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Monthly Archives: March 2010

17 03, 2010

March Anniversaries

By |March 17th, 2010|Company, Sew What Team|0 Comments

As it turned out, we didn’t have any anniversaries in February, but I am back with a long list of March anniversaries. 

It really is amazing to note the longevity of many Sew What? employees, as you will see from this list.  Maria is the very first employee that Megan hired, and she is still with us today!

Maria, Sewing Machine Operator – 12 years

Raul, Shipping & Receiving Coordinator – 7 years

Lynda, General Manager – 6 years

Gwen, Account Manager – 1 year

Please join me in wishing a Happy Anniverary to all!

15 03, 2010

Tension Fabric Shapes

By |March 15th, 2010|Products, Projects|0 Comments

Recently we got an e-mail from Brandon Reed, Director of College Ministry at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, TN, raving about the custom tension fabric shapes that we made him.  His e-mail made me realize that I haven’t posted much about this item, so I thought I’d do so today.

What are Tension Fabric Shapes?  They are geometric shapes (triangles, squares, rectangles, stars, etc.) made from a stretch fabric such as Cambio!

The most simple stretch shapes are two-dimensional and frameless.  With these pieces (we offer a number of tension fabric shapes), the shapes are hemmed on all sides, with reinforced grommets placed at the corners or points.  The shape is then displayed by hanging from a batten or truss and then tensioning the sides (by attaching to the side of the proscenium or a moveable upright) and/or bottom (by attaching to sandbags or directly to the stage floor or the back of the stage deck), often with clear monofilament (fishing line).  Some great examples of this type of tension fabric shape are shown on our website, on the Special Events Portfolio page – check out the Bridal Table by Details Ottawa.

In addition to hanging shapes, tension fabric shapes are also made by combining stretch fabric with metal frames in either two-dimensional or three-dimensional configurations.  This creates a tension fabric shape that can be easily moved to a variety of locations onstage without having to worry about attaching the piece to the stage itself.

In the case of Grace Community Church, two-dimensional metal triangles were custom-made for the church by another supplier.  Sew What? then made custom stretch pieces to fit the frames.   The fabric shapes were attached to the frames using Velcro (loop velcro sewn to the perimeter of the shapes and then adhesive hook velcro attached to the frame).  With targeted lighting, the church is able to create a variety of interesting looks to provide a backdrop to the show.


Photo By Heather Kennedy

The best thing, though, is that tension fabric shapes are a really affordable option (especially frameless shapes) – which makes them a great option for organizations (such as churches, schools, or event planners) who want to create a really dramatic look to a show or event but have a limited budget.

12 03, 2010

Silver Scrim for Yusuf Islam

By |March 12th, 2010|News, Projects|0 Comments

This past October, we were selected by Marc Brickman, Set and Lighting Designer for the “Guess I’ll Take My Time” tour of Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) to make an interesting piece for the tour, which took place in the UK in late Fall 2009. 

Finding the right material was crucial, and so we sourced a  number of different scrims, nets, and similar fabrics in shades of grey, silver and black, and sent samples out to the tour for lighting tests. 

Ultimately, the material chosen was a metallic silver fabric similar to Sharkstooth Scrim.  From that material, we created a dramatic 35′ h x 57′ w piece, to be used by the tour as a projection surface.  This material was chosen for the combination of its reflective qualities and its tourability.

We were really pleased to be mentioned by Dietrich Juengling, the tour’s video content designer, in regards to this project, in a piece in Total Production International.  It is so rewarding to not only make a drape that we are ourselves proud of, but to also be recognized by the client in such a way!

10 03, 2010

Traveling with the Latitude Z

By |March 10th, 2010|Authors, Company|0 Comments

This weekend I got my first opportunity to try out the Latitude Z while traveling.  This was a quick, easy tryout, as Adam and I, along with our son, just took a drive down the coast and stayed in a resort overnight, to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

When I got the Latitude-Z, I noticed that it doesn’t come with a built-in DVD drive.  This surprised me at first, but then I realized that, at about 1/2 inch deep, there just isn’t room for a DVD drive.  To me it is worth the sacrifice to have such a thin and lightweight computer, since all you have to do is plug the external DVD (or BluRay) drive into the side of the computer, and you are all set.  This really came in handy over the weekend – I was able to bring one of my son’s favorite DVDs on the trip with us.  I botted up the computer, plugged in the DVD drive, inserted the movie, and he was all set.  No more hotel room boredom!  Yes, I’ve been able to do this in the past with other notebook computers, but the picture and sound quality on the Latitude-Z are so much better than my past computers – the HD display in particular makes a huge difference.

The Latitude also worked really well for me to stay connected with work.  Despite being out of town for a “pleasure trip,” I did need to look up some information on the fly for a customer.  I connected remotely to my office computer, got the information I needed, and quickly sent an e-mail to the client with the information.  What might have taken an hour (calling another staff member, perhaps having someone drive to the office to look up the information) was accomplished in just a few minutes.  So convenient.  Again, I’ve done this in the past with other notebook computers, but often the display quality on a remote connection is poor, and generally the connection is also pretty slow.  With the Latitude-Z, the display was much better and there was only minimal lag time with the connection.

I also got the chance to play with a few more features.  One of the coolest features I came upon is Dell Capture.  Dell Capture is included software that allows you, through the use of the built-in webcam, to scan documents and business cards directly into the computer.  My first attempts were only partially successful (due to user error rather than the software itself), but after a little practice, I found that I could successfully scan a business card and then export it into Outlook as a contact.  Cool!  I know that there are plenty of card scanners out there, but they always seemed like overkill for  my needs.  This will be perfect for me.

So, all in all, a good weekend – a fun and relaxing time with my family, a little bit of work, and lots of fun playing with the Latitude-Z.

8 03, 2010

Focus On: Bottom Finishes

By |March 8th, 2010|Education, News, Products|0 Comments

Recently, I blogged on fullness and top finishes – today I thought I’d give a little insight into bottom finishes.

The most common bottom finish for stage curtains is a lined hem with raised chain.  A 6″ bottom hem is sewn to the bottom of the curtain.  This hem is lined with a 4″ pocket (generally of muslin).  Jack chain is then threaded into the interior pocket.  Because the interior pocket is 2″ shorter than the hem, the chain floats above the bottom edge of the curtain hem.  This prevents the chain from dragging on the floor when the curtain is opened or closed and also helps make a “seal” between the bottom edge of the drape and the (often uneven) stage floor.

A standard hem (2″, 4″ or 6″) is used primarily for drapes that will not travel, especially smaller drapes in doorways and drapes used for exhibit booths.  This hem is similar to the previously mentioned hem, but does not include the interior pocket or the chain.

Theatrical backdrops and cycloramas are generally made with either a lined pipe hem or a pipe pocket with skirt front as the bottom finish.  Both allow for a metal pipe to be inserted in the bottom of the backdrop, which allows the piece to hang “flatter.”  The pipe hem appears very similar to a standard hem, but is open on both sides to allow the pipe to be inserted. 


In the case of the skirted pipe pocket, the skirt hangs 1″ to 2″ below the pipe pocket.  Like the Lined Hem with Chain, this bottom finish helps seal the drop to an uneven stage floor.


Next up – Side Finishes…