Can’t put your finger on which type of thimble to use? To be honest, I always hated thimbles and couldn’t get on with any of the styles I tried, despite how much not using one hurt my finger. Then I found one type that really stuck for me!
Read on to find out all about my favourite type of thimble, why I like it and when I use it.
My favourite type of thimble and why…
My biggest issue with thimbles was that I found them too big (even the small sized ones!) and they felt bulky and cumbersome. I really like to feel things when I sew and having metal or plastic covering the end of my finger felt too clunky to move and handle. So when I found Colonial ThimblePads I knew I’d be on to a winner as they didn’t cover the whole of my finger tip…not even close! I started with a selection of styles of these little stick-on dots to test out the different options; the ThimblePack Plus comes with two metal options that stick to your finger, the suede leather ThimblePads and longer plastic Thimble-Its. My favourite are the suede-leather ThimblePads as I find them the most comfortable to wear and they last surprisingly well. All the options are so small you hardly feel them on your finger and they don’t restrict any movement or needle control, or the “feel” of your project.
When to use a thimble…
Thimbles can be used for lots of different hand sewing tasks. They protect the tip of your finger from the repetitive pressure of the needle end and can also help to provide a firmer surface for pushing a needle through thicker fabric.
- Hand quilting
A thimble will help with the pressure on your finger if you are doing a lot of hand quilting, but it will also help if you need to sew some hand quilting stitches through the bulk of several seams. And some quilters find it useful to also have a thimble on a finger on the hand under your quilt; one of the metal stick-on thimbles is perfect for this job as when your needle goes down through the quilt to the back it will hit the thimble (not your finger!) and the thimble will also help the needle to rock upwards to come back up through to the quilt top again.
- Quilt binding
I love hand sewing the binding to the back of a quilt (it’s actually one of my favourite parts of the quilt-making process) but there’s a lot of hand stitching that goes round a whole quilt and that can become hard work on your finger tips. I don’t always use a thimble when I’m hand sewing a quilt binding but if I’m doing a lot of the work in one go then I’d probably need to use one part way through the task to save my finger!
- English paper piecing
One of the ultimate hand sewing techniques. EPP is a fabulous, slow sewing task but it involves a lot of hand sewing and that can take its toll on your fingers.
- Hand sewing thick fabric
I can’t be the only one who has stabbed their finger tip with the blunt end of a needle when trying to push through thick fabric…at least I hope I’m not! Some fabrics like canvas or twill can be much tougher to get a hand sewing needle through, especially if you’re using the soft surface of your finger as the main pressure point. Using a thimble will not only protect your finger, but will also make it easier to get the needle through thick fabric.
Like a lot of sewing tools, the type of thimble that suits you and your sewing needs is very much down to personal preference. But for some hand sewing tasks, I do think they are a useful tool to have in your sewing kit. And if, like me, you’ve never really got on with thimbles then I’d definitely recommending trying ThimblePads (or something similar) because they might just convert you to a thimble-lover.
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