How to Make Ballet Slippers

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Ballet slippers come in several styles, from elaborate to very simple. The ballet slipper is an important tool for dancing. It’s not about style. However, if you love ballet but like to stand out in a crowd, it is possible to make your own custom ballet slippers. It’s not advisable to wear a pair of homemade slippers on the day of a big competition, but if you want an extra pair of slippers just to play around in, they can be put together quite simply.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing tape measure
  • Leather
  • Chalk
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Elastic
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine

Cut out the bottom. Ballet slippers need to fit snugly against the foot. Measure from the heel to the big toe and across the widest part of your foot. Round these numbers up to the nearest 1/2 inch and cut a piece of leather the length and width of your measurements, rounding the fabric at both the heel and the toe. For a more exact fit, trace your foot directly onto the piece of leather. Leave about 1/4-inch of space around the foot at the heels and the toes and round the shape into an oval on the side of the foot. You can use chalk on the back of the leather.

Make the top of the slipper. The top can be made out of any fabric you’d like. The shape will be the same as the bottom of the slipper, but it will need to have an extra inch or so both in length and width for kids and more for adults. This number is really dependent on how thick your foot is, but 2 to 3 inches should be enough extra fabric for most people.

Cut a hole for your foot. To determine where this hole should be, drape the piece of fabric over your foot so that it hangs off your toes and touches the floor. There should be at least 1/4 inch of fabric on the floor. You will need this much extra to sew the pieces together. Smooth the fabric along the top of your foot until you hit your ankle. Now, measure 1/2 inch past this point and mark the spot. This will be the front of your foot hole. Measure around your foot just above the heel and top of the foot. Your hole needs to be at least 1 inch larger than this measurement. 1 1/2 inches is better. Cut the hole.

Add elastic to the hole. Use the measurement you took of your ankle to determine how much elastic you need. Use a piece of elastic 1 to 2 inches shorter than this measurement. The elastic will have to fit snugly to hold the slipper in place. Sew the ends of the elastic together and sew the circle of elastic into the top of the hole by hand or with a sewing machine, gathering the fabric as needed.

Sew the top and bottom together. You will need a large needle to sew through the leather, so you will have to be careful if you are using a delicate fabric for the top. Start at the toe of the slipper and sew toward the back. If there is any leftover material, you can either cut some of it off at the back before sewing the back together, or gather the fabric at the heel. Fabric gathered in the back will be less noticeable than fabric gathered up in the front.

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