Sewing Pointe Shoes Ribbons & Elastic

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There are many ways to sew ribbons and elastics on your pointe shoes. The method chosen will depend on the look desired as well as how various methods secure your shoe. Presented here is the traditional method. Please consult your teacher for recommendations.


• Cut the pre-measured ribbon (Bunheads ribbon is packaged in 2.5 yard lengths) into 4 equal pieces. A flame may be used to melt all cut edges to prevent the ribbon from fraying: parental supervision is recommended for young dancers.

• Fold down the satin upper at the heel until it rests fiat against the sock lining.

• Place the ribbon at the folds edge on a slight angle toward the front of the shoe and lightly mark it with a pencil on both sides of the ribbon. Do the same on the other side of the shoe.

• Sew the ribbon (shiny side out if double faced) to the inside lining and across the inside of the binding. Be careful not to catch the drawstring when sewing through the binding.

- Leave roughly W of ribbon inside the shoe to make for secure sewing of all edges.

- Stitching should not be visible on the satin surface.

- Sew the ribbons on a slight angle toward the front of the shoe.

• Repeat steps two through four on the other pointe shoe.


Elastics can be used on pointe shoes as a ribbon insert, traditionally across the instep, or more toward the back of the heels to keep shoes on the feet. Please consult your teacher for recommendations.

• Decide on the placement of your elastic. Traditional placement is a single elastic strap across the instep placed inside the shoe just behind the ribbon. It is sewn at a slight forward angle so it rests flat against the instep.

• Put the shoe on and stretch the elastic across the instep to determine the necessary length (leaving %" on each side to sew onto the shoe). Make sure it is snug but not constrictive. Cut to the desired length.

• Sew as you would the ribbons making sure not to sew through the drawstring.


Pointe Shoes are traditionally made using among other materials a special paste which hardens to create the box. This allows the shoe to support and mold to the dancer's foot. Think of the box as you would papier- mache.

Since feet sweat up to a half pint of water during an hour class, if is imperative that the shoes be allowed to dry com­pletely. It can take as long as 36 hours for a shoe to be completely dry. If you dance at least three times a week it is a good idea to have multiple pairs of shoes.

• Once done wearing, be sure to remove any padding. They need to dry separately.

• Place the shoes in a mesh bag so they can breathe and the moisture can evaporate. Transport them home in the mesh bag separate from your dance bag.

- Be careful not to squash your shoes when they are damp. V/e want them to dry in the shape of your foot.

• Once home simply take them out of the bag and lay them flat to dry.

- No need for shapers or special moisture absorbents though there is no harm.

How to Sew Pointe Shoes Video