The stiletto was first used by Italians in the late fifteenth century as a weapon. They arose from the awl, a needle-pointed weapon with a narrow blade. These weapons were used as a means of intimidation and a form of thrusting. A typical stiletto had a single-piece cast metal handle and a blade forged into a dense rod. Typically, the tip of the stiletto was pointed. Several different types of awl were later produced, including a square or round cross-section.
A stiletto knife has a lever on the front of the handle and a spring in the base. The button allows the blade to extend. The lever is moved out of the way by pushing a button. A lever moves out of the way by the spring. The blade extends from the front of the handle. A swivel bolster picks up the lever to lock the stiletto in place.
A traditional stiletto is made of metal and is worn on the index finger. A trolley needle is another type. It is similar to a thimble and is used for sewing to prevent seam allowances from flipping. A two-prong stiletto is often used for larger sections of fabric. A skewer can be a good alternative for a metal or plastic stiletto.