"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 Pleater 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.
The only new pleater available! Consistent quality for more than 60 years.
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
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.
Carefully sanded and covered with cork and fabric to make your pleating easier.
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
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 or buy a new Amanda Jane pleater.
May we also suggest you consider this book along with your purchase of
or if you already have a pleater this book is great for unveiling
the mystery of the pleater.
Weaver $1.50 each
This notion weaves ribbon through your smocking stitches to enhance your
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 (to match the contemporary
smocking patterns we sell).
Pleater Compatible Spacing
Only a few left - OP
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
From the Ellen McCarn Collection.
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
Insert for Smocking
We have available white inserts (Imperial Broadcloth)
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:
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 - 707-995-9337.
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 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.
Spanish Smocking Magazines
More issues available on this page Frunces Smock
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