Here’s how to repair a child’s ballet shoe, the quick and easy way. You can even teach your kid to do this herself, so she can fix her own ballet shoe next time it breaks.
Being a ballet parent is no joke. There’s thrice-weekly classes at the ballet department on the university campus with no free visitor parking. There’s getting your kid to Nutcracker rehearsals, at whatever weird time the director has decided, always slightly different every single day. There’s that leotard that has to be kept clean. Those tights that have to be hand-washed. That bun that you had to watch a million Youtube videos to teach you how to do before the first day of class. The even more elaborate “performance bun” that you had to watch another million Youtube videos to learn, and that takes an entire episode of My Little Pony and a quarter of a can of hairspray to create. Those expensive ballet shoes that you have to buy.
And then the kid comes running up to you in the crowded ballet department hallway five minutes before class, crying and telling you, “The strap broke off my ballet shoe!”
Bite back your swears, my Friends, because there are a lot of children in this hallway.
Short-term solution: that’s why God invented the ponytail ring. Take the ponytail ring off of the end of your braid, even though you REALLY needed to have your hair braided today on account of it looks like crap and you’re on your way to fencing class, yourself, but your child’s sport is more important than yours, sigh, and just put the entire thing around the kid’s foot to hold her shoe in place. Pro tip: You can actually pull that off for a couple of classes in a row, just in case you forget about that broken shoe the second that you look away from it. Trust me.
Long-term solution: the repair is just as quick and just as easy, thank freaking goodness. In fact, teach your kid to make this repair instead of you, because I swear this happens to every single one of her shoes every single year.
How to Repair a Child’s Ballet Shoe
You will need:
hand-sewing needle and pink thread. “Ballet pink” is a real color, but for our purposes, any light pink heavy-duty thread will work.
light pink heart button. We buy Capezio ballet shoes, and of course they have a small heart-shaped button that’s hard to match. Hopefully, your kid managed to save the button that popped off of her shoe. If not, just pick something of the same color, with the same diameter.
These kids’ ballet shoes tell you that they have an “adjustable instep strap,” but they don’t tell you what they means, and if this is your first go-round in the children’s ballet merry-go-round, you may not have investigated too hard. But look hard right now: you’ll see a ballet shoe with a button on the outside, clearly sewn through the leather to the elastic on the inside:
On either side, you’ll see slits in the leather. When you look at them, you might think that they’re there to let the leather shoe move more easily. What you’re actually looking at, however, although it’s completely impossible to tell, are buttonholes, and that elastic that looks as if it’s sewn onto the shoe is actually buttoned on with a button sewn so tightly to the elastic that not only is it impossible to see that the elastic is buttoned on, but the thread is undergoing a ton of stress just existing like that, much less being used for dancing.
All you have to do to repair the shoe, then, is unbutton the elastic on the other side and then sew the button back on. Your kid can do this by hand:
While you’re at it, you might as well strengthen the stitching on all the other buttons, or you’ll just have to make this repair three more times in the next two months:
If your kid managed the repair on her own, make her a little repair kit with a needle, pink thread, a couple of the buttons, and a pair of thread scissors to keep in her ballet bag. That way she’s covered if another button pops off during those long performance rehearsals, and she may well be someone else’s hero one of these days.
I know this repair seems silly, it’s so simple, but seriously, I have known parents who buy their kids a brand-new pair of ballet shoes after this button pops off, because the shoe is unwearable without that elastic strap and mending it simply doesn’t occur to them. And considering how much you’re already spending on your kid’s ballet, another 20+ bucks for shoes that you can repair in five minutes is no joke!