Product Education

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles

March 18, 2016

Learn how to use a thimble & understand the different styles that are available.

Thimbles! Do you need some tips for using them? Did you know there were so many different styles and sizes available? When you’re hand sewing, using a thimble is the only way to go. It’s an important tool that can make your hand sewing experience better than ever. Ready to talk about thimbles?

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles What is a thimble?

A thimble is a “pushing tool” worn on the fingertip during hand sewing. They come in a variety of materials from traditional metal to leather, plus soft, conforming plastics. The dimples and grooves on a thimble catch the needle eye and keep it from slipping.

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles Why should you use a thimble?

A thimble protects the finger from the eye end of the needle. Pushing a needle through thick layers of fabric is much easier with a thimble. Pulling a needle through fabric layers can be very tiring on your thumb and index finger. Using a thimble is more comfortable and relieves the extra strain on your fingers.

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles How do you pick the right size?

A thimble should stay comfortably on your finger. Hang your hand at your side. If the thimble does not fall off, it is a good fit. It also should not be too tight and squeeze your fingertip. It is possible you may need 2 different sizes of thimbles depending on the season. Fingers may swell a little in different temperatures and while sewing.

(Like many Dritz® thimbles, the soft comfort thimble shown is available in three sizes: small, medium and large.)

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles How do you use a thimble?

A thimble is traditionally worn on the middle finger of your sewing hand. If you find that you naturally want to push the needle with your index finger, go ahead and make the switch. You want to work in a manner that is most comfortable for you.

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles The needle eye is pushed through fabric layers with the sides or top of the thimble. Traditional tailors keep their middle finger bent and push the needle with the side of the thimble. Quilters and the general sewist use to the top of the thimble to push the needle through the fabric. Give yourself some time as you practice. Like learning any new skill, it will take some time for it to become second nature.

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles If you have found traditional metal thimbles to be stiff and hard to keep on your finger, you will love the new Dritz® soft comfort thimble. The soft plastic conforms to your finger for a very comfortable fit and air vents around the thimble provide circulation to help reduce sweating. The shape of the thimble is more like a real finger – flatter on one side and rounded on the other. Its texture helps to keep the thimble securely on your finger. The deep dimples hold the needle and prevent it from slipping off the thimble. This is sure to be your most comfy thimble ever!

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles The Dritz® slip-stop thimble is conventional in style but far from it in function. The safety ridge on top of the thimble keeps the needle from sliding off the top of the thimble. It is available in the most sizes – petite to extra-large.

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles The Dritz ® soft thimble is made from puncture resistant yet flexible material. This provides a better fit and comfort. It’s available in three sizes.

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles There are two Dritz® thimbles that will accommodate a long fingernail. Both are adjustable. The fingertip thimble is metal and adjusts by opening or squeezing the metal tabs. The adjustable thimble is plastic and is fine-tuned by dipping in hot water and then fitting on finger.

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles Many quilters prefer a leather thimble. Ours fits all sizes and has side vents to allow the finger to “breathe.” It is worn with the elastic on the top of the finger. Like any leather piece, the more you use it, the more it will soften and conform to your hand.

Sewing Basics: All About Thimbles The Thumble® is designed for quilters. It is worn on the thumb with the dimple side down. The needle slides into the groove and then rests on the dimple. The pushing power of the thumb is used to push a needle through multiple layers of fabric and batting.

We hope you found this information helpful, and that you now know a bit more about thimbles for sewing and quilting! Do you have a favorite Dritz® thimble?


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