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Monthly Archives: January 2010

15 01, 2010

Monsters of Folk

By |January 15th, 2010|News, Projects|0 Comments

Rent What? got a great compliment recently from Marc Janowitz, Production Designer / Lighting Director for the Monsters of Folk tour that I posted about in early November, so I just had to pass it on.

In Morgan Loven’s article, “Monsters of Folk: Lighting from the Bottom Up,”  in the January 2010 issue of PLSN (Projection, Lights and Staging News), Marc specifically thanked Megan for stepping in at the last minute and providing rental drapes to the tour.  Marc even said that the drape provided by Rent What? was “even cooler than the one I had originally envisioned.”

I don’t know what Marc originally envisioned, but I must agree that the contour curtain that Monsters of Folk rented from Rent What? is seriously cool – and Marc’s lighting design makes it even cooler!  Great work, Marc!

The entire article is quite interesting to read, as Marc describes the process of designing a production – check it out if you get the chance.

13 01, 2010

Wondering how to clean synthetic fabric drapes?

By |January 13th, 2010|Education, Fabrics|0 Comments

In reviewing my posts over the last 9 months or so, I noticed that, while I had shared information on how to clean and maintain cotton velour drapes, I haven’t posted about cleaning drapery made from a synthetic fabric, whether it be a synthetic velour or another synthetic fabric.  So, I thought it was about time that I do so!

The first thing to consider is whether the fabric is topically treated for flame retardancy (FR) or is inherently/permanently/durably flame retardant (IFR/PFR/DFR).  Generally, you can find out this information by reviewing the Certificate of Flame Retardancy issued by the drapery manufacturer.  This is important, because some synthetic fabrics must still be topically treated for flame retardancy.

If your drape has been topically treated for flame retardancy, the drape must be dry-cleaned, using the same procedures as my earlier post for cleaning cotton velour.   Do not launder or otherwise clean with liquids!

However, if your drape is from an inherently/permanently/durably flame retardant fabric (such as Avora® or Trevira® polyesters and many other polyesters), you have the option to either launder or dry clean.  Smaller drapery can be machine-washed in any home washing machine.  Larger drapery should be professionally laundered or dry-cleaned.  Be aware that there could be a small amount of shrinkage (generally not more than 1%) when laundering.


  • Wash lights and darks separately
  • Hand wash or machine wash (“Delicate” cycle)
  • Cold water
  • Mild detergent (such as Woolite®)
  • No bleach
  • Hang dry or tumble dry at low to medium heat
  • Once drapes are dry, immediately hang or roll to prevent wrinkling

Dry Cleaning

  • Request the use of fluorcarbon solvents under easy care conditions

Spot Cleaning of non-velour fabrics

  • For drapes made from fabrics without a nap (such as Poly Muslin), you can also choose to spot clean if the drape is generally clean but has one or two small spots 
  • Use a stick stain remover (such as Tide To Go®) to help prevent water stains (which could result through use of spray and rinse type stain removers).


Proper maintenance can extend the life of the drapery.  If drapery is kept hanging (such as in a theatre), dust may accumulate on the drape.  To remove the dust, first brush the back of the drape, working from the left side to the right, using a soft bristled brush.  For non-napped fabrics, next brush the face of the drape in the same manner.  For napped fabrics (such as a synthetic velour), brush the face twice – first brushing the entire face of the drape by going against the nap and then brush the entire face of the drape by going with the nap.

If your drapes do not remain hanging but are instead stored for later use, make to store them properly.  Do not store in plastic as this can cause moisture to accumulate (which could lead to mildew or mold).  Instead, store in a Sew What? drapery bag or in a canvas bag or hamper.  To minimize wrinkling, fold along the width and then roll the drape from the bottom up to the top.  If possible, hang the drape several days before needed so that wrinkles can “hang out.”

11 01, 2010

Scrims in Schools

By |January 11th, 2010|Education, Projects|0 Comments

Recently, we got an e-mail from Leslie at Rutherford High School in Pennsylvania.  The school had purchased a custom scrim from us last month, and Leslie was raving about it – not just about the scrim itself, but about its use as a teaching tool.  As Leslie said, “Talk about a teachable moment–the day we installed it, my stagecraft students spent about 30 minutes just marvelling about how ‘seriously cool’ it was!”

I hadn’t really thought about this aspect of Sharkstooth Scrim before.  Most of the time, scrims are purchased by professional theatres and music tours – those places with professional lighting technicians on staff who know how to effectively light the scrim so that its “magical” properties appear.  But the truth is, these techniques can be learned and utilized in any theatre or auditorium environment – including schools such as Ringgold High School.  It just takes a little study, practice, and the right lights.

And what a great thing to teach stagecraft students!  I remember way back when in my own high school theatre days.  While my focus was on acting rather than on stage crew, I know that I would have loved to have learned about how scrims work.  As it is, I spent the next 25 years or so marvelling at the magic on stage until I started working at Sew What? and learned the secret behind the magic.

8 01, 2010

Sew What? Star of the Month – Jan. 2010

By |January 8th, 2010|Company, Sew What Team|1 Comment

Meet Gloria, Sewing Machine Operator. 

Gloria has been with Sew What? for two years.


Do you have any children?  Yes, three boys, ages 6, 1 1/2, and 8 months.

Do you have any pets?  What kind?  No pets.

What is your favorite food?  Chiles Rellenos.

What is your hobby?  Shopping!

What is your hometown?  Aguascalientes, Mexico.

What is your favorite sports team?  Chivas (Mexican soccer team)

What project have you worked on recently that was interesting or challenging?  The one project that was both interesting and challenging was the sunglasses printed on clear vinyl.  After that job, I knew I could accomplish anything.  I did it!

(Note:  The project that Gloria is referring to is the Soulja Boy Mixed Media Backdrop that Lynda blogged about in September).

6 01, 2010

Hanging option – Easy Klips

By |January 6th, 2010|Products|0 Comments

A couple of years ago, we started selling a product that I think is a really nifty little item, especially for special event projects in which drapery is only going to be used for a single short-term event or for a tour in which drapery will be used in multiple venues.

It’s called an Easy Klip, and it really is ingenious.  It is a smallish glass-fibre reinforced nylon eyelet clip (less than 3″ long and about 1 1/2″ wide) that is quick to attach, reusable, strong (each can hold up to 220 pounds) and can be repositioned in moments.  This makes it ideal for touring productions and special events companies, in which the infrastructure of the location (trusses, battens, ceiling joists, etc.) may not be as uniform or standardized as in a traditional theatre.

Here is how it works.  Rather than having grommets installed onto the drape, the customer installs the Easy Klips onsite.  The Easy Klip slides onto the cyclorama, backdrop, drape, or even raw fabric, and locks into place easily.  The user decides where on the drape or backdrop to attach the Easy Klips (the top, the bottom, and even the sides) and how close (or far apart) to place them.  The user can easily remove and reposition them as needed during the installation process.


Then, through the use of either a length of tieline or (even better) an Easy Loop (a loop of bungee cord with a hook at the end) threaded through the Easy Klip eyelet, the drape can then be hung from or attached to a truss, ceiling joist, exhibit booth, or frame.

Here is an example of a project that we worked on, in which Easy Klips were the ideal solution:

Private Function, San Diego

For this special event, the dramatic ceiling treatment would normally have taken days to manufacture and install.  Instead, the panels were quickly made up (no need to spend time punching grommets into the panel), Easy Klips were attached to the ends of the panels onsite, and the panels were then attached to motorized trusses.  The use of the Easy Klips allowed the installation crew to easily and quickly manipulate the length of each panel as needed onsite to achieve the desired effect.

Since then, a number of our clients have used the Easy Klips, and have raved about how great they are.  Yes, for a longterm installation (such as a grand drape in a traditional theatre), grommets (with ties or S-hooks), sewn ties, or other finishes applied during the drapery manufacturing process are still better options.  But for many short-term installation projects, Easy Klips are a great (and affordable) solution.