Pointe Shoe Sewing Tips: Sides Pull Away from Ribbons & Elastic

How to Keep the top edges of your pointe shoes from gapping

🎵🎶🎶 Now whip it. Into shape. Shape it up. Get straight. Go forward. Move ahead. Try to detect it. It’s not to late. To whip it. Whip it good. 🎵🎶 ~ Devo

Do the top sides of your pointe shoe pull away from your foot and anchored ribbons, particularly as you are rolling through demi-pointe? Consider adding a whip stitch that is stitched around the drawstring channel (so you don’t inhibit the drawstring function). The whip stitch will create a bond between your ribbons/elastic and the top of the drawstring channel, keeping everything neatly together.

Some dancers may not need to add a whip stitch to every elastic connection. The pointe shoe is this photo only had a gapping problem on the front elastic connection, so that is where we added an extra whip stitch. Do what works for your feet!

As always, your sewing doesn’t have to be perfect. No one will see your uneven stitching, but they might notice gapping sides!

Adding a whip stitch can bond your ribbons and elastics to the top edge of your pointe shoe.

Adding a whip stitch can bond your ribbons and elastics to the top edge of your pointe shoe.

Pointe Shoe Sewing Tips: Sore Fingers

How to prevent your fingers from getting sore from sewing pointe shoes.

The fabric on some pointe shoes is a bit more challenging to sew than others. If your fingers are getting sore, consider these options.

1. Buy a thimble to keep in your sewing kit
2. Use an old pointe shoe to help push the needle through the fabric. 💡
3. Get someone else to sew your shoes (actually, no.)

We are a huge advocate for dancers learning to sew their own pointe shoes. It’s the best way for dancers to learn to fine tune their pointe shoes and take responsibility for their dance equipment. If something goes wrong backstage, a dancer needs some sewing skills.

As a clumsy sewer, my own personal finger-saving sewing hack is to use an old pointe shoe. I place the old pointe shoe on my lap or table, leather side up. After I get the needle in the right spot, I press the back end of the needle on the old pointe shoe and push the fabric down on top of the needle tip. The old pointe shoe takes a beating (see all the small holes in the photo?), but my fingers can live another day.

Happy sewing!


Summer Dance Intensive Packing List Tips

Summer dance intensives are an exciting part of a dancer’s growth and development. You meet lots of other students that share your love of dance, you work with master teachers and you learn to become a bit more independent. It’s a great experience!

Going into the program with the right tools and supplies can alleviate some of the nerves that have a natural tendency to intermingle with your excitement.

Here is our suggested packing list (yes, you may need a large suitcase!):

  • Leotards: At least one per day. Check with your program to see if certain colors or styles are required. Bring your favorites that make you feel confident!

  • Tights: Lots! You will enjoy the feeling of a fresh pair mid-way through the day. Do not wear any tights with holes, stains, etc.

  • Wrap Skirt (check your program to see if there are required colors)

  • Character Skirt: if you will be taking character classes

  • Pointe Shoes: Plan on several pairs. They will wear out quicker in the summer humidity. Be sure to rotate them to let them rest and re-harden between wearings.

  • Other dance shoes: Make sure you have the right shoes for your classes: jazz, soft ballet shoes, tap, character, lyrical shoes, dance socks, etc.

  • Studio Warm-ups: You never know how much AC you will have, so bring some form-fitting layering warm-ups for in the studio and for covering up outside.

  • Hairpins, ties, bun covers, hairnets, headbands, hairspray.

  • Hip Alignment belt (some ballet programs prefer you have one)

  • Manicure/Pedicure tools

  • First Aid kit: Icy Hot or other sore muscle ointment, band aids, ace bandage, quick ice pack, heating pad

  • Freshify spritz: all-natural, good smelling, refreshing spritz for fabric, skin and your most important dance assets (your feet).

  • Dancers Dots and toe tape: for skin abrasions, cuts, blisters and hot spots. Recommended for all dance genres.

  • Sewing kit

  • Dance bag

  • Water bottle

  • Therabands

  • Music playing device and headphones (include chargers)

  • Power bars and other healthy snacks

  • Laundry detergent: handwashing, or regular, depending on facilities

  • Yoga or Pilates Mat

  • Toe tape, toe separators, gel toes, toe pads and other point shoe accessories (some of these are good choices for other dance shoes, too!)

  • Drying rack or cording to line-dry your hand-washables

  • Make-up (for performances and everyday, if so inclined)

  • Toiletries and a shower bucket to transport them

  • Towels

  • Pillow

  • Rosin: even a small amount can save the day if you find yourself performing on a slippery floor. Use proper etiquette and request permission to use it from the space manager.

  • Alarm clock and a watch

  • Camera

  • Book, craft, knitting, playing cards, something quiet to do after curfew or in between classes to wind down.

  • The most comfortable walking shoes you own. No time to try out cute new shoes that will give you blisters. Give your feet a rest!

Luxury comfort suggestions available in our shop:

  • Happy Feet Foot Scrub

  • THE-Footstretcher

  • Bloch warm-up booties

Check our shop page for some suggests our staff put together:


Pointe Shoe Sewing Tip for Slipping Heels

Sometimes pointe shoes slip off the heel, even when the shoes seem like a perfect fit. Dancers with narrow heels and longer feet seem particularly prone to slipping heels, especially when shoes are new.

Here are some tips to tame those heels!

  • Make sure shoes are not too tight or too loose. When you have a perfect fit, a shoe will feel snug when feet are flat and have a slight pinch of fabric when on pointe. 
  • Instead of one loop of elastic, take two pieces of elastic and criss cross them. One end of each piece should be sewn close to the back of the shoe and one end near the center of the foot arch.
  • Sometimes a heel gripper can be helpful, but check with your pointe shoe fitter. Even adding even the slightest amount of material can change the fit.
  • Some professional dancers have custom shoes made or customize the heels themselves, but we can probably help you before you need to get to these extremes!

If you decide to criss cross your elastic, use the photo below that we marked up to make it easier to see which pieces are elastic and which are ribbon. This dancer effectively hid the elastic under her ribbon. Very clever!

Bring us your "freak" feet.

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Some people are embarrassed and apologetic when they take their shoes off to try on dance shoes. They've had negative shoe shopping experiences in their past: a retailer doesn't have shoes that fit their width, shape, etc. properly. Maybe a shop worker casually says, "freakishly (insert adjective here) feet" and doesn't realize how badly the comment lands on someone who struggles finding shoes that fit and look good.

Here's a little secret: I have one foot that is Roman-shaped, one foot that is Celtic, high arches and tiny toenails. One daughter has amazingly narrow Greek-shaped feet, flat arches and finger-like toes (she refuses to wear sandals... see above). Another daughter used to be able to clear a room when she took her shoes off (fixed that, the world is welcome). We have a cat with 7 extra toes..... There's more, but you get the idea. Unique feet are the norm in our family.

If you need dance shoes, we gladly take on the challenge your unique feet. Finding ballet slippers or pointe shoes that fit you perfectly is our job, not your problem. That's why we carry so many options. We work with vendors that carry additional widths that we can order for you. Although we may discuss your unique feet, we prefer you leave our shop feeling good about your most important dance assets, not ashamed of them.

Time to own your unique feet. Shop with us for your perfect fit (and tips on stink reduction). 



Monthly Tight Subscription: Why it works

Why purchase a monthly tight subscription? We've been there. We've tried all the traditional ways to buy tights. Traditional methods don't make the busy lives of all dancers and dance parents more efficient. Sometimes traditional tight purchase methods just don't work.

Traditional Tight Purchase Methods:

1. The Secret Stash: You purchase several pairs of tights at one time and put them in a secret spot, with the idea of rationing out the tights over time. But, your secret spot remains..... a secret.

2. The Trust in Will Power: You stock up with the idea, that you will have a few pairs of new tights in your dance bag to use, as needed. Two weeks later, you don't have any new tights because it is impossible to resist putting on a new pair. 

3. The Just-in-Time Inventory Method: Nothing is as exhilarating as a dash to the shop for one pair of tights right before class or an audition.

We are happy to help with your dancewear emergencies and need for an adrenalin fix, but there is a better way: A Monthly Tight Subscription.

Your monthly tight delivery will provide exceptional comfort, fit and leg hugging performance and offers a knitted waistband for smooth finish. Our premium tights are made in Canada using all the industry's best practices (think Italian hosiery machines, premium materials, eco-friendly practices, etc.).

If you have an upcoming performance or audition and need a different color or style one month, just let us know before the first of the month and we can substitute colors or styles one month with any of the options we stock regularly (more expensive styles will be invoiced for the price difference).

Looking for a different style or color? Let us know! We can customize your subscription to fit your needs.

Need your first pair right away? Our monthly subscription ships around the first of the month, but if you have a tight emergency, let us know in the notes of your order and we can get your first pair sent out ASAP!

Monthly Tight Subscriptions: Just one more high-service option from your little shop around the corner. 


How to Prepare for Your Pointe Shoe Fitting

Getting ready for your first pointe shoe fitting? Wondering what to bring? Here are some tips:

  1. Appointments are recommended. Sometimes we can accommodate a walk-in appointment, but not always. 
  2. Make sure toenails are trimmed, but not so short that they are painful on the day of your fitting.
  3. Wear clean, convertible tights. You can also purchase a pair in the shop.
  4. Wear something comfortable and easy to move in. Anything long worn on legs will need to be pushed up during your appointment. 
  5. Not your first rodeo? Bring your old pointe shoes, padding, etc. We'll have a quick look at how your old shoes are working (or not working) before we get started.
  6. Let us know your street shoe size, age, pointe experience, dance studio and any injuries you have had ahead of your appointment.
  7. Eat something before you come. Pointe shoe fittings need your full concentration and hunger can be distracting.
  8. Bring a camera! You'll have a chance to take some photos of you in your new shoes!

First-time pointe shoe dancers should expect to spend about an hour with our fitter. 

Know Your Stuff

The inspiration for our shop brand grew out of frustration in trying to find good quality dancewear apparel and shoes that were nearby, durable, fashionable, and, of course, not boring.

I also live in Michigan, where we have lost thousands of manufacturing jobs to overseas facilities, not always to the benefit of consumers. 

I wanted to develop a brand that cared about where our stuff was made. The farm-to-table movement has changed the way we think about food. Couldn't the same concept work with the stuff we buy? Shouldn't we care about the humans making our stuff as much as we care about the life on a farm?

I am proud to report that our ability to source high-quality products from fair-trade manufacturing facilities far exceeds my initial expectations! Here is a sampling of some of the brands we carry:

Motionwear: Makes all of their leotards and apparel in Indianapolis.

Suffolk: Suffolk makes leotards in the USA and pointe shoes are made in the USA and UK.

Jule Dancewear: Jule makes unique and highly-functional leotards and skirts in the USA.

So Danca: The company owns its factory in the Dominican Republic and manufactures shoes and apparel. 

Mondor: Mondor makes premium dance, skating and fashion tights and apparel in Quebec. 

Ainsliewear: Ainsliewear makes exquisite leotards in British Columbia.

Onzie: Onzie designs and makes fabulous leggings in California.

There are others, too. You get the idea. We love that we have found great manufacturers doing great things with their employees! Stay tuned for more discoveries!

Summer Dance Intensive Tip List: Part 2

Additional tips to make the most of your program:

  • Even if your program allows phones, lay off them during your time at the program. Certainly check in with parents a couple of times while you are there, but if you are busy texting mom and friends from home, you may miss some of the experience! Take the time to meet new people and network. The friend you meet at summer intensive may end up being the person you can reach out to when you need advice for auditions!
  • Shoes: take all of your shoes out of your bag each evening so they can dry out overnight. The better you take care of them, the better they will support your feet!
  • Treat each class as if it were an audition and make a good impression. Wear clean tights in good condition, wear a leotard that makes you feel great, avoid sidebar conversations during class, take corrections with gratitude, and thank the instructor at the end of class. And, don’t be late! Bring and wear an old-school watch, when not in class, so you always know what time it is.
  • Changing your tights mid-day can help refresh your tired legs, particularly if it is hot in the studio.
  • Plan on giving your body more fuel, hydration, sleep, etc. than you usually need. You don't want to run out of steam before the end!
  • Take care of your feet each night. Check toenail length and trim them at night. Check for blisters and make a plan for fine-tuning your shoe padding the next day.
  • Keep a journal to record especially helpful tips throughout the day.
  • Get contact information from favorite instructors and classmates to develop a network for your career.

Have a great time at your intensive!