A Sewing Thimble Collection from Around the World

No garment posts today, but I do have a sewing related slideshow for you.  (If you don’t see the slideshow on your phone, click HERE). This post is a quick look at my sewing thimble collection.  You aren’t yawning right now are you? Give it a try. It may not be one of the most exciting posts you’ve ever read.  Some of you, however, may find the uniqueness of the thimbles and some history to be pretty cool!  I thought so. Happy to share….

Arizona Cacti: 'Barrel Cactus, Saguaro, Prickly Pear'

Arizona Cacti: ‘Barrel Cactus, Saguaro, Prickly Pear’

Above is on of my less expensive yet kitchy thimbles. I had to have one from Arizona.

If you are a sewist, then you have probably done a little hand sewing to fasten a button to a shirt or hemmed a skirt.  It only takes once to have the back end of a needle pierce your finger to have you rummaging around to find a thimble.  Pushing the needle through a thick fabrics can cause some serious fingertip pain.

Known as a “thumb shield”, sewing thimbles date back 2500 years ago and found in the ruins in Pompeii, Rome.  The first thimbles were  made out of bone and leather and were present in every culture.  My thimbles are not that old!  My oldest thimble is the gold ‘Edith’ that I calculate may be about 100 years old.  It belonged to my maternal grandmother’s aunt.  Now, that’s pretty special. I have a mixed assortment made out of silver and gold metals, wood, and porcelain.  Thanks to my mom and her many travels, many of these little treasure are representative of countries around the world.

Sewing Thimble from the Imperial Museum

‘Make Do and Mend’ Sewing Thimble from the Imperial Museum, London, England

Above is a porcelain thimble that states “Make Do and Mend” which was a popular slogan after World War II.  Great efforts were made to salvage, remake, repair and conserve textiles and clothing during this time.  Here is more to read about the Make Do and Mend time period.

According to this article I am called a digitabulist.  There is more to read about sewing thimble history here. and here.
Here is another site that provides a great look at antique and vintage sewing thimbles.  Check out Pinterest and Ebay if you want to see more or start your own collection.

Puppy in a thimble ornament

Puppy in a thimble ornament

Here is a Christmas ornament that was given to me as a gift…a pup in a thimble.

See the tail?

See the tail?

Sterling silver bird pincushion

Sterling silver bird pincushion

This little bird pincushion keeps company with the thimbles.  It is carved sterling silver with a velvet pincushion back.  Little bird is big on the cute factor, but little on functionality.

In this recent societal effort to pare down and minimize our ‘stuff’, acquiring a collection of sewing related items doesn’t seem to be a popular idea.  I’m not hoarder; I’m a collector with my thimbles out on display……


Thimbles in view

Thimbles in view

My thimbles hang on the wall in this great mirrored glass and wood display frame on my sewing room wall.  I don’t use any of these for my hand sewing – I use the ugly cheap one from JoAnn’s!

Do you have a sewing paraphernalia collection of some kind?   How about miniature sewing machines perhaps or scissors of all types?  Leave a comment.  I’d love to hear about it.


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  1. That’s quite an impressive collection! That India one! Wow! I never thought thimbles could be so ornate. Thanks for sharing!

    I guess the only thing I collect sewing-wise is fabric! I try to buy at least one piece of fabric on every international vacation. 🙂

    • Hey Rachel – Even though I think my collection is pretty cool, there are some amazing thimbles out in world-wide-web! I can get behind the international fabric-collecting idea, too. Now that my passport is current and ready to go, watch out. I can add to my already-extensive stash.

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