Smocking Starting

comments: 52


Today was a great day. I now have my own pleater. It's at least twenty-five years old and was owned for many years by my new friend Sally, who I met at the SAGA meeting the other night. I love the pleater. I sewed together this little Bishop dress this afternoon and pleated it on the pleater all by myself (with Andy's help). The pleating worked out just fine. I am extremely excited.

Thank you so much for all the bread recommendations! I will definitely be working my way through that list! At this moment, I have just put down my smocking to get Amanda's WHO bread on the rise. Andy's in the kitchen making my dad's chili and listening to Wilco (for you, Amanda :-). I learned that my blocking board just got shipped yesterday (sadly — I thought it would be here yesterday, but no), and I will do a tutorial on blocking the grannies, for those of you who asked (and the pattern for the grannies will be ready next week, too. Sorry for the delay, but I really want to block it before I photograph it for the pattern, and I realized a little late that having a grid will be very helpful here). I'll show you how the pleater works next week, too — I was so nervous while I was doing it there was no way I could've stopped to take a photo, and I barely knew what I was doing anyway. Andy said I was breathing heavily while cranking it, and it wasn't from the exertion (though the gears on that thing deffo don't turn themselves) it was from extreme . . . anticipation and anxiety. I am such a doofus. I cannot help it people. It just is.


I have no idea what a pleater is but I am definitely curious!

I've never heard of a pleater but you are the cutest.

I am in LOVE with that fabric! I sooo want to learn to smock. I need a pleater, too. Glad to see you smocking. :) Melissa

You will love the pleater, there is no better way to smock. I have had one for years and love it. You will never go back the gigham fabric method after you try the pleater! Enjoy the smocking!

Take your time...........but Hurry UP! I. can't. wait.

Oh my if you are looking for wonderful inspiration take a look at some of the Sew Beautifuls. Amazing smocking and not just for kids although they do steal most of the limelight!

We love you and your dufus-ness...

love your enthusiasm

Ha! I just cut pieces for a bishop this evening... will be sewing and pleating tomorrow.

You are now officially on a slippery downhill slope right into smocking obsession:-)

Have fun!

For those of you who live in the Chicago area and can't afford a pleater, you can *rent* one at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston.

I took a smock class and loved it, but never could think of anything to make...nothing but boys here...can you design a smocked piece please for a corgi? Fifi would love one...a smocked sweater perhaps?!

Oh please share what a pleater is! I cannot keep up with you lady, but I'm having fun trying :)

I am excited to see this pleater. I've never seen one. Smocking always looks so cool, but I never take the time to try it. I probably should. Don't we ALL have an inner doofus? I do.

Love what you've done so far, the material is so pretty.

Can't wait to see the next step.

Oh it looks wonderful so far! And the fabric is just gorgeous!

BTW--as far as a good bread recipe, I would recommend the recipe in Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking. Please oh please tell me you've read it? It's wonderful wonderful!

Hmmm... Perhaps I'll make some myself this weekend!

Take care!

- Leslie

I love my pleater and smocking for my girls. It's so much fun and the possibilities are endless! I can't wait to see your completed bishop!

I love that material!! I'm sure it's going to look even more amazing when you are finished with it!

That looks amazing you and your pleater are very clever.

I've been wanting to buy some blocking tools. What kind of board did you go for? Let us know if you like it and if the grid is more important to you than compact storage and potential of increased size of board with the square blocking tiles that fit together.
I've also wanted to try smocking. Would love to hear more about the actual process. Is it hard? How does the pleater work?

Ohhhh I have had a pleater since my last baby - 25 years! and it is a long time since I have used it. It was made in South Africa, and this was the time when people weren't trading with South AFrica - and so I have never gor replacement needles. I must do so and get some somocking out - it is such incredible fun, and sooo beautiful
Well done

Oh - my - goodness - that is lovely pleating. I've never heard of a pleater, but I am extremely curious now.

I like your description of how you were so excited you couldn't stop to take pictures, lol.

Best Wishes

Oh that looks fabulous, beautiful fabric and it's great to feel your excitement :)

I love your smocking, my mother adores it and made my daughter lots of little tiny dress when she was young.

Can I have your pleater when you have finished with it? I've never heard of one before but I'm loving it's work. And yours. Good stuff xo

First of all, I love the choice of fabric. Congratulations on having your own pleater. Happy Smocking!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at