How to Sew Ribbon to Demi-Pointe Ballet Shoes

Written by pamela ann ludwig
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Demi-pointe shoes are a specialised training shoe for classical ballet, a step in between soft slippers, or flat ballet shoes, and going on full pointe. Pointe shoes allow the dancer to balance on the end of her shoe so it appears she is standing on the tips of her toes. Demi-pointe shoes train the dancer to move, balance and articulate her feet in shoes similar to a full pointe shoe but without the supporting shank under the sole. The ribbons used for these shoes not only hold the shoes securely onto her feet and ankles while dancing, but add an elegant, classical look to the line of the dancer’s leg. If you have put the effort and commitment into studying ballet consistently and your ballet teacher agrees that you are ready for a demi-pointe shoe, you will need to sew those ribbons on yourself. The method for sewing ribbons on demi- and full-pointe shoes is the same. Ribbons can be purchased with the shoes or separately.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Demi-pointe shoes
  • 2 pointe shoe ribbons, 1 inch (2.5cm) wide, 1 ¼ yard (1.25 meter) long each
  • Needle
  • Thread

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  1. 1

    Fold the heel of the shoe down so it touches the inside of the sole of the shoe.

  2. 2

    Place the ribbon along this line, keeping the remaining ends of the ribbon at equal lengths.

  3. 3

    With a needle and thread the same colour as the shoe, sew the ribbon to the edge of the shoe. Do not use a sewing machine.

Tips and warnings

  • The shoes are now ready to be worn. Cross the ribbons over the instep of the foot, wrap around the ankle and tie in a double knot (not a bow)
  • Classical ballerinas and avid ballet students train long and hard hours to perfect their craft. Taking class, staying in shape and attending countless hours of rehearsals and performances are, of course, paramount to a dancer’s life, but the time-consuming activity of sewing ribbons onto their shoes is also a large part of a dancer’s life.
  • Demi-pointe shoes are only to be used in an advanced ballet class with permission of the instructor. Many instructors prefer to accompany students to purchase such shoes. These shoes are not to be used for recreation or costumes.
  • Demi-pointe shoes are never to be used to go on full pointe (standing with the full weight on the tips of the toes.)
  • Demi-pointe shoes are a training tool only and should not to be used for performances.

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