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Monthly Archives: November 2009

25 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

By |November 25th, 2009|Authors|0 Comments

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers here in the U.S. a happy and joy-filled day of turkey (or tofurkey, for you veggies) eating, parade and/or football watching, spending time with family and friends, and everything else that goes with this day.

I have never been the type to enjoy the Thanksgiving tradition of going around the table, having each person say what he or she is thankful for.  My brain freezes, I can’t think of anything, and I get tongue-tied.  A fairly embarassing situation.

But I do think that now is a good time to think about those things that we are thankful for.  Maybe we express those ideas to others, maybe we keep them to ourselves.  Either way, Thanksgiving serves as a reminder to us to take a few minutes to stop obsessing about what is wrong – in our lives, our relationships, our jobs, our country, our world – and instead focus on what is right.

So, on that note, here are just a few things for which I am thankful:

I am thankful that I have a job that I enjoy.

I am thankful that I work with people that I care about and who care about me.  We are truly a family here – complete with love, caring and occasional bickering.

I am thankful that, despite the difficulties in the economy recently, Sew What? has pushed through and remains a strong company.

I am thankful that I have made so many friends amongst our customers and vendors throughout my 5 1/2 years here at Sew What?, and I look forward to making many more as the years go on.

I am thankful that I, my husband and family, my friends, and my Sew What? family are all healthy and happy.

And lastly, I am thankful for the opportunity to post on this blog – sometimes I become frustrated trying to come up with a topic, but on the whole I really enjoy the opportunity to educate and entertain my readers (are you out there?).

So, readers, whether you are here in the U.S. celebrating Thanksgiving or in another country in which tomorrow is just another day, take a moment to think about what you are thankful for.  I promise, you will find that it really lifts your spirits to spend a few moments focusing exclusively on the positive elements of your life.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Sew What? to all of you.

23 11, 2009

Fun & Challenging Projects, Part 4

By |November 23rd, 2009|Projects|0 Comments

Although Sew What? is primarily a manufacturer of custom theatrical drapery, doing the work here at our facility in Rancho Dominguez, CA, and then shipping our drapery to the customer’s location here in the U.S. or abroad, we do occasionally do work on site.  Megan recently told you about several of her work-related travel adventures – I thought I’d expand on one of those stories (Turkey) and tell you more about the project.

Cruising the Med

What: Cover 300 feet of exposed air-conditioning ducts on a cruise ship cruising the Mediterranean. Oh – and do it while the guests are sleeping.

Why: The AC ducts needed covering for insulation and appearance.  The problem was that they were all on the passenger deck of a cruise ship that wasn’t due for dry dock any time soon. 

How: The trick was to work silently through the night so as to never be seen (or heard) by the passengers on board – and to not leave a messy trail of construction.  Megan spent the first night measuring and drafting intricate patterns.  The second night she moved 30 pool deck lounge chairs out of the way and used the lines in the teak wood floor as a straight edge to roll out and cut large amounts of fabric.  The sewing and fitting began on night three – Megan opted to stitch in the breakfast room 30 meters off the port side – it was carpeted and had good lighting. 

Two guys from the ship’s staff assisted Megan that night and the next two from 11:30 pm to 5:30 am, while each piece was fitted – with the three of them cleaning and packing up each morning.  Megan said that it reminded her of being on tour, packing up each night to head to the next show!

On the final morning, the sun rose over the town of Kusadasi, Turkey, and the project was complete.  Megan had cruised from Italy to Turkey, working all night and sleeping through the day, to arrive in this beautiful place.  She disembarked from the ship and took the opportunity to visit the ruins of Ephesus, which she described as “amazing.”  Then, onto a plane to head back home.

Quite an interesting project, and one that, I think, demonstrates our ability to “think outside the box” and find ways to meet the needs of our customers.

20 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

By |November 20th, 2009|Company, Sew What Team|0 Comments

We are so proud of the fact that we have minimal turnover here at Sew What?  I guess we are doing something right, since our staff tends to stick around!  A couple of our staff members have even been here 10 or more years.  I myself started at Sew What? in 2003.

To celebrate, I will be posting employee anniversaries every month or two.  This month, please join me in wishing the following employees a happy anniversary!

Maria de Jesus, Sewing Machine Operator – 2 years in October 2009

Daniel, Quality Control – 2 years in October 2009

Guillermina, Project Manager – 4 years in November 2009

18 11, 2009

Focus On: Poor Man’s Kabuki

By |November 18th, 2009|Education, Products|2 Comments

Previously, I told you about the Single Kabuki and the Double Kabuki.  Now, as promised, here is the scoop on what is commonly called the Poor Man’s Kabuki.

Also called a Tearaway, a Poor Man’s Kabuki has two parts – the kabuki-style drape and the header.  The drape is sewn with loop velcro at the top in back.  Then, to make the header, a piece of webbing (usually 3″ wide) and a piece of hook velcro (usually 2″ wide) are cut to the same size as the width of the drape (for example, if the drape is 50 feet wide, a 50 foot piece of webbing and a 50 foot piece of velcro would be used). 

The velcro is then sewn onto the webbing, leaving room at the top of the webbing to add grommets and ties (which are usually spaced every 12″, aka 12″ on center). 


The header is attached to the top of the kabuki-style drape via the velcro and then the drape is hung on truss above the stage.  When it is time to “drop” (remove) the drape, someone from the crew pulls the drape – because the drape is attached to the header by velcro only, the drape releases from the header and falls to the ground.  The crew quickly bundles up the drape and takes it offstage.  At the end of the show, the webbing header is untied from the truss and stuck back onto the drape in preparation for the next show.

When would a Poor Man’s Kabuki be used rather than a traditional single or double kabuki?  Generally when the purpose of the drape is to hide a second band’s equipment while the first band is onstage in front of the drape.  Once the first band has left the stage and their equipment has been cleared, the crew member quickly pulls down the drape to reveal the second band behind it.

Yes, this could be done with a Single Kabuki – however, a traditional kabuki system is more expensive and more complicated to set up, since it uses a solenoid system – and so a solenoid-based kabuki system is generally overkill in a simple “hide the second band” situation.  The Poor Man’s Kabuki isn’t meant to be used for dramatic reveals, but more as a masking piece.

16 11, 2009

Maxwell’s 2009 Tour – Dark and Light

By |November 16th, 2009|Projects|1 Comment

We work on a lot of music tours, and it is always fun to see the interesting and innovative set designs that the production designers come up with.  In some cases, the set is classic and elegant, in others it is funky and edgy.  For Maxwell‘s recent tour, the production designer presented Sew What? and our sister company Rent What? with a design that combined fabric, reflective elements, and mixed media pieces to make up a cohesive set that was eye-catching, dark and sexy.

The key to the design was the combination of black fabrics and reflective elements.  Though the design called for traditional drapery pieces, such as Proscenium Drapes, Riser Skirts, and the like, it was the choice of fabric – a black-on-black Mirror Sequin  textile – that took these pieces from traditional to WOW!

Building on the theme of reflection, we also made incredible mirror shard drapes – huge pieces of mirrors, carefully cut and broken into “shards” and attached to webbing headers.  The concept of shards continued in additional drapery – white voile was carefully cut with a hot knife to achieve a “tattered” appearance.

Rent What? also provided soft goods to the show, including a number of black masking drapes and borders.  A Silver Satin  Austrian Drape and set of swags provided another element of reflection and glamour.The most dramatic rental item, however, was the LED Star Drop (manufactured by Sew What?).  Made out of black synthetic velour, it includes dozens of twinkling lights, perfect for this show’s theme of light and dark.

All together, I think the set came out looking fabulous – just right for this sexy soulful artist.