Finger Armors: Getting to Know Thimbles


In sewing, it is important to be very careful with your every move. With a sewing machine, you do not have any problems about your finger getting poked by the needle. But long before a Singer machine was ever invented, people had to depend on thimbles for protection.

What are thimbles, you ask? Let this page be your guide, and you will discover that thimbles, even though small and simple, are more than what you think they are.


For starters, a thimble is the quarter-finger-shaped cup that you see in sewing kits. It is usually surrounded by dimpled indents, embellished with different designs, and colored with various hues.

However, some thimbles are not finger-shaped at all--- different kinds of thimbles will be discussed as you scroll down--- but the most common ones have closed tops and hard texture, so the needle will not easily puncture the protected finger.

It is easy to spot a thimble from the common mixture of sewing materials in a kit, such as needle, thread, pins, etc. How?



Thimbles have small dot indents, also known as knurlings. These dimpled indents are very important when sewing, because the chances of encountering stray needles are quite high when sewing or doing embroidery. Knurlings, along with the hardness of the thimble, protect your finger from being pricked by a stray needle.


Thimble Designs

Thimbles are not only known for protecting the finger while sewing, but they are also adored for their impeccable and intricate design.

Classic thimbles display some of the finest work of art ever to be created. From royalties (Diana Princess of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, etc.) to events (1982 Papal Visit, D-Day, etc.), celebrities (Paul Newman, Ronald Reagan, etc.) to fictional characters (Peter Pan, Captain Hook, etc.)--- thimbles have served as a small canvas for artists worldwide.

The Beginning of Thimble

Thimble History

It is believed that thimbles have been in the service of the sewing people since the first century, around 2,000 B.C. Two of these thimbles, which were made of stone and found in Rome, are currently under the care of Cairo Museum and Metropolitan Museum. There was also a bronze thimble found in Pompeii, which is believed to have existed around the first century, too.

In its earlier days, thimbles’ dimpled indents were made by hand. It was only in the 1680s that a machine was used to put indents in thimbles by knurling them.

What Thimbles Are Made Of

Thimble Materials

Thimbles are known to be naturally thick and protective enough for the fingers, and so, over the years, people have used different materials to create the perfect thimble for sewing.

Some of these materials are:

Kinds Of Thimbles

Thimbles are made with different kinds of materials, and so they also have various kinds and types. Here are some of the common kinds of thimbles:

Traditional thimbles

These thimbles have been around for a long time, and they are still considered to be very useful nowadays. Some of the examples of traditional thimbles are:

Goat leather thimble

Goat Leather Thimble

A simple leather thimble that is not primarily for protection from the sharp end of the needle; rather, it is used to aid the finger in pushing the eye end of the needle, so it will not hurt.

Metal thimble

Metal Thimble

This is one of the common thimbles we see in the market today. It protects the finger from both ends of the needle, thanks to its dimpled indents and hard structure.

Thimble Pad

Thimble Pad

This is a different kind of thimble. First of all, it does not cover the top part of the finger (like most thimbles do). Second, it is just a small round patch that sticks to the skin. Third, its primary use is to provide a better grip to the user when pulling threads. In addition, it protects the skin from possible irritation when the needle is continuously rubbed on it. But, like any other thimbles, it can also protect the finger from stray needles.

Under Thimble

Under Thimble

This one is no different from other thimbles: it also protects the finger from getting pricked. It is a lot like the thimble pad, except it does not stick on its own and it is definitely thicker--- really built to protect the under finger from the sharp end of the needle.

Sashiko Thimble

Sashiko Thimble

This Japanese thimble is quite different than regular thimbles. Unlike common thimbles, which are worn on the head of the finger, this one is placed on the base of the middle finger. This is to protect the top of the palm while sewing.

Sewing Ring

Sewing Ring

Also known as an open thimble, this kind does not have any cap to cover the tip of the finger. It is usually made of metal or brass and does not have the “dome” appearance that most thimbles possess.



This kind of thimble is not actually for sewing--- it is used to aid people when shuffling or flipping through papers, money, magazines, forms, etc. It is made of rubber and also has dimpled indents like a regular thimble, but its indents are pushed forward.

What Is It For?

Thimbles are known to be naturally thick and protective enough for the fingers, and so, over the years, people have used different materials to create the perfect thimble for sewing.


Thimbles Collection

Thimbles are not only for sewing--- they are also for display in private homes. Some people collect thimbles from different parts of the globe as keepsake or souvenir. These people are called digitabulists.


Thimbles Art

As mentioned earlier, some thimbles have unique and intricate designs that were created by artists worldwide. These thimbles are better left in a safe area and displayed for art aficionados than be used in sewing, because some of the designs of these thimbles are one-of-a-kind.


Thimbles Token

Thimbles nowadays are not only used for sewing anymore. In the modern time, they are now used as wedding mementos/tokens, bracelets, necklaces, and even keychains.

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