How to Make Ballet Shoes

Things You'll Need

  • 12X12-inch square of leather
  • 24X12-inch square of heavy-weight cotton fabric
  • Ready-made shoes that fit well
  • Pencil and paper
  • Fabric marker
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing notions (pins, thread, scissors)
  • 1/2-inch-wide elastic

Flat ballet shoes are popular footwear for both girls and women. These are comfortable and fashionable shoes that are great additions to any shoe wardrobe. If you have moderate sewing skills it is possible to make your own ballet shoes out of cotton fabric and leather. Experiment with different colors and patterns.

Place the paper onto a work surface and place the ready-made shoes onto the paper. Use a pencil to arefully trace around the outside edges of both shoes to create outlines of the soles. Label the left and right sole patterns. Extend the outlines by half an inch for seam allowances, and cut out the extended outlines with the scissors.

Place the leather onto a work surface with the wrong side facing up. Place the paper sole patterns onto the leather and trace around the patterns with the fabric marker. Cut out the sole outlines with the scissors.

Place the paper sole patterns onto another piece of paper. You need to make a pattern for the upper part of the ballet shoes. The inside edge of the upper piece should match the outside edge of each sole piece. Extend the pattern out from this edge 3 inches, as shown in the diagram. You may need to experiment while making this pattern piece until you have a piece that will work. Add a half-inch around the edges for seam allowances.

Make both a left and a right upper-pattern piece using the left and right sole pieces. Label the left and right patterns. Cut out the paper pattern pieces with the scissors.

Fold the cotton fabric onto your work surface with the wrong sides facing out. Place the pattern pieces onto the cotton and cut out the cotton pieces following the pattern. You need a total of four cotton fabric pieces (two for each shoe).

Turn under the raw edges of the inside of the cotton shoe pieces a half-inch. Press this edge and sew along the fold 3/8-inch from the folded edge to finish the inside edges.

Place the left shoe pieces together with the right sides facing each other and sew both edges together with a half-inch seam allowance. Repeat with the right shoe pieces in the same fashion.

Match the upper portion of the left shoe to the left sole with the right sides facing each other. Sew around the edges with a half-inch seam allowance. Repeat with the right shoe in the same fashion.

Turn the shoes right side out and put the shoes on. Measure across the top of the foot between the side edges of the shoes. Remove the shoes.

Cut two lengths of elastic to the measurement taken in step 8 and sew the elastic to the inside edges of the shoes to add comfort and security while you are wearing the ballet shoes.


  • While experimenting with the sizing of the upper shoe piece in step 3, try using plain muslin to make test pieces. When you have the sizing right for your shoe size, use the cotton fabric for the actual ballet shoe.