Chicago Dance Supply | November 26th, 2010 | Posted in Class Attire, How To


Before sewing your ribbons and elastic, it’s best to ask your teacher if she/he prefers that you use a specific technique. Presented here are several options. Choose the technique based on your own personal preferences and/or your teacher’s recommendations.

What you will need: 2-21/2 yards of 7/8″ wide ribbon, 3/4″ wide elastic, scissors, pencil, lighter, strong sewing needle, and waxed dental floss or reinforced thread.

Attaching Pointe Shoe Ribbons: Method 1

1. Where to attach the ribbons: Wearing your pointe shoes, pointe your foot and take notice of the highest point of your arch on both sides of each foot. Using a pencil, make markings on the inside of the shoe designating where you will sew your ribbons.

2. Prepare the ribbons: Cut the entire length of your ribbon into 4 equal parts. Using a lighter, gently run the flame across the ends of the ribbons (young dancers should always be supervised by an adult). Slightly melting the ends of the ribbons prevents fraying.

3. Position the ribbons: Fold about one inch of ribbon under before sewing. Position ribbons all the way down in the shoe in order to ensure a strong attachment. Pin ribbons to shoes and test placement before sewing. Experiment with the angle of the ribbons (from perpendicular to the shank to slightly tilted forward) so that they lie flat against the instep when tied.

4. Sew the ribbons: Stitch along the top near the drawstring then continue your stitch around all four sides so your stitching pattern resembles a box. Only sew through the canvas lining of the shoe. Stitches should not show through the satin exterior.

5. Be careful not to sew through the drawstring.

Attaching Pointe Shoe Ribbons: Method 2

1. Prepare the ribbons: Cut the entire length of your ribbon into 2 equal parts. Using a lighter, gently run the flame across the ends of the ribbons. Slightly melting the ends of the ribbons prevents fraying (young dancers should always be supervised by an adult).

2. Where to attach the ribbons: Place a ribbon underneath the highest point of your arch while standing flat in the pointe shoe. With one hand holding each end of the ribbon, pull the ribbon taut still allowing the foot to remain rested against the bottom of the shoe while standing flat. Using a pencil, make markings on the inside of the shoe designating where you will sew your ribbons.

3. Position the ribbons: Place the middle of the ribbon on the middle of sockliner as designated by your pencil markings. Stitch the ribbon on both sides of the shoe, keeping tension on the portion that will run underneath the arch. Only stitch through the canvas lining of the shoe. Stitches should not show through the satin exterior.

4. Be careful not to sew through the drawstring.

Attaching Pointe Shoe Elastic

Elastics can be sewn on the inside or outside of the shoe. Sewing the elastics to the outside of the shoe prevents skin irritation often caused b the elastic rubbing against the foot.

1. Measure elastic to a length that will attach at the back of the heel, around the ankle and back to the heel again.

2. Elastic should be attached about one fingers width away from the shoe’s back seam on both sides of the shoe forming a loop.

3. Position elastics all the way down in the shoe if sewn on the inside. If sewn on the outside, position elastics so that they reach low on the heel.

4. Pin elastics to shoes and test placement before sewing. Be sure that elastics fit snugly but not too tight.

5. Sew elastics tilted forward so that they will lie flat against the front of the ankle. Stitch along the top near the drawstring then continue your stitch around all four sides so your stitching pattern resembles a box.

6. Be careful not to sew through the drawstring.