Beginner Pointe Tips: Sewing Ribbons and Elastics

Hello dancers and welcome back to From The Top! In today’s blog post we will be talking about sewing pointe shoes for new pointe dancers who may not have much experience doing so. As intimidating as it may seem, sewing pointe shoes are actually very similar to sewing standard ballet shoes! The technique is only slightly different in a few ways, but for the most part, the process is fundamentally the same. In this post we will discuss some of my own techniques that I use to sew my pointe shoes, some ways to help them stay attached and ultimately what to do if they come loose. So without further ado, let’s get right to it!

Tip #1

Location, Location, Location!

Tip numero uno is all about location! “Lex, these are pointe ribbons we’re talking about. What does location have to do with anything?” Well, I’m glad you asked, my dear! One of the main factors that will go into how well your ribbons and elastics will support you in your shoe is all about where you sew them. Everything in a pointe shoe, from the box to the shank, plays a pivotal role in the performance of the shoe and the ribbons/elastics are no different. For the best support, I like to sew my elastics a few inches in front of my ankles. I then like to sew my ribbons a few inches above my elastics, right where my arch begins. This allows them not only to support me better, but also makes for a beautiful display when tied!

Tip #2

Pin The Mark On The Pointe Shoe

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty! As stated in the tip above, my favorite place to sew my ribbons and elastics is slightly in front of my ankles. However, the way that I most accurately place them where I want them to be is by using a few sewing pins and marking my desired location. I first unravel my ribbons and place them in the bottom of each pointe shoe.I then start the marking process by slipping my foot into my pointe shoe on top of the ribbon. I now take my elastic, and with my thumbs keeping the elastic in place on each side, I pull the elastic as taunt around my foot as I wish. Still keeping my thumbs in place, I take a sewing pin and place it on the part of the elastic that I wish to sew and repeat on the opposite side. After which, I take two more pins and pin my markings on my ribbons in the spot where I would like to sew them as well. Once I’m all done, I take my feet out of my shoes, cut the extra ribbon in the bottom (in between where I have placed my pins) and commence to sew!

Tips #3

Double Stitching Is The Way To Go!

Now that you have sewn your pointe shoes, let’s keep them in place! Simply put, double stitching is the GOAT. By using the double stitching method, sewing in one direction and then sewing back over what you’ve already done from the opposite direction, you’ll have an even better chance of keeping those bad boys in place and lessen the risk of them coming loose in less than favorable times. Finish it off by giving them the old tug test to see if your stitching loosens when they are pulled, try them on for size and you’re good to go!

What To Do If They Come Loose

Even though we have taken the tedious time to sew our pointe shoes, sometimes despite all our efforts they come loose anyway. However, there are two items that I am adamant about keeping in your bag as a dancer en pointe: 1)  Extra needle and thread and 2) Safety Pins. If your ribbons or elastics come undone and you have enough time, take your needle and thread and simply sew them back on. However, in those times where they may come undone during class (been there, done that), that’s where the good ol’ safety pins wonderfully come into play! Simply grab one out of your bag and pin them where your stitching would be, and bada bing bada boom! You’re all good until you can sew them back up!

And most importantly, remember…

Practice makes perfect! Sewing pointe shoes is literally a skill that we all must learn as ballet dancers, and like every other skillset, it takes much practice to be able to sew like a pro. However, as you keep dancing and buy many, many….many……MANY more pointe shoes, you will learn what technique works best for you, how to pin the perfect placement that will give you the best support and get even better with keeping them in place! So by all means, practice much patience with yourself and it will become second nature in no time!

Thank you so much for hanging out with us today! We hope this post was able to help you as you sharpen your pointe sewing skills. As always, we wish you a wonderful Friday, an awesome weekend and until our next blog post, remember…

Keep dancing!


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