Pointe Shoe Sewing Threads

Today I am answering a question from one of my readers as a blog post! Don’t forget, you too can ask for advice here: If you have any ballet-related questions, just send an email to requests@gouletballet.com or visit our requests page at gouletballet.com/requests.

The topic in this case is pointe-shoe sewing threads and the differences between them.  I will discuss how to find which thread is best to use for which situation.  I hope you find it helpful!

What Makes a Good Thread?

Before we start analyzing different types of thread, we must determine what makes a thread useful for sewing pointe shoes:

  • It is strong.  Pointe shoes have to withstand a lot of pressure put on them, especially during jumps and lots of releves.  A strong thread is necessary to keep the ankle ribbon securely attached to the shoe.
  • It blends in.  It is very distracting when a different colored thread shows over the satin of the shoe while you are dancing onstage!
  • It is cheap.  Threads can be expensive, believe it or not.  On a dancer’s budget, it’s important that the thread doesn’t cost too much money.

Dental Floss

Many dancers swear by dental floss, which is a good thread because of its strength.  For dancers with strong feet, dental floss is great to prevent the ribbon from popping out.  In general, it’s very strong.  Additionally, the waxed, sticky coating will adhere to the shoe and keep it from moving around.  It’s very stable and strong.

Dental floss is also very cheap.  Many dancers prefer it because of its being available at many locations, it’s a quick find.  You can buy it at a Rite Aid “across the street” rather than having to order it from the internet, wait a week for it to arrive, or search around for stores that sell thread. Also, you don’t need scissors to cut it if you use the dispenser with the sharp cutter. For amateur and professional dancers alike, it is ideal.

The disadvantage of dental floss is that it comes in multiple flavors. These varying colors can stand out and be visible from the house during a performance.This is not always a problem, if for example, you have lighter shoes like Grishkos.  In darker shoes such as Freeds and Capezios, it can stand out against the darker satin.

Bunhead’s Sewing Thread

Bunheads (a brand) makes a sewing thread just for pointe shoes.  Therefore, it’s made specifically to be thick and strong with a waxy coating to stick to the shoes. Not only does it come in white and pink, but the color also blends in nicely with all satin shades of pointe shoes of many brands.  It’s great for performances, as it is completely invisible to the audience.

However, this thread is extremely expensive.  It is only available from Bunheads and therefore you either have to order it online or go to a dancewear store to get your hands on it.  I think it is more expensive because it is difficult to procure.  It’s not great for a dancer’s budget, although students whose parents are available to support them may find this thread more appealing.

Embroidery Thread

This third option is my favorite. Embroidery thread is readily available from more locations than the Bunheads sewing thread because it is a common product.  On the other hand, unlike dental floss, you won’t find it at most pharmacy stores.

Embroidery thread is strong and rough, and therefore it has better friction with the fabric in the shoe.  It is very stable and rigid.  Also, it is fairly easy to sew with.  Furthermore, it fits in the eye of the needle easily.

The thread can be purchased in a neutral tone and therefore it goes with many shoes.  It’s use is viable for performances in addition to class, because it isn’t so expensive that you have to worry about wasting it.

This thread comes in large bundles, so you can just keep a ton of it in your dance bag without thinking about repurchasing.  Almost all of the other options are only reasonably priced in small amounts.

Overall, in terms of quality/quantity and applicability, embroidery thread is the best option in my opinion.  However, it should be your decision based on your needs and wants and depending on the current situation.  I hope this is helpful, and I’ll see you on Friday!

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