If you are a sewing or quilting enthusiast, chances are you already know what a thimble is. But if you are a beginner or have never used this little accessory, this blog is for you.
So, what is a thimble?
A thimble may be defined as a fingertip covering in the shape of a cap that is made of metal and worn to protect the finger when you push the needle through the fabric. Although traditional sewing thimbles were made exclusively of metal, today you can also pick from a wider variety of materials, including rubber and leather.
Thimbles can be used for any task that requires hand workmanship but they are most popularly used in sewing and quilting. They can also be decorative, collectible items.
Types of Thimbles
Although there are several types of thimbles, such as sewing thimbles and hand quilting thimbles, they can be divided into two categories:
A closed top thimble, as the name suggests, has a flat or dome covering and covers the entire top portion of your finger.
An open nail thimble, unlike the closed top, has a shorter dome covering, allowing the fingernail to push through the opening. You can slip it on your finger and move it around until it is snug, much like a ring. This type of thimble is especially beneficial for those with long nails as it keeps the nail of the finger exposed.
Thimbles are available in various sizes, shapes and styles. Because of the soft finger tip and variety of knuckle bone shapes, you may need to try on a few before you find the right fit.
Reasons To Buy and Use a Traditional Sewing Thimble
Thimbles are a widely used sewing and quilting notion, especially among those who like to sew or quilt by hand. Here are some of the reasons why you should use them, too:
Protect your fingers
Allow you more control
Prevent finger cramps
This is perhaps the most important reason you should wear a thimble. You can use a metal thimble to push the needle into even the toughest and most slippery fabrics without worrying about it pricking your finger or injuring you in any other way.
As a beginner, you might feel awkward having a covering on your finger. But once you get used to it, you will realize that the solid part of your finger allows more precision and control in your sewing.
When you sew for a long time, it can be tiring on your fingers. With a thimble to push and control for you, you can prevent that stress as well as finger cramps and muscle problems like carpel tunnel.
Another reason why you should buy a thimble is that they are considered collectibles. Antique and precious metal (and gemstone) thimbles, with unique designs and rich history, are a rarity, which makes them a prized possession among collectors.
Which Finger Should You Wear a Thimble On?
Most people sew with their dominant hand. So, if you hold the needle with your right hand, you should wear the thimble on your right hand, on the finger you use to push the needle through. If you are left-handed, wear it on your left hand. The thimble is most commonly worn on the ring finger or middle finger but some also wear it on their thumb. If you alternate between fingers to push the needle, you can choose to wear two thimbles. Although some prefer to wear gloves, thimbles are a better and more convenient choice because they do not restrict the movement of your fingers.
How Should a Thimble Fit?
Ideally, a thimble shouldn’t be too loose or constricting on your finger. It should fit comfortably, with the top of the thimble resting gently on the tip of your finger. As you try on thimbles look for one that settles solidly on the top of the finger. It should also be tight enough that it does not fall off when dangled.
How To Use a Thimble?
- Wear the thimble on your ring or middle finger.
- Hold the needle between your thumb and index finger.
- As you sew, use the finger with the thimble to push the needle through the fabric.
- Depending on what you are comfortable with, you can push using the top of your finger or the side.
If you have never used a thimble before, it may initially feel slightly unusual on your finger. But as you continue to use it in your sewing or quilting projects, you will get more used to it and the comfort and convenience it offers.
If you wish to explore the art of hand sewing or quilting, a thimble is a must-have in your arsenal. Check out our online store to discover a wide assortment of traditional sewing thimbles. We also offer hand quilting thimbles in various designs.