November 21, 2005
When you go into the tailoring trade, one of the hardest things to learn is how to use a thimble properly i.e. with the middle sewing finger properly curved at all times.
They may be small and cheap, but thimbles are extremely useful. They allow you to sew faster, and get through hard cloths without wearing your poor fingers out.
But the proper hold takes a while to get used to, causing utter misery for many a young apprentice.
Here's a tip that was taught to Jonathan Quearney by his father, who was also a tailor. And Jonathan showed it to me.
First, cut a small, thin bit of cloth, a few inches long, and tie it like a piece of string through the thimble, as seen in the first photo above.
Next, place the thimble on your middle finger as you normally would, but wrapping the cloth around your middle knuckle, as in picture Number Two:
Thirdly, grab the needle like you normally would, as seen in the third picture. The tied cloth keeps your thimble finger in the right sewing position. After a while this position starts feeling quite normal, and you'll no longer need the cloth to aid you.
Simple and effective. Your thimble finger will be forever grateful, as will any apprentice you teach this to.
[UPDATE:] Note how 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. We don't really use dressmaker's thimbles- for one thing, they make the end of your finger a bit hot.
[FURTHER READING:] "Button Tip". A lovely little trick for sewing on buttons.
Posted by tom at November 21, 2005 1:57 PM
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