches are:
- Straight stitch (six versions)
- Zigzag stitch (four versions)
- Blind hem stitch
- Stretch blind hem stitch
- Overedge stitch
- Elastic stitching
- Double action stitch
- Bridging stitch
- Four step auto-size buttonhole
To see full details about the stitches available on the Brother LX3817a sewing machine, check out the manual.
Can you use metal bobbins with the Brother LX3817A?
While you can technically use metal bobbins with the Brother LX3817A, it is very much not recommended. I would not use metal bobbins with this sewing machine. You risk damaging the machine or voiding the warranty if you sew using metal bobbins. You should use plastic bobbins with this sewing machine, matching the size to the machine. If you need more plastic bobbins, you can find some here.
What is the Brother LX3817A bobbin size?
The Brother LX3817A sewing machine uses Brother SA156 bobbins, class 15. Using these bobbins will prevent costly damage to your sewing machine from using the wrong bobbin size. Even if you don’t damage your machine, using the correct bobbin size will help prevent snarls and birds nests from forming in the bobbin reservoir. These are always a pain to clean out, so prevent them by using the correct bobbins. You can find the bobbins for the Brother LX3817A here.
What presser feet come with this sewing machine?
The Brother LX3817A comes with four different presser feet. These feet are:
- Zipper foot – for sewing zippers and piping
- Zigzag foot – for basic sewing tasks
- Buttonhole foot – for sewing buttonholes
- Button sewing foot – for sewing on buttons
In addition to these basic presser feet, you can purchase additional presser feet. These can either be Brother brand or third party. If you need a lot of additional presser feet, I would recommend getting a third party set of presser feet like these. It can be less expensive to buy a pack of presser feet than buying individual feet one at a time if you need many different feet.
Does the Brother LX3817A come with automatic needle threading?
No, the Brother LX3817A does not come with automatic needle threading. You would need to thread the needle yourself. Dritz makes a great sewing machine needle threading accessory that you can find here.
Can you control the max sew speed with the Brother LX3817A?
With the LX3817A Brother manual sewing machine, the sewing speed is controlled with the foot pedal. This is used much like a car’s gas pedal – the more you push down the pedal, the faster the machine sews.
More expensive sewing machines can have the capability to control the max sewing speed with a slider. This is great for new sewers as it means that even if they “floor it” the sewing machine cannot run away with their project. The LX3817A does not have the capability to have it’s max speed reduced via a slider. So for this machine, the speed would be solely controlled by the foot pedal.
Can you do embroidery with the Brother LX3817A?
This Brother sewing machine is not an embroidery machine. So it will not automatically embroider beautiful designs for you. If you are looking for an embroidery machine I would recommend checking out our Brother SE625 review. The Brother LX3817A does come with 17 different built in stitches so you have some options for decorative sewing. You can also purchase and additional quilting foot which would let you create beautiful free motion embroidered designs. You can find the free motion quilting foot here.
Can you quilt with the Brother LX3817A?
The Brother LX3817A is not a dedicated quilting machine, but that does not mean that you cannot make beautiful quilts with it! This machine does not come with a lot of the features and accessories that a quilting machine has. You can still make beautiful basic quilts with this machine with the features it does have. You would want to purchase a quilting foot for your Brother sewing machine to make free motion designs on your quilt. You can find the free motion quilting foot here.
One of the biggest issues you will find if you are quilting with the Brother LX3817A is it’s throat size. The throat is the amount of space between the sewing head and the rest of the sewing machine body. When you are quilting, you are often dealing with at least two layers of thin fabric and a layer of thicker batting. With smaller quilts for children or babies passing this through the sewing machine throat might be challenging but it is very doable. Quilting larger blankets for a bed would be next to impossible with this sewing machine. Passing that much fabric through the throat is going to be very challenging, if not outright impossible.
So, yes you can make beautiful quilts with this sewing machine. You would want to stick to quilts for children or babies, or other small quilting projects with this sewing machine. For quilting larger projects you would want to buy a dedicated quilting machine. If you are looking for a quilting machine, check out our reviews of the best sewing machines for quilting.
Can the Brother LX3817A do free arm sewing?
Yes, the front accessory container on the Brother LX3817A can be removed allowing the machine to do free arm sewing. Free arm sewing is great because it allows you to wrap your fabric around the base of the sewing machine. This makes it much easier to hem pants, finish sleeve edges, inset sleeves, and sew children’s clothes.
What is the difference between the Brother LX3817 and the Brother LX3817A?
Feature wise, the Brother LX3817 and Brother LX3817A are exactly the same. The difference between the Brother LX3817 sewing machine and the Brother LX3817A sewing machine is the color. The Brother LX3817 is white with a blue paisley design on it. The Brother LX3817A is aqua with a grey heart print on it. Other than color, there are no differences between these machines. So pick the color you like best (or the one that’s cheapest! 😉).
Is the Brother LX3817A a full size sewing machine?
Yes! The Brother LX3817A is a full size sewing machine. This machine is 17.72 x 14.09 x 7.56 inches. That said, this is a light weight machine at 12.85 pounds. This makes it a great choice to take to a sewing or quilting class. This machine is also a welcome addition for a crafting room with it’s smaller footprint than some other sewing machines.
Does the Brother LX3817A have a stitch guide printed on the front of it?
Yes! The Brother LX3817A stitch guide is printed right on the stitch selector knob. This makes it super easy to determine which stitch you want to use and where to turn the dial to select it.
What needles does the Brother LX3817A use?
The Brother LX3817A sewing machine uses regular sewing machine needles. These can range from smaller needles for thin fabrics, to thicker denim needles for canvas and denim work. This machine can also use a twin needle. There are no special Brother LX3817A needles.
Dose the Brother LX3817A sewing machine have a LCD screen?
No, the Brother LX3817A sewing machine does not have a LCD screen. This sewing machine is a mechanical sewing machine. That means that all of the stitch settings are controlled by knobs on the machine, like the upper thread tension control knob. LCD screens are usually only found on computerized sewing machine where a computer controls the stitch and tension settings.
What is a mechanical sewing machine?
The Brother LX3817A is a mechanical sewing machine. Mechanical machines are sewing machines that re controlled by dials and levers. This is different from a computerized machine where you press buttons on a machine to control a computer which does the same things as the dials and levers on a mechanical machine. Mechanical machines aren’t necessarily better or worse than computerized machines, it all depends on what you are using the machine for! Mechanical machines can take longer to switch settings than a computerized machine. Often, computerized machines have the settings for each stitch saved so swapping to the stitch automatically changes stitch length, thread tension, and stitch width. However, mechanical machines are much simpler to troubleshoot if something goes wrong.
Is the Brother LX3817A the best value for me?
It is hard to say if the LX3817A Brother sewing machine is the best value for you or not. It all depends on your sewing goals and projects. The Brother LX3817A is a great value for a beginner sewer or someone who is just sewing basic projects. This machine can tackle most garment sewing and some smaller quilt sewing with ease. If you are looking to sew kids clothes, sew Halloween costumes, or sew home decor, this is a great machine for you.
However, this is not the best value if you intend to sew heavier materials like denim, canvas, and leather. In that case, you will want to look at heavy duty machines. Likewise, this is not a great value if you want to quilt large projects or do decorative embroidery on your projects. In that case, you would want a dedicated quilting machine or a computerized embroidery machine respectively. So, to determine if this is the best value for you, you really need to look at your sewing goals and aspirations.
Video Guide to the Brother LX3817
Check out this quick video that shows you how to get started with Brother sewing machines in the LX3817A family.
In this Brother LX3817A review you learned if buying this Brother sewing machine was worth it. This sewing machine review also gave you the answer to some common questions about the Brother LX3817A.
Overall, this is a great sewing machine for beginner sewers, for a more advanced sewer that doesn’t sew that often, or as a backup sewing machine. This machine has many basic features that make it a great learning or standby machine. It’s a mechanical sewing machine, so doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as a computerized sewing machine. That said, this machine is great for tackling basic sewing tasks like hemming, sewing garments or smaller quilts. The ease of use on this simple sewing machine makes it a really great choice.