"Smocking Pleaters, Buttons, Piping & Notions That We Carry"
To see everything else we carry click on the CATALOG OF PRODUCTS link above

Pleaters Perfect for Smocking & Shibori silk dyeing techniques!

The Read 32 row and Read Maxi Pleaters from South Africa

A Pleater is a machine invented in the 1950's by the Read family in South Africa as an easy way to make pleats for Smocking. Starting out as a 16row pleater those old Read Pleaters were wonderful and are still supported by the current owners for needles. Not to be out done, the Americans came up with their own pleaters, the 16 row Newell, the 16row Pullen pleaters. To fulfill the needs of smockers who wanted to do full bodice smocking without having to send their fabric through their pleaters twice Lord Stanley started his pleater factory and another fine pleater was born, the Sally Stanley 24 row pleater. Not to be outdone the Americans created the 24row Durand Pleater and Mary's 24row pleater. Around the same time the pleater engineers took up the challenged and designed the 32 row pleater with the Read 32row and the American 32row Dr. Joe Pleater. All of these were fine pleaters but had the same method of changing needles by removing the metal plate which held in the roller bar with screws that took a bit of time to do and you ran the risk of needles falling out before you finished replacing the screws. Then came the Amanda Jane from Australia with it's wonderful innovation of scraping the screw and metal plate method by replacing it with a two side pin mechanism which holds the roller bar in place. I timed it when I first tried out the Amanda Jane and found that I could change my needles in 5 minutes instead of the normal 20 minutes of the old screw/bracket method. You just pop out the pins, remove the roller bar, replace the needles and the roller bar and pop the pins back in place. Easy, easy, easy. Fortunately the new owners of the Read Company thought this was a grand idea and incorporated it into their pleaters now that the Amanda Jane pleater is no longer in production.

If you have never used a pleater before know that it is not difficult and is certainly less time consuming than the iron-on dot method of forming pleats. This wonderful machine takes fabric that is fed in from the back and pushes it through rollers or gears that are grooved  and when are meshed together with the fabric in-between pushes it onto specially designed needles which are threaded with quilting thread.  Once it has come through the pleater off of the needles and onto the thread(s) it is blocked and sized waiting your beautiful smocking.

Today we carry the pleaters we consider the best investment for your money, the Read pleaters from South Africa.  ALL the pleaters come with precision brass rollers and ALL NEEDLES advertised in place and we pay the postage for USA orders. Phone support on operating your pleater is included in your pleater purchase.

Shopping Cart Info - Please Read

Please note:  Our shopping cart is set up to charge shipping but due to the complexity of the coding which goes beyond the understanding of fairies we ask that you trust us NOT to charge an extra shipping rate for just a pleater. We will send you a corrected invoice excluding the shipping.   The pleater prices includes shipping however, if you have added in other items to your order we will charge whatever the extra weight will be. We are extremely fair with shipping/handling fees.

Hawaii and Alaska orders will be charged $20.00 for pleaters due to the extra shipping charge for overseas orders.

Buying a Smocking pleater is a big investment, we understand and want to help you by trying to  answer all of  the questions you may have in order to help you in making your decision.  Choosing the right one for your needs is not hard at all but the main question to ask yourself is "Do I need all those half space rows?". Please note that our prices include shipping AND since we know all about smocking we are here to answer all of your questions that you might have on smocking and the pleater, again don't hesitate in asking us anything about pleaters and pleating.

Read Pleaters
The only new pleater available! Consistent quality for more than 60 years.

Read Pleaters
24 row, Maxi (47 half spaces) or 32row

Designed with precision brass rollers, each Read plater has been carefully engineered to work perfectly every time. You have your choice of 3 styles:

  • Read Regular 24 row pleater $319.00
  • Read Maxi 24 row includes 47 half space rows (24 regular and 23 half space rows) $369.00
  • Read 32row pleater $399.00
Each price includes shipping in the continental US but if you order other items along with it we will have to charge shipping on those items.

Price $319.00-$399.00
Quantity requested        

Here is a picture for you of the half spaces in place which we recommend you thread with a contrasting color for easy viewing while smocking.


While living in the heart of Sonoma County's art to wear world we discovered that many ladies were using their pleaters for the fabric painting process known as Shibori where you will want to have the most rows available for pleating.  One can get beautiful consistent pleats which are perfect for hand painting in what ever designs your Shibori painting moves you to make.  Use with acid dyes (acid refers to the vinegar) that require no steaming (Procion Mx).   Fabrics such as rayon or silk chiffon or wool challis pleat and dye with an elegance that is way beyond regular tie dye on cotton.  If one were really creative and the mood to make something beautiful and original strikes you (and you might be suffering from a small case of Empty Nest Smocking Syndrome) one could make Shibori Fabric Sculptures and add in a little smocking here and there to keep the pleats in place.  Here is just one example of Shibori made with a pleater from the book by Elfriede Moller "Shibori". When you are tired of smocking perhaps fabric painting might be a new craft for you. All of the pleaters we sell can be used for this process.

Shibori has become very popular with a few books out on the subject.

The Smocking most older Americans are familiar with is to either use gingham or dotted fabric or transfer dots onto fabric in rows and then pick up these dots in a precise manner to form pleats, this technique is still done today.  In Australia I understand that 'Smocking on a Brick' was a common method for making pleats and is still being used today when pleating heavy or piled fabrics such as Velvet or Velveteen. (To read an article written by Judith Brandau on this very subject, please click here.)  There are other tedious methods sprung from the inventive minds of the past which got the job done but thankfully today we have a little machine which prepares our fabric with a few turns of the handle.

Pleating Dowel

Carefully sanded and covered with cork and fabric to make your pleating easier.

Pleating Dowel 12"
Quantity requested    

Pleating Dowel 15"
Price $34.95
Quantity requested    

Pleating Dowel 18"
Price $36.95
Quantity requested    

From Terri Wood - Pleating DVD

In this new pleating DVD by Terri Wood (see her Smocking Video) the quest for visual pleating information has finally been fulfilled.  Techniques covered in this DVD include:

  • Introduction of Different Pleaters
  • Care and Maintenance of the pleater
  • Preparing the Pleater for Pleating
  • Pleating a Bishop Dress
  • Pleating using a motor

30 minutes DVD

Price $19.95
Quantity requested    


Specially made needles for the various pleaters are sometimes very hard to get, almost if not impossible really so we suggest you order as many you think you'll ever need.  We carry original needles for the Amanda Jane as well as the generic brand Bradley Needles which have been around for almost as long as the pleaters themselves.  If you have a Mary's Pleater order the Sally Stanley 24row needles. If you have a Durand Pleater order the Read 16 row needles

Amanda Jane Needles for all sizes - One dozen in package

Price $30.00
Quantity requested    

Sally Stanley Needles - One dozen in package - Also fit Mary's Pleater

Price $30.00
Quantity requested    

All other pleaters (Newell, Pullen, Durand)
Generic Needles 16 needle $17.00 for 16 row pleaters, 24 row pleaters 24 needles for $24.00 needles 
If you want Amanda Jane Needles order those, these fit but are not the best

Price $17.00 or $24.00
Quantity requested    

Original Read Pleater Needles

Note on old Read 24 row pleaters w/o red sticker.

It has come to our attention that if you have an old Read 24 row pleater that does NOT have a red sticker on the bottom (those built in 1980-84) the current available 24 row needles will not fit as they are a bit too short by 1mm.

At this time thus style of pleater needles is not longer being supported by Read & Co. The generics will not fit either. The only solution is to try the new Read 24 row needles and pleat slowly without any seams and be gentle while taking the fabric off the needles.

1 dozen Read Pleater Needles
 16row Pleater (also fits the Durand 24 row pleater)

Price $30.00
Quantity requested    

1 dozen Read Pleater Needles
24/32 row Read Pleater

Price $30.00
Quantity requested    

Needle Threaders

Needle Threader encased in plastic with cap for protection

Price $1.60
Quantity requested    

May we also suggest you consider this book along with your purchase of a pleater,
or if you already have a pleater this book is great for unveiling the mystery of the pleater.

"The Pleater Manual" Sarah Douglas $25.00  (Sub-title: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of the Smocking Pleater).

This is the definitive guide to operating a smocking pleater and working with pleated fabric. Written by an expert in smocking and pleating, Saran Douglas gives you more information than you ever would want to know about pleating and working with pleated fabric. Covers the basic subjects and then goes into a comparison of the popular brands of pleaters and advanced subjects like pleating on the bias and curves. Included is a glossary of terms, pleating directions for all types of fabrics and pleater maintenance instructions. The layout of the book is set up as lesson plans on every type of pleating, exotic or regular.  Her thorough research answers many questions you might have not thought to ask. I recommend this book as a must have in every smocker's library.

Price $25.00
Quantity requested    

Metal Bodkin/Ribbon Weaver $1.50 each 
This notion weaves ribbon through your smocking stitches to enhance your smocking.

Price $1.50
Quantity requested    


Iron-On Smocking Dots - $7.00 per package of two 24" x 36" sheets.
Two styles and two colors:  (Regular spacing and Pleater Compatible - blue or yellow)

Pleater Compatible Spacing 

Blue Smocking Dots

Price 7.00
Quantity requested    

Yellow Smocking Dots

Price 7.00
Quantity requested    

Traditional Spacing 

Blue Smocking Dots

Price 7.00
Quantity requested    

Yellow Smocking Dots
Only a few left - OP

Price 7.00
Quantity requested    

Pleater Compatible spacing (to match the contemporary smocking patterns we sell).

Your choice of two colors Yellow  for dark fabrics or Blue  for light fabrics.

Click here to read our latest newsletter on how to use these dots for bishop smocking.

Smocking Pro-portional Graph Paper - $4.00 for 25 sheets to a pad. 

Sheets are 5 x 8 1/2", two styles Stacking (shown) or Regular.

From the Ellen McCarn Collection.


Price 4.00
Quantity requested    


Price 4.00
Quantity requested    

Smock and Block Guide for Bishop Dress & Blouse Necklines by Ellen McCarn   $7.00
This handy tool which you can mount into a hoop or a picture frame has all the necklines of 18" AG dolls up through preemie/newborns to Adult necklines and is printed on heavy pellon. It also a blocking guide for inserts AND has a scallop tracing guide for hems and collars. The size of the scallops measure from 1" to 4".

Price $7.50
Quantity requested    

Create A Plate Designer  by Debbie Glenn $8.00

A kit which contains 4 sheets of heavy translucent paper with stacked cables printed onto it. The purpose of it is to place it over a picture of a design or over a design on a printed fabric that you wish to copy for smocking and then you color it in, et voila a pattern for smocking.

Price 8.00
Quantity requested    

Pre-Pleated Insert for Smocking

We have available white inserts (Imperial Broadcloth)

9 rows ready for smocking (smock 7)
Height 4 1/2" including seam allowance x 60"

Price 4.95
Quantity requested    

10 rows ready for smocking (smock 8)
Height 5" including seam allowance x 45"

Price 5.50
Quantity requested    

12 rows ready for smocking (smock 10)
Height 5 1/2" including seam allowance x 60"

Price 5.95
Quantity requested    

16 rows ready for smocking (smock 14)
Height 7" including seam allowance x 60"

Price 6.95
Quantity requested    

Pleating Service

Our policy is very simple, if no one has a pleater near you or if you are tired of picking up the dots and want to get down to smocking we can pleat for you. 

Our fees are simple:
  • $5.50 for up to 9 rows

  • $6.95 for up to 16 rows

  • $7.95 up to 24 rows

  • $12.00 for pleating a bishop dress + $4.00 to pleat the sleeves

Postage is additional, just send us the same amount of postage as you paid.  Turn around time is usually 3-4 days from when we receive your item to be pleated, depending upon how complex your order is and unless your fabric breaks a needle or is just one of those difficult projects - then we take the time needed to complete the job, just let us know if you are in a hurry.  Oh and if your project breaks a needle then we have to charge $1.10 per needle.

If you are sending a bishop to be pleated please make certain your seams are even at the neckline as we use the neckline as our pleating guide. If your edge is not even your pleating will not be even. Also please pre-wash your fabric as some finishes make our pleater drag. Please call if you need further info - 707-701-1356.

Ready to Smock Dresses

Here is our Ready to Smock page, more stuff to be added later.

Check out the pattern details on this page for the styles available.  Please drop us an e-mail if you are interested.

Do you read Spanish?

Muestras y Motivos - Frunces Smock
Spanish Smocking Magazines

Wonderful magazine from Spain featuring bullion embellished smocking to the max. The quality of the designs are excellent. The Spanish are famous for their bullion smocking, influencing the craze that hit the American and Australian smocking world in the 80's and 90's. Today you can see cross influences in Frunces smock with heirloom sewing techniques and quality of the garments presented in each issue.

Muestras y Motivos - Frunces Smock 21

Includes patterns and smocking stitch illustrations as well as the smocking designs in graph form. The instructions are in Spanish. 5 girl's dresses, 1 baby romper, 1 smocked bonnet

Price $19.00
Quantity requested    

More issues available on this page Frunces Smock

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