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.


Accessories: Black, White, Gold, Silver

*Slideshow will change or you can click on the arrows to the left/right to advance to next photo.

Because I love to sew, fabric purchases are my first and foremost weakness. (My family can attest to that!) Running a close second is a compulsion to purchase RTW accessories, completing the artistic vision I have in my head.   Sometimes I resort to making my own jewelry out of beads and findings, which takes third place.   Okay, I have said it here:   NO MORE HOBBIES!

It was great fun putting some combinations together of some pieces I have collected over the years. Some are old, some new, but because the black/white or black/cream pairings are so constant in fashion, it has been easy to amass quite a pile.   To see the coordinating Small Black Capsule wardrobe pieces, click here.

Links to buy these would be futile as I pop into stores now and then (Ross, Target, Stein Mart) and consider myself lucky to find seasonal, affordable accessories that last for years.   The same is true for beads and findings from Michael’s, Jo Ann’s or the Tucson Bead Shows.   I hope this post serves as a point of inspiration to make, sew, shop, or thrift treasures that fit your style and wardrobe.

Do you have a collection of black accessories ready to wear for most occasions in your life?  Do you weaken at the sight of just the right accessory?

How To Sew An Infinity Scarf

This may be one of my easiest tutorials on this site…..talk about addictive! These can be made in 30 minutes once you get the hang of it. The fabric can be a knit or woven, which means the width can vary from 45″-60″. I prefer knits because they are soft on the neck, don’t wrinkle, and can be stretched to get over your head. They can even wrap three times making a collar, if desired. The slideshow shows some of the recent remnants-turned-neck-jewelry I’ve made and their finished widths so you can see how they drape. (the navy/white knit and multi stripe knit are wrapped three times because they are narrow).

What you will need to get started:
1.) Sewing machine
2.) Fabric of your choice-remnants of 1 yard or less
3.) Matching thread
4.) Hand sewing needle
5.) Scissors
6.) Ruler
7.) Iron (optional, but provides better results)

I will list the steps here and then show pictures to help clarify.
Step 1.) Fold fabric in half lengthwise, bringing selvages together. This will be a seam allowance width away from your finished width that sits around your neck. For example: 1/2 yard of fabric (18″) will make a 9″ scarf.

Step 2.) Square up fabric so it is the same measurement in width from the selvages to the fold.

Selvages together, RST, pin

Selvages together, RST, pin

Step 3.) Pin lengthwise raw edges, leaving 2-4″ near the selvage open. This will be the opening for turning right side out.
Step 4.) Sew lengthwise edge except for the 2-4″ opening.
Step 5.) Press seam allowance flat.
Step 6.) Turn right side out.
Step 7.) With RST(Right Sides Together), align selvages and pin together. This makes the loop.
Step 8.) Sew just past the selvage with a 3/4″ seam allowance or enough to clear any markings of the selvage.
Step 9.) Trim off any selvage.
Step 10.) Press seam allowance either open or to one side, whichever is easier.
Step 11.) Turn right sides out.
Step 12.) With needle and thread, fold edges to inside and slip stitch opening closed.
That’s It!!

Three piece ensemble, navy knit

Three piece ensemble, navy knit

Here is another option. I made a tank, shrug and infinity scarf out of the same material. The infinity scarf makes the tank look like a cowl neck and provides more warmth for chilly weather.
Remove and put in your bag when it gets warm.

Have fun making these for yourself or as gifts.