Sewing Pointe shoes takes
patience and practice. Do not get discouraged if you make mistakes, stitches can
always be ripped out and re-sewn. I encourage the girls to learn how to sew them
themselves because they will develop preferences for how their shoes should
"hug" their feet. A book I would strongly encourage the girls to read
is "The Pointe Book", by Janice
Barringer. It is all about Pointe
shoes, exercises for Pointe work, professional ballerinas on Pointe and more.
This book can be ordered from The Dance Works (1-800-762-0789) or from Barnes
and Noble. Congratulations and good luck!
If the ribbons are not
already cut into 4 pieces, fold the entire length of ribbon in half and cut
it one time. Fold the two pieces in half again and cut one more time. Now
there should be 4 equal pieces of ribbon.
Next, fold the back
seam of the shoe against the inside of the shoe toward the front (see Figure
1). Then draw a light pencil line along the inside of the shoe-along the
new "fold" created (see Figure
2). This is the angle you will sew the ribbons (angled slightly forward)
(see Figure 3).
Take the ribbon and
fold about one inch under (folding makes the attachment strong avoiding
raveling) (see Figure 4).
Pin the ribbon to the shoe in the middle of the pencil line (see Figure
5). Sew small whip stitches around the two sides and bottom of the
ribbon using a double strand of heavy cotton thread or dental floss (see Figure
6). Go through all thicknesses of the ribbon, but only through the white
canvas shoe lining. Ideally, stitches should not show through the exterior
satin. When sewing across the top of the ribbon, use a small running stitch,
but avoid sewing through the upper binding and drawstring (see Figure
Repeat step 3 with the
other ribbon, and steps 2 & 3 with the other shoe.
After the ribbons are
sewn on the shoes, bring them into class to make sure they are sewn properly.
They will then receive instruction on how to tie the shoes and the ends will
be trimmed (You will need to apply clear fingernail polish or fray-check to
the ends AFTER they have been trimmed to avoid raveling). Most students will
need elastic on the shoes to help keep them on their feet. We will determine
after a couple of classes which method will be necessary for the best fit. The
two basic ways are the Cross and the Loop. With the Cross, you will need to
cut the elastic in 4 equal parts. Sew a piece of elastic right over the part
of the ribbons that you stitched in step 3 (one piece of elastic for each
ribbon). Take the free end of one piece of elastic and stitch along the side
seam of the opposite side (towards the heel). Repeat with the other side and
the other shoe (see Figure 8).
With the Loop, pin one end of elastic to the inside of the shoe by the back
seam, put the shoe on and loop the elastic over the ankle and to the back on
the other side. Make Sure it is snug but not too tight. Mark or pin and sew to
the inside of the shoe. The ends should be stitched on either side of the back
seam. You may not need all of the elastic, so trim it to fit (see Figure
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