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Techniques: How to use a Pleater Board

Pleater boards have made pleating possible again! Anyone that's ever stood over an ironing boardwith: a hot iron, pins, measuring tapes, markers, and vinegar will appeciate the ease and simplicity pleater boards havebrought to our lives.

The steps shown below are for a straight pleater board, but the technique is identical for a fan-shaped pleater board.

The New Victoria Pleater


A Bit of History

The New Victoria Pleater, Eaton & Eaton, Monroe, Wisconsin. Patented in 1904. $2.00 to purchase. It's metal with scored slats that you pushed your fabric through then ironed. Size appeared to be 18" x 8".

We found this at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, while looking at the old sewing machines, sewing implements, and other assorted household goods. Metal - think how hot it must have gotten! Gave us a real appreciation for our modern sewing machines and microwaves!

Step One

  1. Place the board with the slats opening away from you.
  2. Note: you'll test different fabric angles to see what you like best with the right side of the fabric up - but you'll actually make your pleats with the wrong side of the fabric up.

Step Two

  1. Gently but firmly push your fabric into the first open slat on the pleater board.
  2. Be careful not to stretch your fabric - that will distort the pleats.
  3. Work your way from the center of the slat to the outside edges with the fabric.
Using a pleater board step 1 Using a pleater board step 2

Step Three

  1. To be certain that you've got your fabric all the way into the slat, use a flat edge or ruler to help push the fabric in.
  2. You may also use an old credit card (you'll destroy the magnetic strip on the card, so don't use a good one).
  3. Do this every time you've filled two or three slats, and continue until the board is full.

Step Four

  1. For permanent pleats, fuse a thin fusible stabilizer such as fusible tricot to the pleats while in the pleater board.
  2. Press the pleats while in the pleater board. If you are not using fusible tricot, you can use steam on them.
  3. Please Note: the fabric is normally pleated WRONG SIDE UP - the illustrations show regular side up as it was a better visual.
Using a pleater board step 3 Using a pleater board step 4

Step Five

  1. Once the fabric/fusible has completely cooled, gently "pop" the pleated fabric out of the board by bending the board in an arc.
  2. Your pleated fabric is now ready to use as is, or have a pattern piece traced onto it.


Using a pleater board step 5
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