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Girl’s thimble

jyang949 | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

My daughter wants to learn how to sew by hand, but the smallest thimble (size 5) in stores is still too large for her.

I searched the ‘Net for “child’s thimble” but only found antiques. Does this mean that nobody makes them anymore?

For that matter, is ten too young to learn? I figured ten was okay for hand-sewing, but she’d have to wait a couple of years to work on a machine.



  1. cafms | | #1

    I don't think it's too young - with help and supervision.  I  judged a Sew With Wool competition today and the youngest child was 6.  She had done a very good job on her skirt.  We also had several 10 year olds and on up from there.   In addition there were two boys competing.  One had made a vest for his dad which fit very well.   They are required to do all the sewing themselves.  My own daughter made clothes on the machine when she was 6 which she wore to school. 

    Could you pad the inside of the smallest thimble with something?  This article from Threads is about making one.   http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00077.asp

  2. alotofstitches | | #2

    When I was little my mother always used a thimble and I dearly wanted to learn to do that too.  The thimble I learned with was my g.mother's and it's still too big.  I have a size 5 for my g.daughters who are 6 & 7--they do not use it yet as their interest lies in the sewing machine.  It fits my pinky--just in case you have no idea about the size.  You could put a band-aid on her finger then put on the thimble.  I put my old machine on their little table and I sit bedie them.  they use the foot control (my m. is old and only sews slow) and they guide the strips thru themselves.  My goal is for them to be comfortable with the machine.  The 7y/o cut out and sewed a pair of shorts from denim when she was 61/2.  She fringed the legs and sewed down the casing for elastic but I put the elastic thru (I've found that to be difficult for them).  It was very simple stuff but she did it and was so proud.  her mom had gotten her a "Barbie" machine much like the  machines advertised to pull out of your desk and mend (ha, ha).  The first time she used it she knew at 5 y/o that it was junk just by the sound!  She wanted my old machine back.

  3. Dragonsmom | | #3

    I am a hand quilter and have several ffriends who also can't find thimbles small enough for thier fingers ( they are "older" in thier seventies and eighties) and they suggest to moisten the finger before putting it in the thimble. ( actually they lick or spit on it.)  This helps form a suction and the thimble stays on nicely. I hope this helps.  


  4. carolfresia | | #4

    I don't think 10 is too young. My 5-year-old has started using my machine--that is, she operates all the buttons and the foot control, and I steer the fabric with her. For hand-sewing, 10 is probably a fine age: kids usually have good coordination at that age and can understand the process of sewing.

    Take a look at http://www.thimblesetc.com for thimbles.

    Look here for info. on thimble sizing: http://www.sizes.com/tools/thimbles.htm It's pretty interesting! There seems to be very little consistency from country to country.

    I did a Google search for quilting thimble, simply because thimbles seem to be most heavily marketed toward quilters. There are a lot of places to buy thimbles, and some of them include information on sizing your finger. Very small thimbles do, however, seem to be in short supply.

    Here's my experience: I have very small fingers (my wedding ring is a size 3 3/4, and is just about right for my 9-year-old son). I was told by the "thimble fitter" from Roxanne's Thimbles (you'll find them on the web) that I would wear a size 3 in their line on my middle finger. Their smallest size is 2.5. I ended up buying a thimble at my local quilt shop in size 5, and it fits pretty well; I think it's maybe from England, though I don't remember the brand. If you find a thimble that's only slightly too big, you can often give it a little push, or a gentle pound with a hammer, and reshape the opening into a slight oval. This will help it stay on the finger more securely. 

    And here's my personal opinion: I don't really like to wear a thimble! In fact, I've only started using them now, as an adult, when I do hand-sewing through thick fabric layers. I sewed by hand a lot as a child and never wore one, and it didn't seem to make any difference at all. Of course, I probably didn't wear one then because there weren't any to fit, and a too-big thimble is more of an impediment than a help.


    1. Teaf5 | | #5

      Most of my family members, boys and girls, started handsewing before kindergarten and machine sewing in first grade, so age 10 is not too young. Like Carol, I have never used a thimble in handsewing; I just can't seem to feel or hold the fabric as well with one finger covered in metal! For a beginner, though, you might want to put a piece of moleskin on her middle finger to protect it from those first uncertain stabs.More importantly, make sure that she gets to use good quality fabric, thread, needles, and scissors so that she has a good experience and wants to sew some more!

      1. jyang949 | | #6

        Hi, I am back with the living--and speaking--after a bad cold and laryngitis.I've been rethinking the metal thimble. I couldn't recall how to sew while wearing a thimble, so I put it on my middle finger (that is the correct finger, isn't it?), figuring that the correct, efficient, logical method would occur naturally. Must be doing something wrong. Having the thimble on my middle finger left just my thumb and index finger to grasp the needle and fabric. My stitching was not as neat as when I had a thimble-less middle finger to help with control. By the way, which part of the thimble pushes the needle--tip or side?
        I searched the 'Net for "how to use thimble" and came up with
        http://www.englishcut.com/archives/000143.html: "We used open-ended tailor's thimbles. The 'closed' thimbles (i.e. without the hole in the end) are more dressmaker's thimbles. Tailors only use thimbles pushing in from the side, so we've always had open ends."I don't see why tailors and dressmakers would use thimbles differently. (Quilters, on the other hand, do appear to use them differently.)Janet

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