JCPenney is a department store brand and is not a sewing machine maker. Sewists believed that many manufacturers were behind the production of these JCPenney sewing machines like Janome, Brother, Toyota, and many other Japanese manufacturers that are not as popular.
Some JCPenney sewing machines also look similar to some models of top-brand sewing machines like Singer and may have taken them up as inspiration.
A JCPenney sewing machine with model number 7057 was an exact copy of a Singer sewing machine. It implies that the JCPenney sewing machines may have been clones of different top sewing machine brands. But there are just no records to show what brand produced these sewing machines for JCPenney.
After World War II, record-keeping by the Japanese was not that organized, so there is no proper account of the manufacturers of JCPenney sewing machines.
A 6950 JCPenney sewing machine model was made by a Japanese firm called Chi Yoda. Many sewing machines may have been made for JCPenney, but there is no way to trace how many were made by a particular company.
We may not know where these machines were made, but we know that they exist, and some are still functional and available in the market.
Using a JCPenney sewing machine is the same as operating other standard sewing machines. Still, if there are any specific variations in the model you own, you have to consult your user’s manual.
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How do you use a JCP sewing machine?
You can use a JCPenney sewing machine like any sewing machine manufactured during its time. Standard sewing machines may differ between brands or models, but they essentially perform the same task similarly.
Just like any domestic sewing machine, you should not use your JCPenney sewing machine for hard-core sewing. It can perform everyday household sewing tasks like mending and repairs, create home décors, and even be used for quilting but should not be used for mass production of items like an industrial sewing machine.
If you want your JCPenney machine to serve you for a longer time, use the appropriate materials and tools to sew on it fast and efficiently.
Some JCPenney models may not be as sturdy as others, as some JCPenney sewing machine users can attest. These machines are not heavy-duty sewing machines that can last a lifetime unless you only use them for occasional sewing projects.
If you want to keep your JCPenney sewing machine running for a long time, here are a few tips:
- Clean the dirt and lint if possible after using the machine. Dirt build-up can cause your sewing machine to get stuck up and refuse to run.
- Check if you placed the right kind and size of bobbin in the bobbin case. Using the wrong bobbin will also halt your sewing and may even cause damage to your bobbin or bobbin case. Use plastic if your machine requires it or metal if the manual says you need a metal bobbin.
- Lubricate your sewing machine. Check your user’s manual to locate the areas where you need to place some sewing machine oil and the amount you need.
- If your sewing machine is computerized, check for loose electrical wiring. Some of the wires may also be frayed after being used for a long time. Make sure to connect the wires tightly and replace frayed cables to keep your machine running when you need it.
- Allot a regular maintenance schedule for your JCPenney sewing machine. For a sewing machine used daily, you can schedule monthly service maintenance. But for a machine that is used occasionally, yearly maintenance would suffice.
The secret of keeping your machine working for a long time is to use it properly and regular maintenance. The brand or model of your sewing machine does not matter; as long as you treat it with proper care, you can enjoy your machine longer.
How do you thread a JCP sewing machine?
JCPenney sewing machines have a lot of different models, but the threading procedure is practically the same and applies to most regular sewing machines.
JCPenney has numerous models of its brand of sewing machines. You may find many older models in used sewing machines or second-hand markets.
Despite significant variations in the specific functions of the wide range of models, JCPenney-brand sewing machines generally have the exact threading instructions.
And it does not just apply to JCPenney sewing machines but most of the household sewing machines of any brand.
Threading can be summarized in a three-step process: first is to wind the bobbin; second is to put the bobbin into the sewing machine; and lastly, threading the top thread through the needle.
If you want to make sure you are threading your JCPenney sewing properly, you can check its instruction manual. It would have the steps and illustrations you may need to thread your machine correctly.
Winding the bobbin
Find the spool pins. You can find these two metal spokes at the back-right top of the sewing machine. Put your spool of thread on the left spool pin.
Get an empty bobbin. Make sure that the bobbin you choose is the proper bobbin for your JCPenney sewing machine. Get the end of the thread from the spool, wrap it tightly around the center of the bobbin at least ten times, then thread the end through one of the tiny holes on the side of the bobbin. Take the thread from the inside to the outside of the bobbin.
Find the bobbin winder spindle. It should look like a short metal tube with a spring mechanism on its side to hold the bobbin in place. When you move it with your finger from left to right, there will be a clicking sound. Rotate the bobbin winder spindle to the left and press the bobbin down on it. Make sure that the thread is on the side closest to the spool.
Get the end of the thread from the spool to the bobbin over the thread guide. There should be a tiny metal button-like clasp on the left side of the top of the machine.
You will find the handwheel on the right side of the machine. Hold the outer part of the handwheel with one hand. Turn the stop-motion knob at the central part of the handwheel towards you.
Then, press down on the foot pedal like you are in the act of sewing. When the bobbin winder moves at high speed, you will see that it will fill up with thread from the spool. Fill the bobbin with enough amount of thread that you need for your sewing project. Cut your thread.
Placing the bobbin on the sewing machine
With one hand, hold the outer part of the handwheel. Then, turn the central part of it away from you. Turn the outer part of the handwheel away from you until you see that the needle is raised to its highest position. Raise your presser foot by lifting the lever located behind the needle.
Open the front plate located at the lower-left side of the sewing machine and underneath the needle and needle plate. You will see a mechanism with the bobbin case inside. It is made of metal and circular with a hinged latch on its front and a long metal finger pointing upward. Pull the hinged latch, then remove the bobbin case from the mechanism.
Hold the bobbin case so that the open side faces you, and the long metal finger faces upward. Put the bobbin inside the bobbin such that it can turn clockwise when you pull on the end of the thread.
At the side of the bobbin is a cross-slot. It looks like a narrow slit that leads to the delivery eye hole. Slide the end of the thread into the cross-slot then into the delivery eye. Pull the thread, then allot at least 6 inches of tail.
Hold the bobbin case using the hinged latch with the bobbin inside, then press it into the mechanism. The long metal finger should face upward to fit into the narrow slot at the top of the mechanism. The bobbin case should stay in place when you release the hinged latch.
Threading the top thread
Look for the thread guide. You can identify it as a narrow vertical slit above the needle in front of the sewing machine. Turn the handwheel away from you and stop only when the take-up lever appears at the top of the thread guide.
Get the end of the thread from the left spool pin. Pass the thread through the thread guide; usually, a wire loop or a metal spoke at the back-left side of the machine. Then, let the thread pass through the thread guide at the front-left side of the machine.
Look for the thread tension dial. It is usually a round knob directly below the thread guide and at the front-left side of the machine. Place the thread under the tension dial and through the wire spring at its left.
Get the thread from the wire spring, then slide it up along the thread guide, then take it through the take-up lever from right to left. Follow the thread guide, then pass the thread through the small wire loop at the top-left of the needle.
Finally, pass the end of the needle through the eye, from the front to the back. Pull a tail of about six inches.
Hold the end of the thread loosely with your left hand. Then, turn the handwheel slowly away from you, with the needle going up and down through the needle plate as you go. The thread from the bobbin should appear with the needle and be looped with the top thread. Pull the end of the bobbin thread. Now you are set to sew.
Which are the best JC Penney sewing machine models?
It is challenging to know which JC Penney sewing machines performed best because there are only a few of them that you will find functional. Some JC Penney sewing machines nowadays are being sold for other valuable parts that can be used as replacements for similar models.
Below are some of the few JC Penney sewing machines that are still operative these days.
Vintage JC Penney Penncrest 3600
This is a nice and solidly built machine, Japan-made for JC Penney in the 70s. It includes an accessory pack, an owner’s manual, a decorative stitch chart, and parts diagram sheets.
The sewing machine’s main features are 120 different stitching patterns, variable speed using the foot pedal, adjustable Zig Zag stitching width, adjustable stitch length. It has “Sew” and “Darn” push-button settings that you can toggle. You can also adjust the feed-dog, and it also has a setting is for silk or chiffon.
JCPenney model 6915
The JCPenney 6915 is a free-arm sewing machine manufactured by Nelco. It has many built-in stitches and a four-step buttonhole.
It has a removable bedplate that can be screwed securely in place.
The machine uses the standard class 15 bobbin and 15×1 needles. It also has a drop feed feature and dual spool pins.
The machine also comes with a foot control pedal and a power cord.
JC Penney Penncrest model 2100 Sewing Machine
The JC Penney 2100 is a vintage straight and zigzag, all-metal sewing machine. It has a nice red color that borders into orange, making it look like a very cool retro sewing machine.
Even if the stitches are only the basic straight and zigzag, the machine has many redeeming qualities and features such as adjustable stitch width and length, reverse and feed dog drop.
It uses class 15 bobbin and 15×1 needles which are common in Walmart or any fabric store.
Since it is an all-metal sewing machine, it works well on heavy-duty fabrics and can sew five or more layers of denim, eight layers of cotton fabric, or four layers of upholstery fabric. The machine is vintage yet very durable and handles heavy-duty materials.