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Friday, February 21, 2014

Adventures in Smocking—Part 1

  My adventures in smocking began three years ago, shortly after I married. I’d always  been interested learning to smock, and as a newlywed stay at home wife, I had time to learn it.

I started with a Vogue pattern and was quickly overwhelmed. The pattern had smocking dots included with it. You know, the kind you iron on and then use to pleat by hand? It took so long to pleat by hand and the pleats weren’t as perfect as I wanted them to be, it almost caused me to give up on the whole deal.

Nevertheless, I persevered and finished my first smocked dress. I’m almost ashamed that I actually sold it to someone, my first attempt at smocking was so pitiful.

  I said something about my hand-pleating woes on Facebook shortly thereafter and a lady in our church quickly sent me a message and said that she had a pleater that I could borrow until she had grandchildren.  Her pleater completely changed everything! It took only minutes to pleat what had taken days before to pleat by hand. I very quickly fell in love with smocking and have been obsessed ever since.

Now, three years and lots of smocked dresses and a baby girl of my own later, Sis. Bev’s first grandchild (a baby girl) is almost here. I’ll admit, I nearly had a meltdown thinking about not having a pleater. (I am a touch on the dramatic side.)

I had bought a pleater off of EBay several months prior, but it was a 16 row Read, and I had learned how to pleat on a 24/32 row Amanda Jane—the Mercedes of smocking pleaters. My husband said it looked like a baby pleater. It just didn’t work out for me. The rollers were hard to turn and the pleats were messy no matter what I did. I was very disappointed in it.

I paid $110 for the Read pleater and the cheapest I could find an Amanda Jane was for $280. I was just going to have to save up to by an Amanda Jane and live without smocking for a while.

I listed my Read pleater on Ebay for the same amount I purchased it, and it sold within two days. Thus started my pleater fund and my asking the Lord to help me find the right pleater at the right price.

A few days later, I saw a Sally Stanley pleater listed for $115. It had very little information in the listing but appeared to be just like the AJ that I was borrowing. I tried to look up reviews online about Sally Stanley pleaters, but found next to nothing, other than that they were no longer made.

I decided to take a gamble on it. I knew that I could always sell it if it wasn’t what I wanted. I would only be out a few dollars.

It arrived a few days later and when I opened the box I wanted to sing and dance. It was EXACLTY what I wanted. I could have cried, I was so happy. It was even heavier than Sis. Bev’s AJ. I couldn’t believe what a bargain I’d found. Obviously the person who sold it had no idea at all about what they had.

It truly was the Lord Who let everything fall into place. He really does care about the little things in His children’s lives, even non-essential things like smocking pleaters.

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