DIY Thimble

Over the past couple weeks, my schedule has had a higher than usual concentration of the kind of meetings where one sits off-camera and listens to a presenter talk. Like many engineers who knit in meetings, I find that keeping my hands busy helps me focus. Knitting puts me on the losing side of a battle between “don’t drop any stitches” and the laws of physics, however, so instead I’ve been hand sewing quite a bit.

I’ve been aware for some time that sewing with a thimble is Objectively Better than sewing without, but I somehow made it to adulthood without learning to use a thimble properly, let alone avoid losing one between setting a project down one month and picking it up again the next. I have DIY’d a lot of various leather thimbles over the years to try to sew with them, but the designs have been a hassle to assemble, non-functional, or both (sewing a leather thimble is a chicken and egg problem: you need one to make one without great inconvenience or pain). However, I have finally stumbled across a design that doesn’t fail or annoy me in the ways that all the previous ones did.

It’s embarrassingly easy to make. By embarrassingly, I mean “why didn’t I figure this out decades ago?!” All you need is some surgical tape, and a piece of leather about as wide as your finger and long enough to wrap over your fingertip.


1. Wrap your finger in a couple layers of surgical tape, sticky side out. You want it tight enough to not fall off too easily, but loose enough to slip on and off later.


2. Put the piece of leather onto your finger over the tape, so it covers the spot you keep accidentally jabbing with the needle when you fail to use a thimble.

  1. Wrap the whole thing with a couple layers of surgical tape, sticky side in.

That’s literally all there is to it. If you don’t like using leather, cardboard might work, or any plastic that’s flexible but sturdy enough to be hard to jab a needle through.

The one of these that I made earlier in the week and have been using ever since has molded to the shape of my finger and only gotten more comfortable over time.


P.S. That’s a heavy silk jacquard, pretty on both sides, 28” wide without good selvedges but they currently have it on Please Go Away sale for $3.13/yard. The fibers burn and smell like silk, and it feels like silk, so I don’t think they’re lying about the composition. The selvedges aren’t too nice, one side is fuzzy and the other seems to have just been cut, but for a price like that I can’t complain. The orange is more coppery in natural light than the photos make it look on my monitor.