I got a Read pleater last August at a garage sale and it has been sitting in a box since then because there were no needles. Pleater needles are not the cheapest items around so I kept putting off buying them. Then, one of the prizes for the IRCC (did I ever actually mention I won?) was a pleated and smocked camicia that I really, really, really wanted. As it was pre-made I knew that there was no way it would possibly fit me as I am most definitely not a one-size-fits-most sort of person. It did inspire me to want to make my own, however. The prize I received as part of the IRCC was a chunk of money meant to purchase fabric donated by Lorna at The Tailor's Apprentice. I wasn't sure what fabric I wanted right now as I have the fabric for my next few projects already, but Lorna was kind enough to tell me to buy "whatever makes your heart sing." The only stipulation was that it not go for bills. I decided pleater needles and a new fluffy smocked camicia would be fun so I went for it. The rest of the money went to buying a melting pot for pewter so I can improve my casting of dress accessories, and some threads to start embroidering some drawers. All in all, I'm over the moon about my prize.
I have to laugh a little, however, because the money was sent in Australian dollars, converted to US, and then became Australian again since that's where I had to order from. They got here very quickly and the packaging was lovely, with some enclosed English steel handsewing needles in a variety of sizes as an extra.
They arrived this afternoon and I spent about an hour hunting for good pictures to explain how to change needles. Then I put them in, threaded the thing up and held my breath. IT WORKED! I've got a random piece of linen in beautiful pleats now. When my husband saw it he immediately put in a request for pleated cuffs on a new shirt. Since the man never wants garb, as he rarely goes to events, I guess my next project is a smocked shirt.