Let’s talk thimbles

I’m a thimble whore.  I admit it.  I think I own every kind of thimble that exists on the market.  This picture doesn’t include all of them, either.  There are two more that I have around somewhere and just can’t find.


It’s ridiculous, really, how many thimbles I have, but I kept trying to find one that fit me comfortably.


The round ones didn’t fit very well.  I don’t know about you, but my fingers are not perfectly round, and they don’t taper at the end.  I’m more of a stubby-fingered girl.


That white plastic one was the most comfortable of this bunch, but it was too big and I couldn’t feel anything through it, which made using it difficult.  Also, anything made of plastic ended up kind of sweaty and slimy.  The metal ones were okay, but I wanted something softer.


I never bothered trying to sew with those red things tied with the silly green dental floss.  I put one on and immediately disliked it.  The huge white thimble at the top looked promising, it is soft leather and has elastic over the top, so it is supposedly adjustable.  But the stitching was so tight I couldn’t get my finger inside, and I realized that the seams would end up right where my needle hits my finger.

I ended up using the black leather thimbles for a long time.  They’re soft enough that I can feel what I’m doing, and still protect me from getting stabbed.  They’re leather, so they shrink and expand, which is nice because when it’s hot, I get puffy.  However, the problem I ended up having with them was the same problem I have with most thimbles – they’re designed to push the needle from the tip of the finger, and I push with the side of my finger.

Now, this is the point where the Quilt Police will pipe up and tell me I’m doing it all wrong, and I have three words for them:  I DON’T CARE.  I’m perfectly comfortable with my technique.  Except for the fact that I can’t find a thimble I like, of course.  I hand-sew applique and bindings; I don’t hand quilt.  I’m very happy with my stitches, so I’m changing nuthin’.

The major problem with the black thimbles is that there are seams that run down the side of the thimble, and my needle was always getting stuck in the seam.

Until now, that is.  I finally found the perfect thimble.


I saw this in a magazine and immediately started haunting all of my local quilt shops for it, and finally found it at Fabric Depot (insert the sound of singing angels here).  Fabric Depot in Portland, Oregon is the Mother Lode.  It’s not really a quilt “shop”, it’s more like a fabric warehouse.  If you ever have the chance to go, plan on spending at least 3 hours, lots of money, and wear comfy shoes. If you bring your husband, there is a table, chairs, and tv conveniently located at the front of the store, or he can sit and nap in the car along with half a dozen other husbands out in the parking lot.  Bring a deck of cards, maybe they’ll get a game of poker going!

There’s a sizing hole in the package, but Clover doesn’t staple or glue the packaging, so if no one’s looking, you can actually slip that puppy out and try it on.  I fell in love.


It fits perfectly, the seams are on the TOP of my finger, it’s soft and doesn’t make my finger slimy.

What kind of thimble do you use?  What do you like/dislike about it?  Inquiring minds want to know!


P.S.  This is not a paid review, Clover has no idea who I am.  However, if they would like to pay me in spare thimbles, I’m up for it!

That’s quite the collection you’ve got there, girlfriend! I’ve seen some absolutely beautiful thimbles that are almost too pretty to even think about putting on my finger! I’m in the 1% who don’t use thimbles. I’ve tried several different kinds, the best of which was the same huge white leather thimble you show in your picture of leather thimbles. I just can’t get past that “band-aid” feel of thimbles. My finger feels huge in one!  I do use “Thimble It” self-stick thimble pads, which are flexible, oval plastic dots that sticks to a corner of my finger. They stick like crazy. I can even wash my hands while wearing one, and once found one still stuck to my finger – the next morning! – because they’re so unobtrusive. I forgot I had it on when I went to bed! One sticky pad will normally last long enough to bind two or three quilts.


37 thoughts on “Let’s talk thimbles

  1. I’m like you…still on the hunt for a thimble I like. I have one left over from 8th grade home ec class that I like really well. I tried a leather one, but it wouldn’t stay on my finger. Not a good feature. Recently, I inherited a few from my grandmother. They are old and tarnished. I don’t know what they’re made from. I think thimbles are like shoes and each person needs a custom fit.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thimble adventure. I too have been looking for a different thimble to use. I only use it for binding and applique and my needle hits the side of the thimble instead of the top. My favorite has been the black leather ones you have shown, but I tend to wear through them. I am going to try the Clover one you mention. I’ll have to see if anyone around here carries it…I doubt that my DH would consider a road trip to Oregon for one (we live in Wisconsin).

    Laurie, if you can’t find the Clover thimble anywhere near you, Fabric Depot has them available on their website, or you can call their 800 number and receive fantastic customer service. They even have the diameter measurements listed: http://fabricdepot.com/index.php?page=ProductPage&pageid=135043. Good luck! – Peggi

  3. I like a Clover thimble, too, but I like the one that’s a synthetic. It grips the needle if I need help getting it through the quilt layers. I thought it might be sweaty, but it’s actually not, it fits well and is quite comfy. I do wish it had more dimples on the sides of the metal top, though. I found mine at Fabric Depot, too.

  4. I use the ”Nimble Thimble” (the black leather one you posted about), and I like them OK, but they always fall off my finger. I have also used the stick-on ones that Cindi mentioned, but I end up poking holes in those ones. I do like them though (until I poke a hole in one!). I also have tried the leather ‘dots’ that stick on – those are pretty good, but I seem to have lost mine. The sticky on those tends to ‘slide’ though. I am going to be on the lookout for your new favorite though – looks like it would work well for me too!

  5. I have used the small black leather thimbles that you liked for years. The problem that I have with them is that over time, the metal eye end of the needle wears through the leather where the metal disk is … and then the needle hits my finger! Ouch. To extend the life of the thimble, I’ve resewn the seam when it has come apart, but eventually I am forced to buy a new one.

    But recently, I have found something that works rather nicely for me … sticky leather dots. I don’t have the package handy so I don’t know what the name is but they are small dots of leather with a re-useable sticky stuff on the reverse side. You stick the dot on your finger, whereever you need it. When you’re done, you remove it for later use. (I keep my sticky dots on the outside of a ceramic coffee mug that holds pencils & stuff.) The sticky dot protects just the area where the needle hits my finger. My finger never gets hot or sweaty because it’s not covered up. Love these little devils! Heh .. I need to find out what they are called so I can look for them! 🙂

    • I think you are referring to the Colonial leather thimbles. A friend shared one with me and I wore it to dinner it was so comfy. Now I can’t find it.. lol. Time to buy my own package.

    • Has anyone ever tried the Dr. Scholl’s bunion pads on the left hand finger, to keep from being poked? I just thought of that, and I think I am going to try it and see if it helps. I poke my fingers all the time and boy, does it hurt!

  6. Hi,
    I know what you mean about thimbles! I have tried many different kinds, and always liked the leather thimbles because they fit and I can push the needle from the side of my finger. And it was important that I thought I could “feel” what I was doing. The problem with that is they always eventually wear out. About 10 years ago I bought a Roxanne thimble. At the time they were around $40. There are different sizes and you buy the one that fits your finger. They have deep dimples so the needle doesn’t slip. It is the first metal thimble that I have ever been able to sew with. Now it is the only one that I use. For a ‘big birthday’, I bought myself a sterling silver Roxanne. I guess when you add up the amount of money spent replacing worn out leather thimbles, the amount spent on my thimble wasn’t so bad. Still looks brand new.

  7. Like both of you, I have tried them all. Because I have longer nails, I can’t wear the enclosed ones like the one you like Peggy. For whatever reason I don’t care for Thimble It because I push with the tip of my finger and I can get them to go around the tip of my finger. NOTHING works for me!!! I just keep looking!!!

    • I’m on here because the other day in was walking and looked down and found what is think is a thimble on the sides and the tip and back this thimble has really nice indents and on the side by your finger nail it open with a oval hole. I’m was just thinking this would be a thimble for someone with long finger nails

  8. For years I tried to use the metal thimbles that came in a package of 3–nested together. None of them really fit. Then I joined the 20th century and decided to buy a leather one, like the white one you have with the elastic on one side. It fits on my finger just fine, however, since it covers most of my finger, it feels too bulky and I end up using the finger beside the thimbled one to push the needle! I don’t use a thimble anymore. Actually I need the thimble on the receiving side because I keep sewing my skin to my projects! Hope that doesn’t embarrass you, honey! Guess it is time to move into the 21st century and give your new one a try!

    • One thing that I have done is pushing the needle through the fabric, using my thumbnail, on the bed of the nail, not the tip. It works pretty well, and doesn’t seem to damage my nail, either.

  9. Years ago I finally broke down at a Spirit of Cross Stitch Festival and bought myself a sterling silver one with a lip on the top that fits me like a glove. It is the only thimble I ever use and I always know where it is. I have since bought a few antique ones on e-bay that fit ok, but am saving them for when this one wears out. I bought it from Anne Powell & I don’t think she is in business anymore. 🙁
    I can’t hold a needle anymore without a thimble on-just feels too weird-even have to wear it when threading a needle. 😉

  10. Wow, I feel bad because I have not been using a thimble. I go bare. However, I do poke myself now and again. My thumb nail has taken a beating lately.

  11. Thanks for this post. I am new to quilting and have had trouble finding a thimble that works for me. I’ve tried several of the ones you have pictured and didn’t like any of them.

    I completely agree with you on the metal thimbles. They are just not comfortable.

    I also tried the the huge leather thimble but the seams running down the side gets in the way.

    I’ve tried the sticky dots that you place where you need them but didn’t give any control at all.

    The one I’m currently using and seems to be working the best for me is rubber with a metal tip.

    I’m plan to try the one you are suggesting. I’ll let you know how it works out.

  12. I use my grandmother’s metal thimble. I guard it with my life!!! It has ovaled from years of use and fits me perfectly. I couldn’t use anything else. Plus I think of her every time I out it on, she passed away almost 25 years ago.

  13. I went through the same problems… and the singing angels came for me too when I found the leather thimble. I cross-stitch, so the thimbles don’t wear out so quickly… but still necessary because my fingers are so delicate and hate the pressure of needles (even pens leave calluses).

    It’s a real relief to find a thimble like this, that fits comfortably and is lightweight too.

  14. I am addicted to a certain leather thimble that I can’t find at the store or online. You have one! It is in the third photo above, brown leather with brass end. Do you know where I can purchase these? Can I buy yours?

  15. I have had one of the black leather thimbles and have used it on four quilts. I am in love with it but it is wearing out. I have tried to find a replacement for it and can’t find one anywhere. All I can find are the black leather ones with a slit on the top for your nail (Nimble). It looks like you have a few leather thimbles without a slit on top. Do you remember what they are called?

    • Hi Leigh,
      I’m not sure which leather thimbles you’re talking about. The black ones I have are all Nimble Thimbles. The only other leather thimble I have is the brown Clover, which I’m still using 3 years later. And I still love it.
      Does that answer your question?

      • I thought the ones in your photo had a closed top so I was excited. I don’t like the Nimble Thimbles because I feel like I am going to jam the needle under my fingernail. I think I’m going to have to give the clover one a try. Thanks for your reply!

        • Your technique must be different than mine. I push the needle with the side of my finger. I wonder if you could glue the top shut? I glued the seams on the Nimble Thimble shut more than once; the needle would sometimes poke through on the side. Glue put a stop to that. But I still like the Clover leather thimble best. 😀

  16. I am a hand quilter who happens to be a side pusher. Like you, I have a hard time finding a thimble that will work for me. I’ve been using the Nimble Thimbles (for many of the same reasons that you do), but after a time, the end of the needle has worn thin the spot where I push so I end up getting poked with the needle. I’ve taken to putting a little ThimbleIt in the spot where I’m getting poked which helps. But I’d really like to find something better. There just are not many LQS around here that carry much in the way of handwork supplies, so I guess I’m going to have to order a thimble in every size and then return the ones that don’t fit. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Oh, and I just did a search and amazon.com carries those Clover Natural Fit Leather Thimbles in small, medium and large. May I ask what size Nimble Thimble do you wear? Perhaps that will help me narrow down my size since I’ll be shopping online.

      • Hi Kathy,
        I have large hands, so I purchased the large Clover thimble. I can’t remember what size Nimble Thimble I used, I want to say it was a large, also. Hope this helps!

  17. I am 84 years old, and I tried all the types of thimbles given, to no avail. I finally found what is really like a regular, old-fashioned thimble with a strip of metal soldered around the top. It is perfect for piecing or hand-quilting because that strip stops the needle and gives a force to the tip of the needle going through even thick fabrics. there is a kind with a solid brass top with a ridge, but the ridge is not deep enough to be useful.
    My daughter is just starting to hand-piece and quilt, and I just sent her all my unused or rejected thimbles. I will now send her this web-site, so if anyone sees the thimble I have described on sale anywhere, if you send a comment here, she or I can see it.


      • I found it on Create for Less website and have ordered one. It is described as Colonial raised edge thimble in case anyone else is looking for it!

        Thanks again.

  18. haven’t found one and the metal ones make my finger sweaty. 🙁 I have used a very thick bandage- [after I jabbed my finger] that worked somewhat. 🙂

  19. I use needles the same way you do… with the side if my finger, not the pad or top. I haven’t tried as many as you, but the thimbles I have tried just don’t work.
    Thank you for the recommendation, I will have to get one of the Clower leather ones.
    Thanks again,

  20. I am also thimble hunting. I’ve got a black soft leather one with a metal insert and a slit for my finger nails that I love but it has worn out. I can find it in one store but not in my size. I haven’t small fingers so a lot of thimbles don’t fit. If you have one or know where I can get it please let me know.

    • Hi Linda,
      I’m sorry, I haven’t seen a thimble like the one you’re describing in my area. Your best bet is probably Amazon.com, or maybe some of the online retailers such as Fabricdepot.com, Keepsake Quilting, Missouri Star Quilt Co., Stitchin’ Heaven, etc.
      Hope this helps,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *