It's one inch tall, spends most of its time lost in a pocket, bin or drawer, and is your finger's only line of defense against the piercing tip of its arch nemesis, the needle. Have you guessed? We're talking about thimbles today. And not just any thimbles, I'm going to give you a rundown on my favorite and in general the best thimble you can strap on.
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If you have been following my blog for a while, you might already know that I like to create hip and relevant posters about our sewing topics. (see: Universal Needles, Fixing Fabric Bleeds, Choosing the Right Batting, etc...)
I have a whole new poster theme I have been focusing on: LITTLE THINGS. Well, really, just thimbles.
There are so many great quotes about small things already, that I found all I have to do is throw plagiarism to the wind, and replace the words “little things” with “thimbles.” Voila! A new motivational poster! Or… SEWtivational poster. If you will. I’ve been working on that one for a while, too.
Okay, so it doesn’t ALWAYS work, but you get the picture. Thimbles are a big deal if you’re going to hand sew anything, or try to live life in this crazy world. You’re going to need at least one. Or five. Do I have a favorite? You bet I do. My thimble and I have been through a lot of near-death experiences together. (Am I being dramatic? What? No! Me?!) But I’ll save my fave for last.
Nope, I can’t wait. I’m going to tell you now what the best thimble is...
The Best Thimble in the Whole Wide WORLD!
As much as possible, try to ignore my weathered, wrinkly hand in that picture. I've had these worn-out looking hands since middle school. I inherited them from my father. MOVING ON.
My VERY FAVORITE THIMBLE, making it the obvious BEST thimble, is this Clover Leather Thimble. It’s not shiny or fancy, but it does the job well. Because the leather molds to your finger over time, after a few hours of sewing, it will feel like a second skin.
No, I don't wear three thimbles at a time, but I do want to show you the progression of this amazing leather buddy. The one on the left is fresh from the package and the other two have been working hard for about 4 - 6 months. You can see that they don't last forever, unlike some of the metal thimbles we'll discuss below, but even still, I adore them.
The first time I purchased one I made the mistake of getting a size too large. Keep in mind that the leather will stretch a bit as it is broken in. I have pretty small hands, my husband actually calls them puppy paws...but anyway, the size Small fits me perfectly.
The Clover Leather Thimble may be my favorite, but there are some other thimbles out there that have great reputations. Let’s split them into categories, so you can know what’s on the market before you choose the best thimble for your style.
Check out my other favorite notions!
The Best Grippy Thimble
Protect and Grip Thimble
You’ve seen a version of these before – maybe while sifting through your Mom’s old junk drawer, or playing Monopoly… metal thimbles are pretty common and standard in the sewing world. But have you seen the metal-rubber hybrid thimble?
These are designed to maximize on the strength of the classic metal thimble, while still gripping your skin and providing more comfort.
Before becoming a die-hard leather thimble gal, I purchased one of these because so many people seemed to recommend them. I think if I had stuck with it longer, I could have really liked it, however there is a learning curve to using this thimble and it would only work with certain stitches – ie. hand quilting and not whip-stitch binding.
Verdict: Try it out for yourself. You may be one of the many people who swear by this spacey, rubber thimble.
The Best Comfort Thimble
Soft Comfort Thimble
If we want to talk flexibility, these little guys have GOT it. They’re made out of a soft, pliable material that fits your finger like a glove… if gloves were made for just your fingertips. Fingertip gloves. I might patent that.
The Best Medieval Shield Thimble
Metal Shield Thimble
So, I made up this category name myself, but I think it fits well. If your finger was a knight in shining armor, this would be its shield. This metal thimble will protect your finger from needles, and also from small jousting swords.
Below you can see that some times I like to combine thimbles depending on how long I've been sewing (ouch) and where I'm sewing.
The Best Beyoncé Thimble
Gold Tailor Thimble
Okay, I made up this category name, too. But if you like it, you better put a ring on it. These fancy, gold thimbles are like an engagement ring for you and your sewing project. It shows you’re committed.
Not Even a Thimble Thimble:
It’s not a thimble… or is it? These thimble pads are like stick-on finger force fields, so you don’t even need a thimble.
My aim with a needle isn't good enough to use these tiny pads, however I have watched seasoned sewists use them with with Yoda-like accuracy and it is quite impressive.
As long as it protects your finger and feels natural, your thimble is doing it’s job. I love the feel of the leather thimble. What’s your favorite? What are you anxious to try?
39 thoughts on “Your Guide to Finding the Best Thimble”
I believe I’ve tried all of these except the grippy thimble, and I can’t get used to any of them. I think I’d like the comfort thimble except mine’s a little too small.
And the one that’s too small is a large, darn it.
I alternate between a metal thimble similar to the jousting one in your post and a leather one made by Dritz. My metal thimble is not adjustable. It was fit like a ring size so some days it’s too big a slips off too easily. With your hand quilting have you ever used something on your fingertips to help pull the needle through?
Sometimes after multiple days of sewing my finger tips can get a bit tender. I usually just load them up with more thimbles. haha! Sadly, those sticky pads aren’t big enough for the way I sew. What I would really need is it to cover my entire finger pad. Know of a product like that?
I have seen a hint to use the old paper sorting rubber fingertips but have not tried it. I have used a little pair of pliers to pull the needle through when my fingers get really sore & tired.
Use a piece of rubber for pulling the needles through the fabric. I use the grippy type circles you can buy for opening jars or the straps that they use on your arm when drawing blood. They both work well and grip the needle enough to pull it through some of the toughest fabric.
That is so, so smart!
I use a finger cot on my index finger and it’s perfect for gripping and my hands don’t tire as quickly. (And the Roxanne thimble on my middle finger).
I use those rubber fingertips to pull the needle through and completely swear by them! I put that on my index finger and my metal thimble with a ridge around the top on my middle finger and I’m a happy girl! But I think for summer I’ll have to try some other of your suggestions, Suzy. I suspect the hybrid one would make me happy, though the Beyoncé is intriguing, too!
I use a silicone needle gripper made by Clover that fits over my thumb and lets me pull the needle through with way less effort. Then I use a leather dot pad on my middle finger. I don’t know why it’s so hard to find the Clover gripper here in the US. I stocked up during a recent trip to Japan. The closest I found to it when checking just now was this:
The Clover one is very flexible so it molds to your thumb and has an opening around the fingernail so it doesn’t get too hot.
I’m with you! I LOOOOOVE my all leather thimble and am almost due for a new one… I also have a metal-silicone combo one I use as secondary, but don’t like it as much. I may need to try some finger armor instead.
I don’t really care what a thimble is made from as long as it does “the job.” I have many metal thimbles of varying sizes but that’s because I bought them without trying them on. I seem to favor plastic one, as long as they fit. Fit is the most important thing to me as too large falls of and too small is uncomfortable. I would love to find one that I could use consistently.
It’s rare that your finger is the same size and shape all year (mine: all day).. I make sizes and shapes to fit nearly everyone. From XL size 12 down to a tiny size 0.5.
I’ve heard of people getting those moleskin pads that you use on blisters and cutting whatever size they need for their fingers. Maybe that could work?? I use the other leather clover thimble and I love it. I never thought to use two thimbles at a time… but that is a great idea!
I use the knight in shiny armor with a felt patch (under the metal) on the top of my finger for comfort, otherwise it seems to wear a little rough 😐 I’ve tried the rubber thimble but wasn’t a fan. I need to try the leather one, looks comfy.
Very impressed by your makeshift thimble situation!
Thank you for the thimble post! I have tried many and currently use the Dritz leather thimble with the elastic. However, because I usually push the needle with the side of my middle finger, I often poke myself through the holes on the side of this thimble. I have tried the coin thimble, but it has seams that catch the thread. I have ordered your favorite thimble and hope that it will be perfect for me! I also use the Dritz LoRan Stay On needle puller on my index finger and find that really helps to lessen hand fatigue because I don’t have to grip the needle so hard. Thanks again for a great post!
I tried a silicone thimble and just couldn’t get the feel of where the needle was. Made me really inaccurate. I’ve been using the stick in ones..
My favorite is the night in shining armor, a clover metal thimble. I guess I’m just a little too aggressive… when I tried the clover leather thimble I kept poking the head of the needle through the leather. 😒 I’ve used the sticky pads on my finger on the bottom of my quilt when my finger gets sore.
Sure enjoy your writing…makes me laugh and learn all in one!
I LOVE my clover leather thimble. They cost a little more, but I use my Joann’s coupons to purchase them.
However, I have to keep them away from my chocolate lab, as she loves them too and will eat them!
I want to try out the Protect & Grip, but I am a die hard Clover Leather gal.
Aaaall the sewing ladies, aaall the sewing ladies, aaall the sewing ladies, aaall the sewing ladies… I’ve got some of those little pads, although I think they’re plastic pads, not cork… I have also heard ladies rave about those plastic finger cover thingies that you buy from an office supplies store that people who work with paper use to flick through piles of paper… like when they’re counting how much paper they have. In their pile. That they’re working with. Aaaah, clarity is my strong suit. Fo’ shizzle.
I’ve looked at and had so many people tell me about TJ Lane thimbles but for the life of me, I don’t think I can give $100 for a timble!!!!!
I just started quilting about a year ago and I have been using that green Dritz comfort thimble. The only issue I have with it, and this is just the way I sew, is that there are openings along the side that are perfectly positioned for me to continually stab myself. I didn’t realize, until using this thimble, that i press more with the side of my finger than the pad. I don’t like the feel of a metal thimble, so I’m thinking I need to try one of leather ones. Something that covers my whole finger.
I can have the exact same issue – that’s why those sticky pads have never worked for me. Try the leather thimble – it will feel bulky at first, but you may grow to really enjoy it.
I used a leather thimble with my last quilt and absolutely loved it. I have carpal tunnel but still hand quilt. I’ll try one of the thimbles that help pull the needle through easier. Thanks everyone for that information. I use a metal thimble on my middle, left finger to catch the needle when it goes down through the quilt and guide it back up through it. I think I’ll be able to wear 3 at a time easy…. especially if it helps!!
HELP! What thimble is going to be best for very small, I mean my wedding ring is a 3.5 ring size, very small fingers. I bought a small clover leather thimble, the same ones shown here, and even that one is too big for me middle finger. I am about to embark on my first quilt (yay!), but I know I’ll need a good thimble if I want to make it out without mangled hands haha. Any advice would be appreciated, Thanks!
The smallest size you can get is a small, so unless you embark on making your own, that’s the best you can get. My wedding ring size is 4.5 and I have found the size small to work pretty well. Leather does stretch, however, so you may need to replace it more frequently over time.
My thimbles are similar to the TJ Lane thimbles. I learned my silversmithing skills from her. I have every 1/4 of a size from 0.5 up to 12. I have short and long, I have with a quilting rim and without. I have Yubinuki band thimbles, and both closed top and open nail thimbles. Come and see: They are glorious. ALL hand make in Iowa; solid sterling silver.
I make tiny thimbles: ThimblesForYou.com
I also make BIG thimbles. My thimbles are little works of art.
Sea turtles, Acorns and Thistles… Working on a mother on a bicycle… And her two children biking along behind. Gotta see ’em to believe them.!
This is an older post now, but because I looked up thimbles, Google has decided to send me allll the thimble articles it finds. Anyway.
I LOVE the Beyonce thimble-rings, and didn’t even know that was a thing until I ordered a Knight-style thimble and a ring came free with it. I’ve tried many thimbles over the many years I’ve been sewing and just can’t get used to having something on my fingertips while I’m sewing. So I bought several of those “rings,” which are adjustable, and bent them to fit the first knuckles on my dominant hand. No more stabbing myself, and my hand feels so natural I forget I’m wearing them.
Rubber finger cots are great for holding down a hot seam you’ve just pressed so you don’t burn yourself. They make thimbles for that, but rubber finger cots are super cheap.
What’s the best hand quilted QUILTING PATTERN to use on a bow tie quilt? (all-over bowties,) not spaces between ties.
Do you have one for sale.?
Do you mean that you will be using fabric bow ties or that you have sewn bow tie quilt blocks? I currently don’t sell hand quilting patterns, but I think following the design of your quilt block always looks nice.
It’s cool that leather can mold to your finger over time and make itself more comfortable to use. How does it do that? I can imagine how nice it would be to have something that fits that well.
I have tried many thimbles. I will try again after reading your post!
I, like you, LOVE my Clover Leather Thimble. I do not rock my stitches from the tip of my finger so I think the clover leather thimble accommodates that best. However, I combine it with a metal thimble (currently a Roxeanne) that I wear INSIDE the leather thimble. I love that this way I get the solid surface of the metal part so I don’t poke my finger when I make holes in the leather, but I also get the lovely “grip” and feel of the leather.
I w.as told with a leather thimble to wet it and let it dry to conform to your finger size. I did try – but it takes forever to dry (Maybe a hair dryer would help) I haven’t yet got comfortable with a thimble. I’m going to try your idea of working on a table. I have a small frame, but have been finding I can work in one direction, but really awkward to switch directions. I’m currently trying to hand stitch in the ditch around a woven star – so goes in all directions. Thanks for the information.
I only use a thimble for hand quilting, and my favorite is a John James golden thimble with a black, dimpled, magnetic top. It’s also one I haven’t been able to find for a few years. Wah. Now I’m using a Clover metal, dimpled thimble, which is OK, but not my favorite. I tried the Roxanne, but it’s just to heavy & bulky. The thimble pads aren’t enough coverage for me, but also, I like to feel the needle tip on the underside of the quilt & the thimble pad is too thick to allow that. Leather doesn’t seem tough enough for me to trust. The plastic thimbles are too…inflexible? The silicone ones aren’t tough enough. I might try the combo metal/rubber — that might be juuuust right!
With my longer nails, after trying multiple thimbles, I found that the Soft Comfort thimble works best for me. I also like the thimble pads, in the suede or there is a bumpy plastic one.
I have a rubber/metal end thimble in pink and couldn’t get used to it so I cut the metal end off and it fits my thumb perfectly for gripping the needle. I like it because my thumb nail is open at the end and can freely help with stitching. It’s an expensive thumb grip. Prior to this, I used a broken balloon that worked well. As for the thimble, I like the old metal one I’ve had for years, but will give the Glover leather thimble a try. Always open to something new in case it becomes a new found favourite