One of my favorite memories from ballet was when I finally made it en pointe. It’s the moment that separates the serious dancers from the novices. Little did I realize how serious things would get once I crossed the threshold into more professional training and increased competition.

But this isn’t about the intensity that goes on in the ballet world–which I’m sure you’re all familiar with–this is about how to get started once you make it en pointe. Obviously, you need need to get fitted for pointe shoes, but the next step is breaking them in and sewing the ribbons and elastics.

How to Sew Pointe Shoe Ribbons

If you’re lucky, then you’ll have a pointe shoe kit with the ribbons and elastic pre cut with all of the materials. We offer one (shameless product plug) and it has all of the items you need right out of the box.

Typically, you’ll find the ribbons in 2 1/4 meter length. You’ll need to cut the ribbon in half, then in half again. This way you should have four equal length pieces.

Now the fun begins.

  1. Start by taking one piece of ribbon and folding it over 1 centimeter, and then folding it another 2 centimeters.
  2. Next, fold the back of the shoe forward and down. You’ll need to do this to attach the Ribbons at the right angle. Mark each side of the shoe on the cotton lining of the angle made.
  3. Now, place the folded end of the ribbon at the marked position. You’ll need to sew along the side of the shoe and the cotton lining, but not through the satin exterior. You may need to angle the Ribbons forward for a more secure fit.

Make sure to use strong waxed thread (some dancers use dental floss) and gold the ribbon to give a cleaner look with more support. We recommend using needles with small eyes so it creates smaller holes in the material. It’ll be tougher to get the thread through the eye, but easier to get the Ribbons more secure.

Tip: If you need additional support, then you can sew the Ribbons closer to the inner sole but at the same angle.

Sewing Elastics on Pointe Shoes

Once you’ve gotten the ribbons sewn on, you’ll want to see your elastics. This should be pretty easy. Some dancers like to sew the elastics near the ribbon to conceal them, but others like to place them at the back of the heel. This will help prevent chafing of your Achilles’ tendon.

At the end of this process you should have yourself a perfectly sewn pointe shoe and you’re ready to dance!

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