Thursday, February 18, 2010


I have a 24 needle Amanda-Jane pleater that I've had for years. I think I paid about $60 for it!! I must have gotten it on sale, because these things cost lots more than that now! Anyway, mine keeps breaking needles. I blamed it, the first time, on the fabric that I was trying to pleat; it was a little heavier than fabric that is usually pleated. I changed out all of my needles and tried to pleat a very light weight, thin cotton fabric; it happened again. So, I ordered all new needles and changed them again. When I tried the light weight, thin cotton my needles started breaking again. Not only that, but sometimes it will skip a stitch and make a pucker instead of a pleat. I thought perhaps some tiny fibers were clogging up the bars someway or other. I scrubbed them with a toothbrush, but that didn't work either. If I just have the needles in with no fabric the bars seem to turn just fine. Do I need to buy a certain brand of needles? Help me, please!!! It is my plan to make two bishop style Easter dresses. One is a stripe and would be fairly easy to hand pleat, but give me a break, that would take hours, or maybe days!! I just hand pleated the belt for Jenna's and if you go back one post, you'll see that it didn't work so well. I wasn't able to smock it. I even used the holes that were made when I ran it through the pleater, but I ended up with pretty gathers, not pleats. It went almost all the way through before the needles started breaking. The other is a solid, and short of buying and ironing on pleating dots, I don't think I could pleat it by hand.
Why is it that when I see photos of things I've made, I see mistakes that I didn't see before. The belt looks wanky. I'll have to go see if it really does, or if it's just this photo.
I decided that I need to put a little bit of a crinoline slip under this dress. It looks like it wants to stand out a little. I have even given thought to doing a scalloped hem with piping inserted. That would be pretty. Do I have time?


Sara said...

I wish I could offer a solution but it seems you have done everything I would have thought of. Are you absolutely sure you have the correct brand of needles for your model of pleater? That is the only thing I can come up with. Laurie might know of a solution for you.

Martha said...

First I would take the rod out that you remove to change needles and roll it on a flat table top. You are checking to see if it is bent. Then it may need to be taken apart and cleaned.You can get thread bits and buildup in between the rods that you don't see. And sadly they do wear out. Overtime running the fabric through the same end all the time, over time will wear the rods down and they will not turn smoothly. If that is the case, your only choice is to replace it.

Crazy Mom Tats! said...

found this

Rachel said...

I am not sure why your needles are breaking, but I have heard that if you run some wax paper through the pleater (just pleat some wax paper), it will leave behind some residue which will make the needles smoother and the fabric go through better.

Cheryl said...

I wish I knew about pleaters, but I don't. Maybe you can do some searching for forums about smocking? It's just a thought.

The ribbon bodice on that dress is drop dead gorgeous!

Faye Lewis said...

Wish I could help.

Cindy said...

OK, where the heck have I been all these years and how come this is the first time I've ever seen one of these things? Now I feel really stupid. Is this how you do such beautiful smocking every time? I need to know more about this... need to do research because I don't like that I've been sewing for 35 years and never knew about this machine before. (which is why I waited a few days before I commented on this post..I don't want anyone knowing about my lack of knowledge LOL)

I am so happy you did get it working. I just know you love sewing Easter dresses for the girls. You do such beautiful work.

Have a great weekend my friend!

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