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How to Sew and Prep Pointe Shoes

Updated: Apr 2

Hi Dancers!

Here are some of the main steps that I take in prepping and sewing my pointe shoes. I hope you see something that may ease this process for you. My goal is to sew them as fast as possible and to reinforce the shoe in any extra ways I can to make them last long.

Here are the basic tools you will need:

- Bunhead Stitch Kit (includes a heavy waxed thread and needles)

- Scissors

- Ribbons

- Elastic

- Super Glue (Hot Stuff, Jet Glue, or any thin super glue will work)

1. Gluing

I like to glue my pointe shoe box first so that the elastics and ribbons don't get in the way while applying the glue. I like my box and the sides of my shoes to be nice and hard so that I feel lifted and supported. I will carefully step on the vamp of my box to flatten it later on, but first want to glue that area so that stepping on it doesn't completely kill the support in the shoe. So I glue the entire inside tip of the platform with a full coat as well as up the sides inside and out.

2. Sewing

When sewing my shoes I focus on the quality of the stitch, not the quantity. I go through 1 pair in about 2 days so I am constantly sewing! I eventually realized that more stitches only ate up time and really had little to no benefit. I have 8 areas to sew since I criss-cross my elastics for optimal support for my ankles. If you have bendy ankles, you may want to try this too. Depending on the strength of the elastic you are using, decide which length feels most comfortable to you before cutting. It needs to hold your shoe up to your foot when you are on demi-pointe but not too tight where it cuts off your circulation.

The quality lies in the knot. Thread your needle so that it is doubled and tie the two ends together with a single knot. I only have to do a single knot using my Stitch Kit thread because of how thick this thread is. If you are using a thinner thread, double your knot. Sew your beginning and finishing knot on the outside to avoid rubbing and blisters on the heel. I sew 3 loop stitches. Avoid sewing into the drawstring of the shoe, but instead right above and below.

3. Breaking in the Shoe

- Bend the shank at the exact location where your arch is. Bend backwards first and then forward, the way it is supposed to bend when pointed. If your shank doesn't bend easily, try taking out the canvas shank liner or popping the nail in the heel if there is one.

- I also like to step on the top of the top of the shoe to flatten the box. Most shoes come in a shape that is not the shape of your actual foot. If yours are more cylindrical and you experience pain in between the toes on demi-pointe, it's important to flatten them to avoid soft corns in between the toes. I usually step on them enough to change the shape, but careful to not stomp on them or else it will kill the support in your shoe.

- I cut off the tip of the satin on the box so that I can feel the floor better. Just a personal preference.

Happy dancing! Everyone has their own preference with how they like to prep their shoes. Overtime you will find what works for you. Thank you for following along and I hope you learned some helpful tips!

-Julia Cinquemani

Owner + Designer for Jule Dancewear

Former Ballerina Miami City Ballet

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