How To Sew Ribbons On Pointe Shoes
Sewing Ribbons On Pointe Shoes
Many ballet students often ask how to sew pointe shoes, particularly those who are new to starting on pointe. This can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have just bought your first new pair of pointe shoes as let's face it - pointe shoes are not cheap so you don't want to get it wrong!
Spending hours darning the end of your shoes might not be your idea of fun (you might never have seen a darning needle before!)
Then there's the question of how to sew the ribbons on your pointe shoes and how to break them in. You'll also want to know how to look after your pointe shoes to make sure they last as long as they should....
Kimberley's guide: '5 Points For Pointe Shoes' answers many of these questions, but for now, let's take a look at how to correctly sew ribbons on your pointe shoes...
How To Sew Ribbons On Your Pointe Shoes
First you will need to cut your new ribbons into 4 equal lengths. For a high quality ribbon, we recommend the pointe shoe ribbon by Tendu.
Fold the heel of the pointe shoe over and mark it with a pen in a diagonal line:
Pointe Shoe Ribbon Placement
You need to sew your ribbons at an angle as this helps to pull the side of the pointe shoe around your foot giving you more security. Use the pen line as a guide:
Instructions For Sewing The Ribbon On Your Pointe Shoes
Begin in the corner and using a running stitch with a standard needle and thread just work your way around the ribbon in the shape of a square or rectangle. I always sew an extra line back along the top for extra security:
Your sewing does not have to be neat but take your time to do it properly. Avoid coming through onto the satin but the odd stray stitch will be fine! Make sure that you do not sew over the drawstring otherwise you won’t be able to adjust them.
How To Tie Pointe Shoes
You now need to try your pointe shoes on. When you are doing up your pointe shoes you need to tie up your ribbons with your foot flat on the floor with a bent knee. This will make sure that when you stand up and start dancing your ribbons won’t be too tight when you plié.
Always start with wrapping the inside ribbon first followed by the outside ribbon and finish by tying them in a knot just under the groove on the inside of your foot by your ankle bone. DO NOT tie your ribbons on the back of your achilles:
Write on the back of each shoe a simple R and L for Right and Left and adjust your drawstrings to make sure that the shoes feel snug. You will have four ends of your ribbons that may need cutting if they are too long.
I always leave about 3-4cm in length so there is enough spare ribbon to tuck them under after tying the knot.
Once you have cut your ribbons they will now be different lengths, which is why you need to label the shoes R and L before cutting your ribbons.
How To Stop Pointe Shoe Ribbons From Fraying
To stop the ribbons from fraying you can cut a small triangle in the end - simply fold the end of the ribbon in half and snip upwards.
How To Sew Elastic On Pointe Shoes
If you plan to sew pointe shoe elastics onto your pointe shoes you might find it easier to sew onto the shoe if you turn the heel of the pointe shoe inside out:
The position of the elastic should be behind the ribbon and angled in the same direction, so as to wrap around the front of your ankle to help stop the pointe shoe slipping off your heel.
You might also be interested in a Pointe Shoe Sewing Kit... We're delighted to recommend the ultimate dancers sewing kit by Tendu. This pointe shoe stitch kit contains everything you need for sewing ribbons on your pointe shoes, darning your pointe shoes and much more...
The Pointe Shoe Sewing Kit is one of the many lovely gifts for dancers that we stock at PDE Dance Supplies.
We also stock a great selection of Pointe Shoe Accessories.
This guide to sewing ribbons on pointe shoes was written by Michael Berkin. It is an excerpt from our full guide to preparing and caring for your pointe shoes: '5 Points For Pointe Shoes' originally written by Royal Ballet School trained ex Professional Ballerina, Kimberley Berkin.
Kimberley danced professionally with English National Ballet and Ballet Ireland before completing the Professional Dancers Teaching Diploma with the Royal Academy Of Dance, gaining a Distinction.
Kimberley has taught at Northern School Of Contemporary Dance as a full time Lecturer in Ballet Technique. She was also the Director Of Courses and Principal of the Ballet Associates Programme at Professional Dance Experience for many years and has been invited to teach ballet masterclasses at a number of dance schools across the UK