Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Smocking Tip Found

On my daily perusal of Pinterest, I saw an interesting pin about changing the needle on your pleater ~ if it breaks while you are pleating.  This intrigued me, since this is a somewhat frequent occurance ~ and a pain when it happens!

I followed the posted link, which only lead to the blog and then I had to start digging to find the specific post (again...a pain).  I found it, reposted the correct link and saved it to my smocking board.  Pleating the fabric is my least favorite part of smocking, mostly because of needle breakage.  And the goofy needles cost $1.25 each, which in itself is not much, but for a toddler and above size dress you use 10-12 needles.  When one or two break, you are getting into some cash.

I like to cut out and pleat several dresses in the same day, just to get the pleating over with ~ then I can block the dresses and smock.  On Monday, I had 4 dresses to pleat.  The first 3 were a broken needles.  Then #4 ~ I was on the very last section and the needle busted, I couldn't get the hint to work.  I knew it had to be operator error (ME) since the tip came from a smocker that is published in magazines and knows what she is doing.  I ended up pulling out all the threads (10), ironing the fabric, replacing the needle and starting over.  And it happened again.  This time I turned on my trusty Kindle, READ the complete directions and got to work ~ and it worked!!!!!  Reading the directions & following them do come in handy!

Here is the link and then some pictures I took of the process ~

Many, many, many thanks to Janet Gilbert for publishing this "will make my life easier" tip.  And to whoever posted it on pinterest from Janets blog.

See the hump?  That's the busted needle ~ this one busted and broken into 2 pieces.

You have to carefully work the needle out of the pleats ~ all the pieces of the offending needle

that leaves an empty spot in the pleats ~ this is where I messed up the first time, I didn't pull all the pleats off the needles to rethread

then you rethread the needle, stick it in the pleater, replace the roller bar, PRAY, and continue

You have to roll the fabric to hold it tight and then go through the pleater ~ the little tan bar came with it, but doesn't work well for Bishop style dresses because its too short.  The long blue bar is a handle from a mop or broom that I got from Mom and it works great!

Here is the padded board to block the dress on.  The inside circle markings are the necksizes for whatever size dress you are making.  I did 2 newborn & 2 size 5.

This part is kind of tedious but well worth the effort ~ this is one of the newborn dresses.
I love the mini rosebuds on this soft pink fabric.

The pinning is complete and tied off. 

Now its ready for a spray of starch & after that dries, I can block & spray the others.
By yesterday afternoon, I had 3 of them done ~ after the 4th, I can get to smocking ~ the fun part!

The 2 size 5 dresses are for my little twin friends ~ I usually make them dresses for their birthdays...last year they got their gift 6 months late (my bad, but we did have 2 weddings last year!).  The Sunday they wore their dresses to church, during their Sunday School prayer time they both prayed and thanked the Lord that Miss Donna made them dresses.......I heard about it later & it brought tears to my eyes!  How sweet & thoughtful ~ and an encouragement to me! 

This little darling' didn't want to smile for anything on Sunday ~ but she loves her Minnie Dress ~

I guess loosing an hours sleep from the time change messed up her "clock"

I love the black bow buttons we found to go on the shoulders!
Happy Crafting Month!


  1. Thanks for the shout out! You made my day.

    1. Awww, thanks! Believe me, you made MY day with that awesome tip! I just became a follower on your blog and commented under the blog post! Donna


Welcome to the farm ~ we are a blended family with 7 children (3 are married), 4 grandsons, 5 dogs, 3 rabbits, and 15 chickens living on 3 acres in Georgia. I love crafting, sewing, cooking & canning, recipes of all kinds, reading, playing with my little buddies, family time, travel, pinterest and most of all the Lord.