How to Sew Pointe Shoes in 2023 – Get A Free Detailed Guide


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How to Sew Pointe Shoes

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Many of you have seen Barbie ballerinas in childhood, and teenage girls love classical ballet. What’s so different about this dance form is the dancers dance on their toes, which looks attractive ... Read more

Many of you have seen Barbie ballerinas in childhood, and teenage girls love classical ballet. What’s so different about this dance form is the dancers dance on their toes, which looks attractive and painful to some. But in reality, they have ribbons and elastics on their shoes which keeps them comfortable.

I realized many ballerinas don’t know how to sew pointe shoes. If you are one of them, put your trust in us. Today we are here to solve the most common issue that ballerinas face: how to sew pointe shoes. So without wasting any more time, let’s get started.

How to Sew Pointe Shoes in 2023 - Get A Free Detailed Guide

Before we discuss how to sew pointe shoes, let’s uncover why ballerinas sew ribbons on pointe shoes. Aren’t you curious about it? If yes, then continue reading this article.

According to my research, ballet dancers use ribbons or elastics on their shoes to keep themselves comfortable the whole time. It also gives viewers an illusion that ballerinas are floating in the air and their feet are not touching the ground.

Stepwise Guide on Sewing Pointe Shoes

After getting a beautiful pair of pointe shoes, you need to sew them with ribbon or elastic. You must feel down because you can’t wear your pointe shoes immediately. Do you also find sewing pointe shoes a difficult task? Well, no worries, our guide will make it a piece of cake even for teenagers. So are you ready?

Things You Need to Sew the Pointe Shoes

After getting your pointe shoes, you need to get the necessary things on a table for sewing your pointe shoes. You don’t have to worry if you are doing it for the very first time because I have got you covered. Below I am enclosing the things you will need for sewing your pointe shoes. So here you go.

  • Cotton thread matching your shoes
  • Thimble for protection
  • Needle
  • Ribbon
  • Elastic
  • Pencil for marking
  • Sewing pins
  • Scissors

Grab all the mentioned stuff in a comfortable place and follow our guide to sew your pointe shoes like a pro. Read the below-mentioned steps and follow them carefully to get this done in just a few minutes.

Before we discuss the sewing steps in detail, do you want to know why ballet dancers use elastic and ribbon only? The elastic secures the shoe on the dancer’s feet while the ribbon supports the feet and ankles.

Step One: Marking the Shoes for Ribbon Placement

marking the shoes

In the first step, you will need to mark the shoes for a rough sketch of where the sewing will be done. For this step, you will need a pencil and pointe shoes. Most commonly, the ribbon is sewn approximately two inches away from the heels on both sides.

If you are experienced, you can sew the ribbon directly, but for beginners, it is advised to mark it with a pencil and then sew the ribbon following the pencil markings.

Marking Guide

All ballerinas sewing their pointe shoes for the first time must be anxious. What if their marking goes wrong? Are you unsure whether you mark your shoes correctly for the ribbon placement? We have come up with the following points to help beginners. So let’s get started.

  • Grab your shoes and bend the heel forward.
  • Then take a sharp pencil and mark the positions where the heel meets the bottom of the shoes.
  • Don’t forget to mark both sides of the shoes because you will be sewing the ribbon on both sides.
  • Once the marking is done on the cotton lining of the shoes, you can unfold the heel and bring the shoes back to their original shape.

Step Two: Getting the Ribbon for the Pointe Shoes

Ribbon for shoes

Now you will need ribbon to sew on your shoes. Try to buy the ribbon that matches your pointe shoes because it gives them a tidy look. Remember that the ribbon for pointe shoes will be a single long piece. So to use this on both sides of each shoe, you will need to cut it into four equal pieces.

Step Three: Sewing the Ribbon on the Pointe Shoes

Once you have cut the ribbon into four pieces, move on to the next step. In this step, you will stitch the ribbon on the shoes using the markings as a guide. Grab a piece of ribbon, place it in the position marked with a pencil, and start sewing it with the help of a needle. Wear a thimble on your thumb if you are not used to sewing with a needle.

Sew the ribbon from all sides to secure it with the shoes. Don’t forget to leave the binding as it is because you will need to pull the drawstring later for adjustment. Repeat this step four times to sew the ribbon on each side of both shoes.

Step Four: Cut the Ribbon to the Desired Length

After you have sewed the ribbon on the shoes, cut the ribbon to the desired length with scissors. The best way to determine where you should cut the ribbon is by tieing them around your ankle and fixing them with a double knot. Note the length you are comfortable with and cut the excess with scissors. Don’t forget to leave some length for overhanging.

Protect the Ribbon from Fraying

After cutting the ribbon to the desired length, you need to protect the ribbon ends from fraying, and you can use different items for this purpose. Most girls use nail polish to seal the ends of the ribbon, but you can also use a lighter or matchstick to slightly burn the edges and protect them from wearing out.

Step Five: Sew Elastic on Your Pointe Shoes

You can stop here if you only want to sew the ribbon on your pointe shoes, but many ballerinas prefer having elastic on their shoes along with the ribbons.

So if you are also one of those ballerinas, keep following this guide, as elastic provides extra support to the shoes and prevents them from slipping off your heels. So if you want to sew elastic on your pointe shoes, read the passage below.

First of all, cut a small piece of elastic. Then fix it using a pin on the back of your shoes at least half an inch below the seam. You can use safety pins or sewing pins for this purpose. Carefully wrap it around your ankle and cut it just where you feel no discomfort. After cutting the elastic, sew it using the same needle and thread. Repeat the same for the other pair too.

A Pointe Shoe Review

Step Six: Repeat the Same Steps for Other Shoe

Repeat the steps above in the same order on the other shoes to complete it. Use the ribbon and elastic of the exact measurements you used for the first one.

The measurements are according to the foot size of dancers, but the method for calculating the measurements is the same for everybody. So no matter if you are a kid or an adult, you can follow the steps mentioned in our guide to mark where your ribbon or elastic should go.

Step Seven: Check the Comfortability

Lastly, after all the stitching, you can wear your pointe shoes and dance to check whether they feel comfortable. It is essential for your ballet shoes to feel comfortable because ballerinas have to wear them for long hours.

The elastic you use on your ballet shoes shouldn’t be too tight as it will injure the soft tissues of the feet. However, ballet teachers don’t allow beginners to use elastics on their shoes, so if you are a beginner, you should ask your teacher before sewing elastics or ribbons on your pointe shoes.

Ways of Sewing Elastic on the Shoes

You can sew elastic on your pointe shoes in two ways. You can either go for a single loop of elastic around your ankle or sew it in a criss-cross manner.

If you want to sew a single loop of elastic on the pointe shoes is the same as discussed above but if you are interested in sewing the elastic in a criss-cross manner, then keep on reading this article.

Sewing the Elastic in Criss-cross Manner

An alternative way to sew elastic on your ballet shoes is to fix two elastics in a criss-cross manner.

For this, you will need four elastic pieces instead of two. If you are sewing the elastic in a criss-cross manner, your elastic will cover the top of the foot, so you need to attach one end of the elastic to the heels while the other end will go towards the front to cover the ballerina’s foot completely.

You can estimate the length of the elastic you need by fixing it with pins before sewing it. After securing the elastic with pins, wear the shoes if comfortable. You can start stitching them with the help of a needle and thread. It would be best if you sewed both ends diagonally to fix the elastic in a criss-cross manner.

Why Do Ballerinas Use Ribbons and Elastics on Shoes?

Why Do Ballerinas Use Ribbons and Elastics on Shoes

Ballerinas do not use ribbons and elastics on their ballet shoes to make them look attractive. The main reason behind the use of ribbon and elastic is to provide support and comfort to the feet. Ribbons and elastic are used to customize the shoes’ fitting and hold the ballerina’s shoes firmly.

Bonus Tips

Although the guide mentioned above has covered all the essential steps and tips that one may need while stitching ribbon and elastic on their pointe shoes. But here are a few bonus tips for all the ballerinas who want to sew ribbons on their pointe shoes. So here you go.

  • The markings mentioned in our article work well for all ballerinas, but you can alter these depending on your comfort.
  • Always ask your teacher before sewing elastics and ribbons on your ballet shoes because many teachers prefer alternative ways of doing the same thing. Moreover, some teachers don’t allow sewing ribbons or elastics on the pointe shoes. We advise you to listen to your teachers and then take help from our guide.
  • You can sew ribbons and elastics inside as well as outside the shoes. Therefore, you can sew it where you are comfortable.
  • Always keep a stitching kit with you for emergencies.
  • Dental floss is much stronger than ordinary threads. So if you are good at sewing, you should go for dental floss to sew the ribbons to your pointe shoes.
  • Always double-line the ribbon and elastic to bind it more strongly to the shoes.
  • Please don’t repeat the same elastic for too long as they lose elasticity and won’t hold the foot well as it used to. In that case, we recommend replacing the elastic with a new one.
  • Use a thimble if you are not used to passing the needle through the fabric, as it needs to be pushed hard.
  • Pointe shoes with ribbons and elastics are non-returnable, so ensure you measure them before you step into sewing them.


How do you sew pointe shoes for beginners?

Sewing pointe shoes for beginners is the same as for experts. Many teachers don’t allow beginner ballerinas to have ribbons and elastics on their shoes, but the sewing method is the same for everyone.

How long does it take to sew pointe shoes?

Sewing pointe shoes may seem complicated and time-consuming, but it hardly takes fifteen to thirty minutes to sew both pointe shoes.

Are pointe shoes painful?

Yes, as ballerinas dance using their toes, this may be painful to some but endurable.

What age do most ballerinas start pointe?

Many ballet trainers advise their students to start pointe shoes before they hit their teenage years. So a ballet student should be at least 11 and have some basic ballet training to switch to pointe.

Can you practice pointe at home?

You can practice pointe at home with consistent studio training in ballet dancing. Generally, three days of practice per week at studios is enough to start practicing pointe at home. Still, for practicing pointe at home, you should take guidance from your teacher or online videos.

Are my feet strong enough for pointe?

There are a few things a dancer should be able to do to know if their feet are strong enough for pointe. These include holding turnout correctly, straight back, and shoulders during the onstage dance and practices. Moreover, it would help if you had proper and stable foot placement.

What stitch do you use for pointe shoes?

Although many stitches can be used for pointe shoes, the most common one is a whip stitch with single-loop elastic and ribbons on the sides.

Does pointe hurt your toes?

Yes, pointe shoes hurt sometimes when the whole balance of the ballerinas is on their toes. During certain ballet moves, when ballerinas put their whole weight on their toes, it causes many foot problems, including calluses, corns, blisters, etc.

Final Thoughts

Pointe shoes are a particular type of shoes designed mainly for ballerinas. Sadly, they don’t come sewed. Therefore you need to do it yourself. All the ballerinas struggling to sew their shoes feel free to take help from our guide. Follow our stepwise guide, and your shoes will be ready for dance in just a few minutes. So are you ready to rock the stage? Visit Homepage.

Josh nixon

Josh Nixon is an acclaimed author and expert in sewing and sewing machines. With over 30 years of experience, beginning in his family's sewing shop, he's also a graduate of Parsons School of Design.

Josh's career encompasses working with top fashion houses and promoting sustainable garment production. His authoritative and best-selling books provide invaluable insights into the craft of sewing and the mechanics of sewing machines.

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