How to Sew Your Pointe Shoe Ribbons

Monday, September 23, 2013

We have had several questions about this, so I'm excited to address it in a blog. As with almost everything in ballet, sewing your pointe shoe ribbons is a very individual thing. Everyone's feet are different, and will need a slightly different placement. This is why I believe in learning to sew your own shoes! (But believe me, I feel the pain of disliking sewing shoes - it can feel like a daunting task!)

Additionally, I believe sewing your own shoes gives you both ownership and pride about the privilege of wearing pointe shoes, as well as a much greater control over them. If you can sew them yourself, and one day a stitch pops and the ribbon comes off, you can have them fixed in 5 minutes, as opposed to having to wait for someone else to fix them for you.

I have my routine down so that I can sew a pair of shoes in about 30 minutes, by hand. I prefer to sew by hand because I double up my thread, and use rather thick thread. You can also use dental floss. I never have, but I hear many dancers do. Comment below about what you use!

Here are my shoes:
First of all, notice that I cross my elastic. Not everyone will need or want to do this, but it works well with my foot because it supports my ankles. I also like the fact that I can sew the top ribbon and elastic at the same time, which is a huge time saver.

On the outside, it still has a very clean look, with just two sets of stitches.

Here you can see the inside where the ribbon and elastic are sewn together.

Here are several videos on how to sew pointe shoes, so you can see some different perspectives. Remember, in the end, it's all up to what works for you and your foot! You should also consult your teacher or coach to make sure that they don't have any specific requirements at their studio. Some places are more strict about all elastic and ribbons being sewn on the inside; some think they should be sewn on the outside. Always follow their recommendations/requirements first!

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