ABOVE: Bloch Sonatas with TMT technology (TMT30L) with Bloch 'Elastorib' ribbons--So comfortable even through a bout of Achilles tendinitis (with 4" diam circular 'bruise' over the area!-OW!!!) Those Elastoribs are a Godsend! The initial positioning and fitting is a bit tricky, but with practice they are easily fitted and sewn on.
THIS IS PART OF A SERIES DESCRIBING THE PREPARATION OF TMT BLOCH POINTE SHOES COMBINED WITH BLOCH ELASTORIB ('ACHILLES TENDON-SPARING') RIBBONS
--Elastoribs are very ankle-friendly, comfortable.
--TMT Technology Blochs can be broken in very quickly by activating the heat-sensitive 'paste' in them, molding them to the dancer's feet and subsequently 'setting them' in the refrigerator!
--Sounds 'funny', but it works GREAT!
ABOVE: Four separate elastoribs (two per shoe) per pack--enough for one pair of pointe shoes
It is important that the young ballerina strictly follow the instructions of her dance Mistress/Instructor according to the rules and regs of the particular dance academy. However, here are some recommendations for you if you are left to your own devices:
MY RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR SEWING ON ELASTORIBS:
1) Take two of the four pieces of Elastorib and place them under one foot in your shoe as if they were one. Be sure they are under your arch. HINT: Pin the two pieces under your foot together to make 'once continuous piece' if this helps you place the Elastoribs under your arch more easily.
Remember that the elastic part of the Elastorib must fit evenly over the back of your foot, over the Achilles tendon area.
Also, be aware that, unlike with 'regular ribbons', with 'elastoribs' the OUTER ribbon is wrapped around the ankle FIRST.
2) Using safety pins, PIN the ribbons to the shoe (horizontally) just under the drawstring line. Make sure the ribbon is angled in your shoe so that the net effect is to have your pointe shoe fully 'drawn up ' under your arch once the ribbon is snugged. Also make sure that the 'free end' of the ribbon is sufficiently long to wrap around your ankle the required number of times.
3) Once you your Elastorib is 'positioned', use a pencil to 'mark-off' where you want to cut off the ribbon excess inside the shoe. You'll probably want to leave (from the top edge of the shoe drawstring area) approximately 1 1/2" (one and a half inches) excess. I divide this 1 1/2" into 3/8 sections (pencil lines), so that my final result is even, flat, neat and non-irritating to the foot.
4) AGAIN Re-check that the elastic on these ribbons sets upon your Achilles tendon and that there is enough ribbon on the other ends to wrap around your ankle sufficiently.
3) If you are satisfied with things, mark vertical pencil lines on the lining of your shoe on both sides of your now-properly positioned Elastoribs. Then unpin them from your shoe and seal the raw ends of the Elastoribs as you usually would. I use 'Sally Hansen' acrylic clear nail polish (in the round blue bottle), but you may wish to use the old 'flame' seal method. Just don't use BOTH of these methods concurrently for obvious reasons, as nail polish is FLAMMABLE.
4) While the nail polish is still 'wet', fold the excess ribbon cut end 'once' up 3/8" and then, again, another 3/8" and hold or secure with a bobby pin for a few seconds while you ready your needle for sewing.
5) Re-pin your prepared ribbon end back into place, again making sure that your ribbons are angled (or even straight) in your shoe so that the net effect is to have them fully drawn up under your arches once the ribbon is snugged.
ABOVE: Same Bloch Sonata TMT30L's (which are cheap, fun to 'break in' with heat from a hairdryer and turn out to be surprisingly comfortable and reasonably long-lasting) 'setting' in the fridge for about five minutes to 'set' the thermoplastic I had molded to my ('peasant' aka 'Giselle') feet. Sew elastics and ribbons, including Elastoribs, on before heat-setting these pointes.
6) The uppermost and middle lines of sewing are running stitches (like a line of dashes). In other words, running stitches should be used above and below the 'drawstring area'. The bottommost lines (on the inner shoe lining) and on the 'fold line' of the Elastoribs (and any other ribbons) should be 'whip-stitched'. Whip-stitching is also called the 'overhand stitch'. All sewing should be as 'continuous' as possible and thread knots should be 'buried' under ribbon folds/edges so that will not irritate the dancer's bare foot.
7) Once you're done sewing, put on your pointes, tie them and cut off any excess free ribbon on the Elastoribs. Be sure to leave enough ribbon length to be 'tucked in'. You don't want distracting and unprofessional 'piggy tails' on your ankle! Also, don't forget to 'seal' the free ends of the Elastoribs using either nail polish or by flame.
ABOVE: Take a look at how I sew my ribbons on. (Click to enlarge) There are many different ways to sew them on as well as different 'elastics/ribbons' combinations. Sew elastics on first. Over time, each dancer finds a method she likes best. If any dancers-budding, intermediate, advanced or otherwise...Or if any 'ballet moms or dads' have any questions about what I've written here (or anything else ballet-related), just email me at BarbaraKSexton@aol.com. You can also just comment right here, of course, if you prefer.
Thank you so much for reading this--I sure hope it helps. Stay tuned for future pieces on pointe shoe safety, great healing regimens for dance injuries and all sorts of 'helpful hints' for those who are enchanted by that amazing, astounding thing of beauty known as 'BALLET'!
God Bless You All!
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"