Elastic. You have sew got this.

Recently the Adult Beginner was asked, “any tips on sewing the elastic to soft ballet slippers?”
Now, Gentle Reader, the Adult Beginner has never actually had to perform this particular stunt, having been lucky enough to stumble into a pair of Bloch slippers at my slipper fitting. Which are pre-sewn. Which suits my lazy butt.
But why should inexperience stop me from answering? I sew, dammit! I got this!
Ok, so:
Tips on Sewing Elastic To Slippers


Slippers, all elastariffic.


First, pin the elastic. You will be sewing, either by machine or hand, through the stitches that are already there. Zoom in and look at ’em. Mustn’t sew above these stitches, or you might catch the cord elastic inside the channel. Don’t wanna do that. Where to place the elastic? Well, about an inch back from that halfway seam. Give er take.
Note! I am using lime green grosgrain ribbon to make it easier for you to see! You must use elastic! Like the little bit there in the picture!


Sew. Put shoe on with elastic at outside of foot. Why? Because it’s easier to see and mark this on the inside of your foot, that’s why. Bring the elastic around to the inside. Stretch it a little. Just enough to hold your shoe on smoothly, not enough to leave a mark. Too tight could bother your tendons and stuff. You’ve got enough bother, you don’t need that.


See those stitches again? Mark a line on the elastic even with the stitches. Take shoe off, cut off excess elastic. My Blochs have about 3/8″ seam allowance and they’re holding up fine, so, you know, maybe go with 3/8″ seam allowance. You can melt the edges, don’t to have to though, the Blochs are just a raw edge and doing fine. Wish I knew metric. Sorry guys. Pin elastic, sew, this time probably easier by hand although a pro like the Adult Beginner could totally machine that mofo.


And if you wanna get real fancy you can do it this way instead, by wrapping under the arch and then back over, then sewing just like the other. The idea here is getting the shoe to hug your arch. Do you want this? Maybe. Or maybe the full-soled non-huggy shoe makes you work harder toward developing an arch. Who knows? It’s your prerogative.

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
This entry was posted in DIY, OMG outfits you guys!, You Asked for it and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Elastic. You have sew got this.

  1. roriroars says:

    Nothing to do with the elastic thing, but I do love to see that the Black Pool manicure is holding up nicely. I think I may need one of these… now that my recital is done and I am free to paint my nails again.

    As for the elastics, I really wish more slippers came with elastics already sewn in. I’m sure there’s a good reason for them not being sewn (finicky dancers, most likely) — and to be honest I did get a pair with pre-sewn criss-cross elastics that were admittedly a bit too loose — but I’m such a lazy-butt, I hate doing it. I bought a pair of slippers in January, only just got around to getting all four elastics sewn in, oh, May.

    • Still shiny! It’s actually grown out a bit, can see bare nail at the tops. Never had a manicure last long enough to grow out! Probably should go get it removed soon, but that’s the tricky part, they use some kind of horrible acetone-soaked pads to remove the gel-manicure, and you know, if I’m gonna poison my liver I’d rather just have a gimlet or two.
      On the slippers, Yeah, I agree, it makes sense for elastic to be pre-sewn, especially on full-soled slippers which are almost exclusively worn by beginners, who probably don’t know how the elastic should feel or where it should go anyway.
      Or at least elastic should come sewn to one side. That would both save a step and force lazy-butts to go ahead and sew the other side already.

      • roriroars says:

        I agree that it’s best to have them pre-sewn on full-sole slippers… saves a lot of flying slipper injuries in the newbies. I’ve noticed that many split sole shoes do come with criss cross elastics pre-sewn at the heel, so that does save half the work. I’ve noticed on those, though, that a lot of lazy-butts forgo the sewing altogether and just tie the free ends of the elastics together (or sew together, if they’re feeling crafty) and then wrap it across the ankle and under the arch. I guess it does the trick, but even that’s too lazy-ass for me. Instead I convince other people to sew them for me. Okay… I only did that once, I promise I sew my own now. It ain’t pretty, but me and my dental floss do a functional job together.

        As for the mani, dang, I was wondering if that stuff came off with regular polish remover or if you needed to go back to get it “professionally removed.” What a bummer.

      • candice says:

        Some of them do come with “criscross elastics attached at heel” but it seems random as to which shoes do and do not.

        On the other hand I have non-beginner slippers which are not only presewn but elastic all the way around. Keeps them from falling off or getting a drawstring injury. (bloch pro-elastic canvas. love them.)

        Gimlets, gin or vodka?

  2. Alexandra says:

    I’d always gotten pre-sewn… and this time I got half-sewn.. and I was going to sew them… but then I saw my teacher wearing his just tied… and my laziness got the best of me… so now its 5 months later and I think I’ll sew them today… I gues…

  3. Margaret says:

    You make this look so pretty! And that green elastic with the red tights, I’m kinda in love with that, I’d love some funky colored ballet shoes.

    So long as the elastics are already sewn on cause I just ain’t got the skillz!

  4. Johanna says:

    I have sewn so many elastics, don´t even have to measure, mark or pin anymore. With Bloch´s pre-sewn-at-heel slippers, I just stretch the elastic to the halfway seam (on the side of the vamp, not towards heel), then bring it inside until about half my thumb´s length, then sew starting at excess drawstring fabric. I sew two lines, first under the drawstring and back again, this time sewing into the inside liner. Never fails. And quick!

    Pointe shoes, another story. Takes me forever. Four ribbon/elastic endings per shoe, phew!

    By the way, this was my first time ever explaining sewing in English. Hope it was not too confusing! Thanks also to AB for the instructions and photos :)

  5. Pingback: Beginner Ballet Tips: Sewing Elastic to Ballet Slippers | Adult Ballerina Project

  6. Naomi says:

    I just sewed some elastics in. I think its a good idea cos there are such varieties in foot width. I have criss-cross elastics, and I find getting the machine out too much faff. I sew about half an inch of one end into one side, with little slip stitches all around the 3 sides inside the shoe. Then put it on, fit, mark, trim to within half an inchish again, and slip st all around that end too. Only takes a few minutes, and I find a careful slip stitch holds it well without affecting the cord. I tried to teach my brother how to do his own but he pulled a silly ‘I cant sew’ face – so I did it, and still have them – I am considering embroidering some little flowers onto the soles as punishment for his laziness.

  7. Pingback: Beginner Ballet Tips: Sewing Elastic to Ballet Slippers - Adult Ballerina Project

  8. joyjoyart@yahoo.com.au says:

    Had my first ballet lesson last week…I’m 51.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s