Everything you need to know about pointe shoes!
How to Sew Your Ribbons
The video below describes very well how to sew your pointe shoe ribbons. Here are a few extra notes:
- You have the choice of cutting your ribbons into 4 equal pieces, instead of 2, and not having the ribbon stretch under your heel.
- If using 4 pieces instead of 2, cut the ribbons on an angle to match the line of the shank to maximize ribbon and shoe overlap.
- Use thread that is similar in colour to your pointe shoe!
- Use an open flame to melt the edges of the ribbon to prevent fraying (very important for the side being sewn).
- The shiny side of the ribbon faces the shoe and the dull side faces the foot – shiny side out!
- When sewing, try not to go through the satin of the shoe on every stitch, although it is not the end of the world if you do.
- The sewing pattern should be all around the edges of the ribbon (like a box), then two diagonals across the middle (making an X).
- DO NOT CUT YOUR RIBBONS FURTHER until you have tied them and danced with them a few times. It is much easier to handle ribbons that are too long than too short!
How to Tie Your Ribbons
The video below describes how to tie your pointe shoe ribbons once they are sewn. It is a good idea to sew and tie your ribbons iteratively (sew a little, tie the shoes, fix the alignment, sew a little more, tie them again, etc) to make sure you don’t completely sew them in the wrong direction. This means you should sew one side of the “box” on the ribbons, put the shoe on and test the angle. The first thing in this video below shows a wrapping of the ribbon in front across the ankle with no bubbling or folding. This orientation is key!
How to Apply Moleskin
Moleskin is used on the platform of the pointe shoe to prevent the satin from fraying under repeated use. While most products will suffice, the best we’ve found so far is Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin. This brand has become difficult to find in Saskatoon, but last I’ve heard it’s available at the 8th Street London Drugs. It could also be available at other pharmacies (Walmart, Safeway, Co-op, Shoppers Drug Mart, etc). Off-brand moleskin can be purchased, but the adhesive is generally not strong enough to last through dancing.
Moleskin comes in two sheets and must be cut to size. A good design is shown here (you’re welcome to cut yours whichever way works best for you). The notches on the sides allow the moleskin to be folded over at the corner without folding up, which is important for stability on pointe.
It is very important that you put moleskin on before your first class. If you dance on your block once, the adhesive will have a very hard time sticking to it in the future and you will have moleskin problems for the rest of your shoes’ lifetime.