Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Changing a needle on your pleater.

The post is being written for Kelly, who is having trouble changing a needle on her pleater.

I decided to share all the pictures I was taking for her because if she was having a problem then maybe someone else was also.

I am using a Salley Stanley pleater so there may be some slight differences with your pleater.

  • The first step is to tilt the front of your pleater backwards. You can use a book or as shown here, a spool of thread.

  • Next you will need to loosen the screws and turn the tab that holds the front bar. You do not need to remove the screws. If your pleater has pins then you can just remove the pins and place them somewhere where you can remember.

  • Next remove the front bar.

  • Your pleater is still tilted . If not your needles will all fall out. Been there done that. Don't want to do it again! :-)

  • This is what the pleater looks like with out the front bar.

  • Another close up.

  • To remove the needle, hold the pleater needle by the end and lift up and out. If you are removing a broken needle you will need to find the broken tip of the needle and remove it also.

  • Note the direction of the curve of the pleater needle.

  • You must use a pleater needle that has been designed for your brand of pleater.

  • While holding the end of the pleater needle, place the tip of the needle into the needle grove. Do not push or use force. Then lay the pleater needle down into the needle grove.

  • Repeat the process until you have place all your pleater needle where you want them to be.

  • After you are done, place the top roller bar back on. Check to see you have it going the right direction. The bar should roll back into place.

  • Tighten the screws or replace the pin. Double check that everything moves freely by turning the wheel of your pleater. You should be able to turn the wheel with one finger.

    You can also find information on customizing your pleater under the archives.



  1. I had to replace one of the needles on my pleater just last night. What happened to me, though, is after I had started pleating my fabric one needle broke. So, I had to take all of the needles out of the pleater, remove the fabric, replace all of the needles, and start over again. Fortunately when I pressed my fabric I could barely see the needle holes and I could repleat the same piece. I'm working on back smocking it now.

  2. You can change a needle in mid-pleat. I have done it a bunch of times as my old pleater was quite tempermental (to put it mildly). Do the tilting that Janet talks about (VERY important), take out the bar, carefully work out the one broken needle (make sure you get all the pieces), thread the new needle with the thread you just pulled out of the old needle, put it in your pleater, replace your bar, untilt your pleater, and start pleating again. You may miss a pleat or two but the pleats all around it will usually let you pleat that spot with your finger when you are smocking. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. I really, really hate threading needles and will do almost anything to avoid having to start over!

  3. Thank you so much for these pictures - I have just received a second hand pleater I bought off ebay and I had no idea how to put the needles in - you saved the day, thank you again, Gail in Manchester UK

  4. Hi - Also add my thanks for your blog and instructions. I too bought a pleater from eBay and the seller very helpfully removed the needles. The directions that came with the pleater were not very explicit. Thanks so much for your help.

  5. HI.. the pics were very helpfull.... Thank you very much.. i will start my first smocking project... Roox.. tsawwassen BC. Canada..

  6. Thank you for the hint to tilt the front of the pleater backwards. I can't tell you how many times I have had all the needles drop out over the years.