This was a huge multi level costume shop that did everything from Broadway shows, to opera, ballet and especially the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus each year. The magenta petticoats hanging from the ceiling are probably for the Circus showgirls. I'm standing next to a costume for an opera entitled "Angle of Repose" being made for the San Francisco Opera ... but I digress ...
The reason I'm showing you this photo, besides the fact I can't believe I was ever that young, this was the time I learned to use a thimble. I starting sewing at age 10 and didn't use a thimble until I was about 23 because every time I tried it slowed me down SO much. It felt like trying to sew with my feet.
But, this wss the first time in my life that I was sewing 8 hours a day and most of it was hand sewing. At this shop the jobs were very closely defined. There were the machine operators who did ALL the machine sewing and I was not one of them. My job was to cut, pin and hand sew. My middle finger was aching. So after struggling through a week of awkwardness, all of a sudden the thimble felt like a part of my hand and I was able to sew much faster!!!!
#1 Take several short stitches (5 - 10) pulling the thread just enough for those small stitches THEN pull the full length of the thread through. This is what I am doing in the photo above.
All learned at my first professional job, still used today.