When I dug down to the motor, I found it wasn’t going to be that easy to pull it out.
Instead, I checked that it actually worked by touching its contacts carefully to a 1.5v AA battery. It turns out that the spring contacts on the motor were a little too compressed, so I stretched them with tweezers, and didn’t need to replace the motor: all works.
Step 5: Instead, I pushed with the blunt (eye) end forward and used the needle-nose pliers to help pull the needle along. Less risk of getting stuck with the needle and a lot easier to move the needle! Three movements are possible:
1. Hold with pliers near sharp end and push through fabric.
2. Hold the needle eye in front of the elastic with pliers and pull through fabric.
3. In the really curvy back of the shoe, the sharp end may poke out, and you can grab it with the pliers and push hard. In fact, whenever stuck you might want to make the sharp end come out so you can push.
You can probably use the pliers with the sharp end forward, but I was afraid I’d poke through the shoe too often.
Step 4: I destroyed a standard needle threader threading the elastic through the needle. Here’s what works for me. Get a fairly thin bare wire, e.g., by stripping a wire-tie. Bend it in a gentle loop and use it like a needle threader: put the loop through the eye of the need, put the elastic in the loop, and pull back through the needle. I grabbed both ends of the wire with needle-nose pliers on the other side of the eye and rolled the wire onto the pliers to pull the elastic through.