Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Sewing elastics on


Recommended Posts



I was wondering what the best way to sew elastics onto ballet slippers is?


The lady at the ballet shop did not recommend machine stitching (and there I was hoping for an easy way out!). She said they would "pop"!


So, I stitched the elastics on by hand. My shoes are leather, and it was really difficult.


Should I be sewing them in on the leather bit? Or on the fabric part that runs around the "top" of the shoe?


Also, even though I've only had 2 classes, I'm incredibly frustrated. My class only lasts an hour, and I don't feel as though that is enough! I've been thinking of ordering "The Joffrey Ballet's Ballet Fit" book. I've heard good reviews, but can't find a review on this board (checked under books and could not find anything). Is this a good book for learning more about technique (esp for an adult beginner)?


Sorry if this is on the wrong board. Feel free to let me know!




Link to comment



I haven't worn leather shoes in years, just canvas, but I believe the sewing would be the same. It's probably better to go through the leather instead of the fabric portion around the top which houses the drawstring-you don't want to go through that or you will have problems tightning the string. I generally just keep one of those finger gards with me (rubber jar opener pads work well too) to push the needle through the tough material.


I have the ballet fit book and really like it. I find that it has great information for the beginner ballet student, helpful information on stretches, and some really good workouts to increase strength and focus on technique. I would personally recommend it.


The New York City Ballet workout on VHS or DVD is also really good. It's about an hour and focuses on strengthening and technique a little.



Link to comment
Guest Tibbit

I don't really have any advice on the elastics, but it sounds like you got that info already.

I do however have the book you mentioned. I thought it was very good and I do recommend it.

Good luck to you.

Link to comment

Thanks Mermaid


I ended up buying second pair of ballet slippers - canvas ones - and it was much easier to sew the elastic onto those.


I think I'll order Ballet Fit (even tho the Rand - Dollar exchange rate is something scary!) from Amazon. I have an outstanding birthday pressie from my boyfriend that I think I'll cash in on! ;)



Link to comment
Guest BBNButterscotch

Wow... that's interesting. I've never seen leather shoes were you have to sew the elastics yourself. I've always had them presewn (i wear Blochs). What kind were they?

Link to comment

Hi Rio!


My first pair of technique shoes were leather (Angelo Luzio, and in black because I didn't know any better! :) ). I sewed the elastic just to the cloth lining, and didn't actually poke the needle through the leather--it's not necessary, and that way the stitches don't show. I can't tell from your post if that's what you're doing, but maybe that's why it was so hard? Also, a friend taught me to fold over the ends of the elastic, about 1 cm, and sew them so that the folded part is on the inside. That way the stress is on the elastic, rather than your stitching, so the elastic is less likely to be pulled out.


As for the Joffrey fit book, I found it a bit simplistic--I wouldn't use it to learn technique. But it provides a great overview of different practical aspects, geared toward the adult beginner, which is really nice! Things like what to wear, what to expect from class, warming up, basic technique with lots of pictures. And, like Mermaid said, really good sections on stretches and workouts you can do at home. I also second the NYCB workout.


If you can get your hands on it, Sally Fitt's "Dance Kinesiology" (?) has a whole section in the back of about 100 different stretches with stick figures, good if you want to target specific muscles or muscle groups.


Later on you may want a more detailed reference for the technique. The moderators of this board frequently recommend Gail Grant's "Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet" (a little dictionary, and quite cheap) and Gretchen Ward Warren's "Classical Ballet Technique" (step by step, fully illustrated, but about $90 here. a very good investment, though I just keep borrowing it from the library)


sorry, that was a long post. hope it helps. :)

Link to comment

I've always sewn my elastics on by machine and I've never had them "pop"! Make it easy on yourself.


As I think someone mentioned above - sew below the the drawstring casing (with the elastic on the inside of the shoe). Sewing through the drawstring will inhibit the "spring" action.

Link to comment



The leather shoes are Teplovs (a South African brand).


The problem was that they were a little too small! So, I opted for canvas split-sole Teplovs, which, after 3 lessons have started developing holes! I expected them to wear out quickly, but not *that* quickly! Probably shoddy quality!


I'm going to try find a ballet store that sells imported slippers. Unfortunately, imported anything is hectically expensive over here.



Another thing, I've seen a dance shoe brand called "Dancewell" over here. Has anyone else heard anything about them, or are they also maybe local?




Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...
Guest cygnet2

Just to confirm what others have written - I always sew the elastics on the inside of the shoe, and just to the inside lining. Then it doesn't show on the outside (I'm fussy!), and you must definitely avoid the part the drawstring goes through.


As for the Joffrey Ballet Fit book, I have it and really enjoyed it. It has great photos and tells you everything you need to know and expect from class, and it's aimed at adult ballet students! There is stuff about technique but I'd say the best way to learn that is from your teacher and watching others. Even watching someone do something wrong can be a learning experience!


Good luck!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...