Learn To Sew
Like a Pro
with these expert resources.
is a comprehensive
sewing instruction program with over 300 pages
of vital sewing information. To help you
maximize your learning, it comes with a helpful
work book designed to guide you step by step to
learn to sew.
In addition to the core
textbook and work book, there are several very
useful bonuses that you will treasure for years
as you learn to sew.
is a vital tool for you as
you learn to sew. There are many specialty
terms used in sewing, quilting, and crafting
that have special meanings. My Sewing
Dictionary provides both a PDF ebook format and
an easy to use sofware that makes it easy to
acces the definition and explanation of each
The Rotary Cutting
Many beginning sewers
overlook the special skills and details
involved in laying out patterns as well as
cutting out patterns and fabrics. The Rotary
Cutting Guidebook reveals the vital secrets you
need to learn how to sew and cut out your
To learn more about this
special instruction course CLICK
For more learning
opportunities explore the complete sewing
To Learn about hand sewing
and needle arts CLICK HERE.
A thimble is a cap that fits
over the finger to protect it when pushing a
needle during sewing. The word, derived from
Middle English, literally means "thumb
The thimble has a long
history. The oldest existing thimble is Roman,
found in the ruins of Pompeii. It is bronze.
However, the Etruscans, who pre-date the
Romans, are known to have made bronze thimbles.
Primitive thimbles of bone and leather probably
also existed because thimbles have been used by
every known culture. These thimbles did not
survive the centuries.
Through the years, thimbles
have evolved in a number of ways. Both the
materials used and the means of production have
changed. Thimbles have gained new uses and
become primarily decorative and collectible
rather than merely practical.
Early thimbles had to be
sturdy because homespun fabric was coarse and
needles were rough and unfinished. It was
difficult to push the thread through the fabric
so a strong, thick bronze or iron thimble,
called a "skep," was required to prevent
injury. Each thimble was shaped individually by
pounding metal into a mold. The dimples in
these early thimbles were applied by hand and
are uneven. These primitive, shallow thimbles
were dome shaped and had no rim. Some had a
hole in the top to stabilize them during the
casting process. It was hard to keep them on
the finger and the metal bled and colored the
By the 15th century, fabric
became more finely woven and needlework became
more refined. Thimbles became thinner. These
thimbles were usually made of brass and
imported from Nuremberg, a brass-making center.
Simultaneously, new methods of producing
thimbles were introduced. Thimbles were made
from sheet metal. The new thimbles also
contained decorative motifs. The cap was
separate and attached to the cylinder later.
These new thimbles were taller and the top was
Another type of thimble
called a "sewing ring" or tailors' thimble was
also produced during this time. It was a
shallow thimble with no top. This type of
thimble is used when the needle is pushed
through the fabric with the side of the finger
rather than the tip.
Also during this period, the
lowly, utilitarian thimble began to dress up in
jewels and precious metals and lead a secret
life as a gift item. Wealthy women did
needlework together, so it was natural for
Elizabeth I to commission a jewel encrusted
thimble as a gift.
During the 16th and 17th
century Holland became the new seat of thimble
production. However, in the late 17th century,
John Lofting moved thimble production to
Islington, England where the brass-working
industry was already established. He began to
produce thimbles in a scale unheard of before.
Later, he moved his factory to Great Marlow,
and used water power to double production. By
the early 18th century, he was producing 2
million thimbles annually. But he too succumbed
to progress and thimble making moved to
Birmingham, England by 1800.
The composition of brass
also improved during this period. A new formula
made it more malleable and suitable for a
different manufacturing process called "deep
drawing" that used less metal. This lowered the
In the 16th century,
manufacturers began to produce thimbles in
silver and other precious metals. Because a
silver thimble is softer than the needle it is
meant to push, the cap had to be reinforced
with iron. This highly collectible type of
thimble is called a "Dorcas."
Thimbles were also made of
porcelain by companies such as Spode and
Wedgewood. Although considered more decorative
than durable, they were used to sew on
The dawn of the Victorian
era marked the start of thimble collecting.
Roads had improved and people began to tour.
The Great Exhibition, a kind of world's fair,
was held in Hyde Park, London and attracted
large crowds. A commemorative thimble was
issued to mark the event. The concept of
commemorative thimbles caught on with
collectors. It was also at this time that
advertising thimbles became popular.
In Victorian times, a silver
thimble was regarded as a highly appropriate
gift especially for a man to give a woman.
Victoria women carried a chain-like device
called a chatelaine, to which sewing items such
as small scissors and a needle case could be
attached. Thimbles were enclosed in a
decorative thimble case that could be attached
to this device as well. Sometimes the couple
would remove the cap from a thimble so it could
be used as a ring.
We are all aware that sewing
is the primary use of the thimble. But did you
know that a slightly larger thimble, usually
two ounces, was used to measure spirits? And
did you know that 19th century prostitutes used
them to tap on their clients' windows and
Victorian schoolmistresses used them to knock
recalcitrant students on the head?
Today, thimbles are still
used in quilting, French hand sewing and other
types of decorative needlework. As hand sewing
has become less common, the practical use of
thimbles has declined. Although they have
become largely decorative, collectors' interest
in modern thimbles has not waned. Thimbles
originally created in silver are being
reproduced in pewter thanks to new processes,
developed in the 1950's that allow more
detailed design. New series of thimbles are
being issued to commemorate everything from
football teams to Disney characters. Every
tourist destination offers souvenir thimbles to
tourists. Many probably don't even know how to
Thimble collecting is an
extremely popular hobby worldwide. Many
thimbles are reasonably priced and readily
available. Men, women and children collect
them. Some collectors are interested in the
history of thimbles while others collect them
for their decorative value. Collectors' clubs
have sprung up locally. The internet now
connects collectors all over the world.
Collectors' societies have their own web pages.
Collecting has also spawned a booming cottage
industry in display racks, cabinets and
The lowly thimble has become
a star. Some admire its humble origins and some
its newfound incarnations. It is one of the
most versatile and practical tools ever
invented, born of necessity.