What Is A Thimble Used for

Last Updated on 1 month by Sewingfeed


What Is a Thimble Used for

Are you wondering what is a thimble used for? When I teach my kids to hand sew, they are always hesitant about putting the needle through the fabric. They are worried about getting pricked. A thimble helps solve this problem. You can push the sewing needle through several layers of fabric without worrying about hurting your fingers.

In this post, we’ll find out what a thimble is for, the types of thimbles, and the history of a thimble. We’ll also talk more about how to use it properly.

What Is A Thimble?

What Is a Thimble Used for

A thimble is a device to protect your thumb when you’re pushing a needle with thread through the fabric. It’s made of metal (traditionally) and is worn on the end of the finger. Typically, it’s worn with the opening facing down, but some people prefer to wear it with the opening facing up. Thimbles are used for hand sewing only and not for machine sewing. Sealing with a thimble on your finger protects your fingertip from being poked by the needle.

Thimble Ring History

The thimble dates back to ancient times, but the earliest surviving specimens are from China. From China, the practice of using thimbles as we know them today spread westward, possibly in the mid-first millennium AD.  The first thimble made by a Dutch metal worker appeared in England around 1695. They were made from various materials, including wood, bone, horn, metal, and silver.


How Many Types Of Thimbles Are There?

There are two main types of thimbles, closed and open thimbles. The closed type has no opening in the end and must be fitted over the fingertip, while the open-end type has a band of metal placed at the finger’s base. Usually, dressmakers use thimbles with a closed top, but open-backed thimbles are preferred by tailors as these do not create a bulge when working on the inside of a garment.


Closed thimble

The closed thimble is made of metal, which is pretty sturdy and used for heavy-duty work. For example, a sewist with heavy materials such as denim would use this thimble.  It comes in different sizes, so it must be tried on to ensure that it fits appropriately; if too large, it will slip off easily, and if too small, it will pinch the skin.


What Is a Thimble Used for in sewing

Open-ended thimble

An open-ended thimble is made of leather or plastic, which makes it more flexible than a metal one. The open end allows air to circulate, which helps keep the finger cool while working and prevents sweat from building up. This type of thimble can be worn on top or underneath the finger, depending on personal preference, and also comes in different sizes.

What Is a Thimble Used for

What Is Thimble Used For?

As we mentioned earlier, the primary purpose of the thimble is to protect fingertips from being damaged by the needle while hand sewing, particularly when sewing thicker fabrics where you have to push harder on the needle when stitching. Sewing requires pushing the needle through thick fabrics, which can be painful without protection. Thimbles keep your fingers from getting sore while you sew, enabling you to work longer and faster before taking a break. They also give your fingertips extra strength so that needles don’t bend or break easily.


What Are Thimbles Made Of?

Thimbles are made from a variety of materials. Thimbles are made from metal, leather, rubber, glass, wood, or china.  Metal thimbles have a smooth indentation at the tip to assist in pushing the needle through the fabric.  Leather thimbles have a rough surface on the indentation to provide friction against the needle.  Rubber thimbles are more flexible than metal ones and are often worn on the middle finger of the non-dominant hand to push rather than guide the needle. 


What Finger Do You Wear A Thimble On?

Your thimble should fit snugly on the middle finger of your sewing hand. If you’re right-handed, it will go on the middle finger of your right hand; if you’re left-handed, it will go on the middle finger of your left hand. Fingertip thimbles are designed to be worn with the seam running down the center of your finger (the seam is what provides extra padding).  Measure your fingertip and choose a size that is slightly smaller than your measurement, to get a snug fit. Try a ring-style thimble if you can’t find a fingertip thimble that fits.


How To Use A Thimble?

If you’ve never used a thimble before, here are some tips for using one correctly: Start by experimenting with the thimble on your hand. Put the thimble on your sewing finger and then sew a few stitches. If you feel the thimble is in the way, put it on another finger.

If you are right-handed, put the thimble on your middle finger. If you are left-handed, put it on your index finger. When sewing, use the tip of your finger to push the needle through the fabric. Continue stitching as usual and make any adjustments to how high or low on your finger you want to wear the thimble.

Where To Buy Thimbles?

In stores: Check your local fabric or craft store to see if they carry them. If they do, it’s also likely they have an excellent selection of thimbles in different sizes, materials, and styles. Some of these stores even sell kits that come with a variety of thimbles. 

These would be our first recommendation because you can try on the thimbles before purchasing them to ensure you find the best fit for your hands and needs.

Online: You could also purchase them from Amazon or eBay, but remember that you might not get the best price or selection compared to buying them from a physical store.


Why Should You Wear A Thimble When Sewing?


A sewing thimble protects your finger from being pricked by the needle. It also provides a cushioning effect. This is especially useful when performing repetitive movements over a long period. But, of course, you can imagine this stress on your hand or fingers!


Push the needle through tough fabric

You’ll need a thimble if you are sewing with tricky fabrics like leather or denim. The tip of the thimble helps you push the needle through these materials and make it much easier for you to sew. Once you start using it, you will wonder how people were able to do without it in the past.


Guide the needle

Do you know why professional sewists and tailors always use a thimble? This is because they need to guide the needle through their fabric and can’t do so without this finger guard.


It protects your finger

The obvious benefit of using a sewing thimble is that you can sew without hurting your finger. This is especially important if you need to use several stitches. For example, imagine trying to make buttonholes with a needle jabbing into your finger.


It makes hand sewing easier

Sewing by hand with a needle and thread can be tricky and time-consuming, especially when making something intricate like a quilt or dress.  A thimble helps you hold the needle firmly and accurately so you can quickly stitch through multiple layers of fabric.


It prevents blisters on your finger

Even if you’re using a sewing machine and not sewing by hand, it’s easy to get blisters from pushing and pulling the fabric under the needle. In addition, the constant friction can cause sore spots on your fingers, which can turn into blisters if you don’t take care of them quickly enough.  The tip of your thimble is designed to have a flat surface that helps guide your needle easily with each stitch. This makes your sewing faster, more accurate, and pain-free. You may also be interested to know about common clothes problem.


It’s A Wrap!

Now, you’ve known what is a thimble used for! A thimble is not necessary for hand stitching, though it can be lovely. It protects your fingers against pricks from the needle. And help you push the needle through several layers of fabric. You may also want to read about does perfume stain clothes and how to remove printed tags from clothes.

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