How To Properly Sew Ribbons and Elastics On Pointe Shoes
After reading our blog on how a pointe shoe should fit, you’ve probably found the perfect pointe shoe for your foot and can’t wait to dance in them. But before you can do that, there is one more crucial step…
Sewing on your elastics and ribbons!
Unlike other dance shoes, the elastics and ribbons for pointe shoes do not typically come pre-attached when you purchase them. This is so they can be placed in the ideal position to provide your foot with the ultimate amount of support.
Although attaching ribbons and elastics to your pointe shoes is fairly easy, it does take some practice to learn the proper placement and methods.
Below is a helpful video from Lazy Dancer Tips to demonstrate how to sew on your ribbons and elastics followed by step by step instructions and useful tips to reference.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Pointe Shoes
- Pointe Shoe Ribbons
- Pointe Shoe Elastics
- Sewing Needle and Thread
- Pen or Pencil
Let’s get sewing!
STEP 1: MEASURE ELASTICS
Place your foot in the pointe shoe. With one end of the elastic positioned in front of your outer ankle, stretch the elastic across the top of your foot and place the other end behind your inner ankle. Add approximately 1 ½” in length to account for the elastic that will be sewn inside the shoe. Cut a second piece of elastic to the same length. Repeat this process with the shoe of your other foot.
Loop Around Ankle Style
Place your foot in the pointe shoe and loop the elastic around your ankle with both ends of the elastic sitting on either side of the heel seam. Add approximately 1 ½” of extra elastic to place in the shoe for sewing. Repeat this process with the shoe of your other foot.
STEP 2: DETERMINE ELASTIC POSITION
Fold the heel forward so it lays flat against the insole of the shoe. Place the elastic where the top of the heel sits perpendicular to the side of the pointe shoe. Leave approximately ¾” of elastic inside of the shoe and pin or sew in place. Be sure to keep a safe distance from the side seam of the shoe.
Once you have one end of the elastic in place, stretch the other end to the back of the opposite side of the pointe shoe. Position the elastic approximately 1cm or ½” away from the heel seam. Place ¾” of elastic inside the shoe and pin or sew in place.
Repeat with the second piece of elastic crossing over the foot the opposite way.
Loop Around Ankle Style
Place one end of the elastic on one side of the heel seam, staying about ½” or 1cm away from the seam. The elastic should be on a slight angle to better fit around the foot. Leave ¾” of elastic to be attached to the shoe. The elastic can be sewn on the inside of the shoe or, if you want to avoid it rubbing against your heel, you can also sew it on the outside of the shoe. Once you have the elastic positioned, pin or sew in place. Repeat this process with the other end of your elastic placing it on the opposite side of the heel seam.
STEP 3: SEW ON ELASTICS
By threading the needle in and out of the shoe, sew a basic stitch around the edge of the elastic where it attaches to the shoe. Be sure to not sew in the seam or pocket where the elastic drawstring sits along the top edge of the shoe. Finish the stitching with a double knot for a secure hold.
STEP 4: MEASURE AND PREPARE YOUR RIBBONS
Measure one piece of ribbon to match the length of your forearm and cut the ribbon just above your elbow. You can add a bit of extra ribbon to be safe. Measure three more pieces of ribbon at the same length, leaving you with a total of 4 ribbons (two for each shoe).
Once your ribbons are cut, burn the ends of each ribbon with your lighter to keep them from fraying.
STEP 5: DETERMINE RIBBON POSITION
Fold the heel of your shoe down towards the toe so it lays flat against the inner sole. Place one end of the ribbon where the heel meets the side of the shoe, and follow the angle of the heel’s fold. You can also mark the fold line with a pen or pencil and place the ribbon along the marking. The ribbon should sit at an approximate 45 degree angle so it lays flat against the foot when tied.
Once the ribbon is in position, pin or sew in place. Repeat with the second ribbon on the other side of the shoe.
STEP 5: SEW ON RIBBONS
By threading the needle in and out of the shoe, sew a basic stitch around the edge of the ribbon where it attaches to the shoe. Be sure to not sew in the seam where the elastic drawstring sits along the top edge of the shoe. Finish the stitching with a double knot for a secure hold.
STEP 6: TRY ON YOUR SHOES
Now that your ribbons and elastics are sewn on to your pointe shoes, try on the shoes and tie the ribbons to make sure the positioning is to your liking. If you have extra ribbon hanging from the back, just cut off the excess and burn the edges once again to keep them from fraying.