How to Use a Pleater for Smocking

Mechanical pleaters help artisans from hurting their fingers and cuts down on the number of hours of extra work. Pleaters are mechanical tools that let artisans to attach uniform pleats or gathers to the fabric in huge quantities instead of serving each fabric one by one. After pleating, you can attach a variety of embroidery stitches sewn over the pleats which is called smocking.

This old technique is used to install decorative designs to articles of clothing, decorations and home decor. Even though artisans might perform the pleating mechanically, original smocking requires for the embroidery to be done by hand as suggested by the Smocking Arts Guild of America.

Things required

– Fabric
– Thread tool
– Strong polyester thread


  • 1

    Add needles

    First of all, you can begin by installing the needles. Use the number of needles, in the spaces needed for the clothing. On the other hand, follow the maker’s guidelines for installation directions. Thread the pleater needles with powerful polyester thread. You can use your fingers or even a threading tool for this purpose. Next, roll the fabric onto a magnetic feed rod dowel or a wooden dowel.

  • 2

    Further instructions

    Put one edge of the clothing covered dowel through the left side plate. The clothing can be inserted from the bottom or top position of the dowel. Make sure you force the dowel to the left rather than place the other end in the right side plate. Position the dowel in order for the clothing to feed off the dowel and into the space of the pleater in use. Then place the middle of the fabric with the centre needle. Also, put the front edge of the fabric between the two back rollers.

  • 3

    Fabric placement

    Move the knob a little clockwise to feed the clothing into the pleater. If the fabric is wrinkled or damaged, turn the knob in the other direction and redo the process. Make sure you do not take the fabric out of the pleater when it meets the needles which can cause needle breakage and damage. Move the fabric or dowel whereas turning the pleater knob to maintain the clothing straight and to remove the present wrinkles. Next, turn it clockwise in small turns and finish when the fabric gets on the needles. Finally, remove the fabric off the needles with your fingers and keep moving the knob.

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