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Monthly Archives: December 2009

30 12, 2009

100 Posts

By |December 30th, 2009|Authors, Company|0 Comments

Today, as I opened up WordPress to write a new post, I noticed something that surprised me.  This is the 100th post!

On the one hand, it seems like it was only yesterday that my first post (under the user name “admin” as my own user ID had not yet been created), titled “What Fabric is Best for Stage Skirts and Black Stage Curtains?”, was published on March 24, 2009.  On the other hand, sometimes it seems as if I have been doing this for years rather than just 9 months.

Along the way, I have been joined by Megan, giving tidbits about the history of the company, her thoughts on the industry, and so much more, and by Silvia, introducing you to the fabulous Sew What? team.  My thanks to them for bringing new topics and perspectives to this blog.

I am looking forward to many more posts in the new year and to hitting the one year mark in just a few months.  I’ll keep bringing you information on custom stage curtains, band backdrops, fabric, flame retardancy, interesting projects we work on, and anything else that I can think of that you will (hopefully) find informative, educational, inspiring, or just plain entertaining.

Remember, I love to hear from my readers, so feel free to comment!

28 12, 2009

The Entertainment Industry Helps Its Own

By |December 28th, 2009|Education, links, News|0 Comments

As the year winds to a close, I started thinking about the organizations that help folks in the entertainment industry.  I count myself lucky to be working at a company that provides steady employment, health benefits, etc., but there are many people working in the entertainment industry who may not work all the time, may not have employer-paid health benefits, or may need financial and emotional support in dealing with a life-threatening illness.  On that note, I thought I’d tell you about a couple of non-profit organizations that provide support to individuals in the entertainment industry and/or to other organizations that provide services to people in the entertainment industry.

Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS

This non-profit organization started in the late ’80s as two separate organizations – Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS.  Broadway Cares was founded by members of The Producers’ Group, while Equity Fights AIDS was started by the Council of Actors’ Equity Association. 

The two organizations merged in 1992 to become Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, a single not-for-profit organization.  That first year, the new organization gave out just over $1.5 million in grants, some directly to entertainment-industry individuals living with HIV / AIDS and other health-related issues, and some to community-based organizations offering AIDS services.  By 2009, that figure had grown to over $7.9 million in grants this year alone.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes, sponsored by the non-profit educational organization, The ESTA Foundation, is dedicated to providing financial support to ill or injured entertainment technology professionals and their families.

A relatively new organization, Behind the Scenes has provided over $100,00 in grants since 2006 and is currently working to raise $5 million to create an endowment.

Entertainment Industry Foundation

While the focus of Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS and Behind the Scenes in on the entertainment industry helping “its own,” the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) looks beyond the borders of the industry to help people from all walks of life.  Based in Los Angeles, EIF provides financial support to and awareness of causes as diverse as Stand Up to Cancer, Right Action for Women, Charlize Theron Africa Outrieach Project, Blackeyed Peas Peapod Music and Arts Academy, and John Legend’s Show Me Campaign.

25 12, 2009

Happy Holidays, everyone

By |December 25th, 2009|Company|0 Comments

All of us here at Sew What? and Rent What? would like to wish you a safe and fun-filled holiday.  It truly is a magical time of year, a time to spend with friends and family, a little break from the hub-bub of every day life.

Hope you enjoy our tree and Renty the Snowman!  (Renty is the closest we get to a real snowman here in Southern California!).


24 12, 2009

Printing for Christmas

By |December 24th, 2009|Digital Printing, Projects|1 Comment

We recently completed a 24′ h x 40′ w digitally printed project for Brian Setzer for the current “Christmas Rocks! Extravaganza” tour.  We have worked with this client before and enjoy doing their projects, and in the past have provided everything from traditional textiles to digitally printed backdrops to stage set elements.  But our most favorite time of the year is Christmas – we love to decorate and celebrate – and we always get excited about participating in Christmas shows, so this was a fun print project to tackle.

The project took one week to complete.  We did not design the artwork ourselves – instead it was build by the client’s own graphic artist as a vector file in Adobe Illustrator ®.  This was a cartoon-style graphic – lots of color and bright imagery. 


This type of graphic particularly lends itself to being digitally printed – the blues and bright tones show so well under concert stage lighting.


For this backdrop, we chose a heavy knit for two reasons.  First, in our industry, being flame retardant to national standards (at a minimum) is very important, and this material met the client’s requirements in terms of flame retardancy.  Second, knit type materials are perfect when the client needs to store the pieces folded up – when re-hung, the knit fabric relaxes and the wrinkles tend to hang out fairly well.  As you can imagine, in a stage or concert backdrop, clients don’t want to see wrinkles!

We use exclusively 3M inks with our 120″ Vutek QS3200 printer and use Colorburst for our RIP software.  I think the combination of the inks, the printer, and the software really come together for beautiful colors in the end product. 


For this project, print time took four hours, not including sewing / finishing time.  The piece was finished with webbing, grommets & ties across the top (we use a Jopevi electric grommet machine), which is a traditional backdrop finish.  The sides are durably hemmed (we prefer Consew brand commercial sewing machines) and the bottom is completed with a hidden weight pocket to help the drop hang nicely.

Offering digitally printed textiles in addition to our regular services is a benefit to our clients and allows us to keep the complete show in-house in terms of production.   I tend to post a lot about concert projects we work on – primarily because those are the projects that we can usually get photos of or find videos on YouTube.  However, as a full service sewing shop, we do produce all sorts of textile products for the theatre and stage, including traditional stage draperies, and more and more we are beginning to get request for digitally printed backdrops from schools, churches, and other non-tour customers – they really add a beautiful element to a show, and if the artwork is nice (such as a beautiful snow scene), the drop can be used at the annual holiday show for years to come.

23 12, 2009

Sew What? Rockin’ T-Shirt

By |December 23rd, 2009|Company|3 Comments

Each year around this time, we print a limited edition of Sew What? tee shirts – not for sale, but to give to employees and customers.  Awhile back, I posted a photo of the 2008 tee on a laundry line in Italy.

Up until now, the shirts have all been pretty similiar – black shirts with our logo and sometimes a catchy phrase.  This year, though, we were so impressed with the artwork that graphic artist John Rios of GrafixJam created for another project that we decided to have John create a unique “Rock-N-Roll / Metal” style design for the 2009 Sew What? shirt.

Check out the front design:


And on the back shoulder was the “DrapeMonster” logo:


Pretty cool, don’t you think?  We usually just have regular tee shirts made, but this time we also got some tank tops, for something a little more feminine (but still rockin”).

Thanks for the awesome design, John!

By the way, I have also recently discovered that John has a blog.  I just took a quick look through it and really liked it, and I am majorly impressed that he has been at it for two years now (I’ve only been blogging for about six months).  Keep up the good work, John.  I can’t wait to read more.