Leather Sewing Thimbles - Buying Guide – Leah Nikolaou

Leather Sewing Thimbles - Buying Guide

The Leather Sewing Thimble: History, Types, Uses, Benefits & Buying Tips

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Thimble heirloom sewing collection

This is my grandmother’s thimble display box with a few of her old thimbles in. The idea of having something so hard and clunky on my finger whilst sewing has never really appealed.  I asocciate thimbles with hard rigid materials like most of these, made from metal, plastic, china or wood.  Perhaps I’ve also just never done the volume of hand sewing or embroidering to justify needing a thimble before.  That changed recently so I started to look at my option of thimbles.

Leather thimble arranged with traditional thimbles 

Different Types Of Thimbles

Vintage Timbles

Available in a huge range of materials and sizes. Generally less flexible and comfortable than thimblettes and leather thimbles, unless you are used to using them.

Rubber Thimblettes

Light and flexible, great for working with light aida cloths and fabrics.

Leather Thimbles

More robust for pushing the eye of a needle through trickier materials, like paper and light weight leather.

What I also love about the leather thimble option is that there are lots of leather thimble tutorials out there, if you fancy making your own.

Metal Tipped Thimbles

Metal tipped thimbles, great for stitching into card, leather or any other robust material to pierce. 

I read a LOT of reviews for sewing thimbles and decided to try a finger shaped leather thimble by Clover.  

How To Wear A Leather Thimble

I  learn't a lot when shopping for a leather thimble.  The first thing is to take into consideration is which finger you will wear it on.  I was getting a sore finger on the end of my middle finger on my right hand (I’m right handed) from pushing the eye end of the needle through the paper.  I do a lot of paper embroidery as that is my craft specialism. Thimbles are generally worn on the middle or index finger.  Depending on which finger you feel needs support, will determine the size you need.  My grandmother I know, used to use a thimble on her thumb, so it’s a matter of preference.

Lady demonstrating how to use a leather thimble

Leather Thimble Fitting

A leather thimble needs to be snug to wear whilst also comfortably allowing your finger to bend.  The leather sewing thimble I bought was a size small & fitted my middle finger comfortably.  I generally wear my nails quite long which sometimes makes me need a medium in gloves, but not with this thimble.  Despite being quite thick leather I had no issues with my finger getting too hot or sweaty, it isn’t really long enough to have that kind of impact.  The inside of the thimble is a kind of brushed fabric, a bit like suede and helps in making it comfortable to wear.  This leather thimble is quite thick and I had wondered if it would be too chunky to handle the papers I use effectively, but it wasn’t and very quickly felt very natural to wear.  Following another marathon embroidery session I found my finger had been very well protected.

Lady wearing a leather thimble Uk

Thimble Size Chart

I choose to buy the Clover leather sewing thimble with the guidelines on the back of the packet helping me to decide on size. They are sized for the middle finger with a guide as follows:

‘To find your size insert your middle finger through the hole up to your first joint.’

Thimble size chart instructions

Because I was buying on-line and not able to try my finger in the hole, I drew a circle on a piece of using the diameter of the circle (Measurement from one side of the circle to the other) and cut it out. I started with the small measurement and it fitted.

Clover Leather Thimble Sizes (Inner diameter)

Small 14.5mm diameter (9/16 inch)

Medium  16.0 mm diamter (5/8 inch)

Large 17.5mm diameter (11/18 inch)

Leather thimbles should all have a size guide and may vary between brands.  Read the packaging and or contact the supplier for more information if you can’t find or see the answers you need.

I hope this helps you in finding the right leather thimble!  I'm not a complete thimble convert but they do definitely make hand stitching more enjoyable on sore finger days!

If you'd like to see out what I spend my days embroidering, check out my hand embroidered paper designs!


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