1. CHECK YOU HAVE ALL YOUR SUPPLIES – You will need 1 x packet of 20mm wide ribbon, 1 x packet of 30mm elastic and 1 x packet of suede toe caps
2. CUT THE RIBBON – You would have received 2.5m of ribbon (stretch style) or 3m of ribbon (non-stretch style). You will need to cut this into four equal lengths, so that there is one piece for each side of both feet. Do this by folding the ribbon in half, cutting it, and then repeating that process once more.
3. DETERMINE RIBBON PLACEMENT - Check the exact positioning of your ribbon by folding the heel down towards the toe. Draw a line with a pencil to mark the angle you have created from the back seam toward your thumb. This line is the angle to which you will sew and where the back edge for the ribbon will lie
4. SEWING THE RIBBON - It’s important to remember that ribbons are attached to secure the whole heel of the shoe against the foot and not just the sides of the shoe. This means ribbons should be stitched from low down inside the shoe, taking care to attach them to the lining only – don’t sew through the satin, and avoid catching the drawstring! Before stitching ribbon to the shoe, finish one end of each piece of ribbon by folding the end over by around 1cm. Pinning the ribbon in place while you sew is helpful. The whole ribbon should now be angled slightly forward for comfort and support as the ankle flexes. As you get more experienced with sewing ribbons, you may want to adjust the position slightly depending on how your arch breaks. To reduce the cut ribbon ends fraying, spray hairspray on the end or carefully singe it with a match/lighter.
5. SEWING THE ELASTICS - Elastics should be sewn about a centimetre away from the back-seam and should be angled slightly away from the seam. It’s helpful to sew one side first and carefully measure the length of elastics required to hold the heel of the shoe firmly to the foot without too much tension. If you have a particular injury or alignment issue, you may need to stitch the elastics in an alternative position to provide further support. If use, please consult your fitter, teacher and/or physiotherapist.
6. GLUE ON SUEDE TOE CAPS – Check the toe cap fits over the whole platform of the shoe, if it is bigger simply trim the excess. Then spread the contact bond glue or craft glue evenly over the smooth side of the toe cap. Allow the glue to get tacky (check the timings listed on the tube) and then place on the shoe ensuring that there are no air bubbles.
7. DO NOT BREAK YOUR SHOES – Despite what you see in the movies, your shoes do not need to be jumped on, smashed against a wall or cut up to be ‘dance ready’. In fact, doing so diminishes the extensive fitting you just had and will drastically shorten your shoes lifespan. Your shoes will naturally soften as you wear them and your teacher will guide you through this process in class.