Getting your first pair of pointe shoes is an exciting milestone in many dancers’ careers. However, buying the shoes is only one part of the process, and sewing ribbons on can be quite intimidating if you’ve never done it before. Below we’ve outlined our favourite way to sew pointe ribbons into shoes.
A few disclaimers: you must get teacher approval before you begin sewing - once the ribbons are sewn into the shoe, they can’t be returned. Secondly, this is only a general guide for sewing ribbons. Certain teachers have methods they swear by and require their dancers to sew the same way. Also, as pointe dancers gain more experience, they often alter the placement of ribbons and elastics slightly according to preference.
Things You’ll Need
- A pair of pointe shoes, fitted by a pointe specialist
- 2.5 yards of pointe ribbon
- A pencil
- A lighter or some clear nail polish
- A needle and thread (the Bunheads Stitch Kit is great for pointe users)
Sewing Your Pointe Shoe Ribbons
STEP 1: Cut pointe ribbon (2.5 yards) into 4 equal parts
STEP 2: To prevent fraying, run the ends of your ribbon through a flame quickly (must be done by or with an adult) or apply a thin layer of clear nail polish along each end.
STEP 3: Fold the back of the heel forward (toward the toe) so that it’s laying flat against the inner sole (AKA insole) of the shoe
STEP 4: Draw a line along the inside folds of the heel, from the insole to the drawstring
STEP 5: Double fold the end of a piece of ribbon, then place the folded edge in the bottom of the shoe. The centre of the ribbon should lay along the diagonal line you marked earlier, and the shiny side of the ribbon should face toward the outside of the shoe
STEP 6: Using a whipstitch, sew along the edge of the ribbon down from the drawstring to the insole, along the insole toward the toe, and back up the other edge of the ribbon to the drawstring. Be sure to only sew into the lining and not the satin, and avoid catching the actual drawstring itself when you sew
STEP 7: Repeat step 6 on the other side of the shoe
STEP 8: Repeat whole process on second shoe
There you have it, a simple, secure way to sew your pointe ribbons. If the heel of your shoe is slipping around on your foot, perhaps you’ll need some pointe elastics as well. Check out our favourite way to sew elastics here.