Introduction: Sew a Thimble

Learn how to easily sew your own thimble with just a thin piece of leather, a needle, and thread.

I was knitting the other day and noticed my very tight knitting style was causing me to really poke and abuse my finger. It was starting to get in the way of my working, so I figured I should use a thimble. I found that the one from my cheap Ikea sewing kit was just not going to work, so I took to the internet. That's when I found out most thimbles are actually made of leather now. So, I thought, why don't I just make one.

And I did.

Step 1: Supplies

If you don't like leather, please feel free to make this out of another material.

* Instructables member buildandsewandstuff has suggested cutting a circle from a plastic milk jug (or something similar) and placing that between the leather circle and body of the thimble. I think that would work really good for extra reinforcement.

This is my first time working with leather, so I apologize if I'm breaking a million rules every leatherworker knows to follow. I'm still learning :)

Step 2: Cut Out the Shape

I don't have a picky way of doing this. I just folded a piece of scrap leather over the figure I wanted the thimble for and cut I cut it out. Start too big and then you can trim it down if you need to.

To get an idea of the size of mine, all of those squares on the mat are 1' by 1'.

I decided to have a folded edge so I wouldn't have to do as much sewing and so one edge would be nice and smooth without a seem. If you'd prefer to do two seperate pieces, that's fine too.

Note: It is best if this thimble fits your finger snuggly. So if you want one for a finger, make it for your finger. If you want one for your thumb, make one to fit your thumb. Mine fits all of my fingers pretty well, but is too big for my pinky and too small for my thumb.

Step 3: Optional Reinforced Pad

Since my leather is kind of thin, I thought I would sew an extra piece to the part that would be at the pad of my finger.

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You have to decide which way you want the seam to face in the end. If you put it on like I did, the seam is going to face your other fingers (if this is for your pointer finger like it was for me). While this may be uncomfortable if you are just wearing the thimble, I found this to be helpful while working as it kept the seam away from my work.

If you have the seam facing away from your other fingers, it won't rub up against them, but I found it to rub up against whatever I was working on and found that annoying.

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I decided to do a circle and cut one out that is just smaller than the end of the thimble (I didn't want to have to sew through three layers of leather later, so I made it so I could sew it on the bad and still leave room to sew the thimble closed later). I found a spool of thread that was the perfect size (the same one I used while making my pom poms) so I just traced that.

Line it up and sew it on. I used a whip stitch. Make sure you are sewing it to the rough side of the leather and that the rough side of your piece faces out.

I doubled over my thread when I sewed for extra strength.

Note: You will be able to feel the stitches on the inside, so if that is going to be a bother to you, you probably don't want to put this on your thimble.

Step 4: Sew Up Your Thimble

Time to sew your thimble closed.

I started at the crease at the top of the thimble and went up and around. As I went, I would put the thimble on to make sure I wasn't sewing it too tightly or too loosely.

You can see in the last image that it looks kind of funny at the bottom left and that's because I decided I wanted it to be a bit tighter at the end. Makes it look funny, but it fits fine. I also whipped a stitch, at the end, around the bottom corner of the seam so that makes it look funny too.

The finished size was about 1" by 1 1/2'.

Step 5: Finished Thimble

You can see it fits nice and snug and I sewed mine so the seam faces my other fingers.

If you want to do anything to the bottom edge of the thimble, please feel free. I just left mine the way it was.

Comments

author
buildandsewandstuff (author)2016-05-08

I sandwiched a disc from a plastic milk carton, cut the size of a dime, between the thimble and the reinforcement pad. It makes an almost pierce-proof spot, but is sort of flexible, too.

author

Using that plastic sounds like a great idea! Thanks for sharing that :)

author
Magzzee (author)2016-04-26

LOVE this idea, genius! However, I wonder could I hot glue the "seams" rather than sew them as my sewing skills are totally NIL.

Thank you so much for posting this great ible!

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)Magzzee2016-04-26

I don't have any experience with leather (or faux leather) and hot glue, but it sounds like it would work to me :) It's so small that it is worth experimenting to see how it turns out :)

author
Magzzee (author)Penolopy Bulnick2016-04-26

Thank you so much for replying so quickly Penolopy,

I'll definitely try it as soon as I find my little stash of leather/faux leather pieces. :)

author
KittyF (author)2015-10-18

That's JUST the way I made my deer hide thimble years ago! but I never thought to reinforce it. I'm going to do that next time I get a chance. great idea. ( I put my seam inside.) I've had a few times using it to sew denim that I've pushed the eye of my needle right through the leather so reinforcement is just what I need. thanks!

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)KittyF2015-10-18

Yeah, so far I'm just using this for knitting, but I thought some reinforcement would be nice for sewing. Especially since the leather thimbles I saw on Amazon had metal plate things at the finger pad. I didn't have any metal, so I figured more leather would help.

author
KittyF (author)Penolopy Bulnick2015-12-18

I guess metal would be pierce proof, but I believe this would be less awkward and still provide more protection. have to admit as well. I used deer hide and that's thinner than cowhide, in general.

author
AJMansfield (author)2015-11-07

The point of the metal thimbles though is for sewing very tough material, such as webbing (think seatbelt material), since without it, the material is tough enough that the needle would pierce your finger before it would go through the webbing.

author
alheatherly (author)2015-11-01

This is so great! I do a lot of embroidery and hand sewing but I have large fingers. Finding a thimble that fits is a nightmare. Thanks so much for sharing!!

author
XSMarx (author)2015-10-24

Very cool indeed. Great idea! This thought never ocurred to me even though I am always cutting the fingers off my leather gloves ( I've even kept some in case I may use them for some future project). Not only that, but I really needed a thimble recently, but was too embarrassed to ask my mom for one of hers. She collects old stuff like that and I saw some really cool ones while I was snooping around in her garage.

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)XSMarx2015-10-25

Thank you :) The leather fingers should be handy for this; you can even sew up one of the sides of it (or the back) to make it fitted if you wanted.

author
dougoutcanoe (author)2015-10-22

Looks like a good idea.

I will add a small coin or metal disc in the finger pad sandwich. To make a stronger thimble.

author

I think that would be a great addition. I wasn't sure what to use, so I just went for the double leather :)

author

cou can also use a few disks of soda bottle . They have a natural carve as well! 2-3 leayers flexible and inside the leather not issues. And still double the leather , it really does look nicer. Varve and stitch in style!!

author
mary.beheler (author)2015-10-23

Just an amusing bit of trivia: The German word for thimble is fingerhut.

author

Ha! I like that name more :)

author
spark master (author)2015-10-22

faux leather is useless for protecting from needles, real leather please.

I carve, I have many "thumbs" and wear gloves. The plastic "leather" does nothing, nor does knitted fabric , even a woven kevlar, does not stop a needle or a stab. Yours is way prettier then any I have made!!

author

Thanks :)

author

truth will set you free!! yours absolutely look nicer, and for my purpose will work a while before dying. But hey I had a brand new Kevlar glove take the bullet for me ,6 bucks saved me from a huge slash.

when you work with leather or rope or sails on a ship , you may use a monkey's paw, a glove with a lead lined cup in the center.

worth every penny

have a great day

author

Sounds like a pretty nice glove :)

author
spark master (author)2015-10-22

Oh I fergit, just wack a finger off an old leather glove stich on a piece of elastic on the back. Double it if you want the higher protection.

author

Yeah, someone mentioned that below. I don't know why I didn't think of a leather glove. I'm sure that would work very well, but I needed it fitted otherwise it would try to come off constantly and I have little dainty fingers :)

author
msnygg (author)2015-10-22

Very nice! I'll need to do this. I'm having trouble knitting myself. I tend to knit in a style that makes my left thumb sore. This could keep me knitting longer. Thanks.

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)msnygg2015-10-22

Thanks for taking a look :) Hope it helps!

author
TeresaM7 (author)2015-10-22

Very good for us seamstresses! As for rules, they were made to be broken. If it works, what else matters?

author

So true :)

author
DAYJAY (author)2015-10-22

That is so cool! I'd cut "thimbles" from old leather work glove but like your solution much better... custom fit! Thanks

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)DAYJAY2015-10-22

You know, I didn't even think of that. That would certainly work, but I do prefer the custom fit.

author
nannacookie (author)2015-10-10

Thank you I have worn a similar one out that was a gift. I will make many.

author

Yay! I'd love to see how they turn out :)

author
lyra3005 (author)2015-10-08

Great! thank!

author

You're welcome :)

author
Dr The BoB (author)2015-10-08

Well Done Penolopy! :)
I fully admit that I'm an amateur when it comes to sewing, and I was wondering how effective it might be to modify the design a little to have the seam run up the back of the finger, along the nail, (instead of being off to the side of the finger) for keeping it out of the way of your fingers and project? :)
DtB

author

I think you could, but you would need to do a shape kind of like this (sorry I can't draw).

thimble.jpg
author
Muhaiminah Faiz (author)2015-10-08

Awesome idea! Cool scrap leather project!

I cross stitch a lot and always poke my finger while cross stitching. Definitely making one.

author

Thanks :)

author
NadjasDiversDiversions (author)2015-10-06

Simple and nice idea. This will help me big time with my leather sewing. Thanks

author

Thank you :)

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