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Monthly Archives: October 2013

11 10, 2013

Welcome Papa Bill!

By |October 11th, 2013|Company, News, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|1 Comment

Yes, it is that time again – “Papa Bill” Rowe (aka Megan’s dad) arrives next week from Australia, and everyone here can hardly wait.  Whether it’s helping our Quality Control guys check and fold drapes, helping our rental department inspect returned inventory, or helping our Shipping and Receiving Manager pack boxes, Bill is always ready to lend a hand wherever it is needed.  Not to mention that he is never without a smile for everyone he comes upon.

This year will be especially fun.  We’ve got tons of activities planned during his visit – from a block party with our neighbor Lowy Enterprises (complete with taco cart and music), to an afternoon of bedazzling of jeans and tee shirts, to celebrating Bill’s 70th birthday with an evening of country line dancing in our bedazzled clothes (those who know Bill know he is a big fan of both bedazzling and line dancing).  Hopefully he will even teach us all a line dance, as he did on his last visit.

Stay tuned for future blog posts (with photos) of Bill’s 2013 visit.  Until then, check out this post from last year and this post from August to learn more about Bill.

Papa pic with Crispin

8 10, 2013

Appliqued Backdrop For Panic! at the Disco

By |October 8th, 2013|Products, Projects|2 Comments

Back in late August, we made a gorgeous custom backdrop for Panic! at the Disco.  We all knew it looked beautiful in our sewing shop, but after looking at the amazing concert photos of Panic at the Disco that that our graphics coordinator Andrea Rennard found on Flickr and built a Gallery around, I knew I had to post on the project.

The process started with an apparently simple brief – make a black backdrop that prominently displayed the band’s logo in a reflective material.  Sew What Senior Sales and Creative Director Shane Nelsen dove in head first.  The solution to the underlying black backdrop was readily apparent – IFR Black 22oz Encore.  Selecting the best applique material was a little more challenging, but Shane was up to the task, working with our purchasing agent Greg Bowles to come up with a variety of samples of reflective materials for production to choose from.  The final choice? A pearlescent mylar cloth that looked beautiful as-is while also taking on colored lighting like a dream.

Our sewing shop began the project with building the flat black 24′ h x 40′ w backdrop. Then, our graphics coordinator Andrea Rennard utilized the band’s logo file to print a vinyl pattern of the 17′ h x 23′ w logo on our grand format digital printer.  This vinyl pattern was used by our sewing shop staff to cut out the appliqué from the pearlescent mylar. Then came the painstaking work of carefully sewing the appliqué onto the backdrop.  Sounds easy, but as the logo is nearly all curves, meticulous sewing was required to minimize shirring and puckering of the fabric.

The final project turned out to be gorgeous, as I’m sure you will agree after seeing these amazing photographs taken by Marion Mirou-Sirot at the band’s concert in Toronto in September.

 Panic! At The Disco

 Photo Courtesy © Marion Mirou-Sirot

Panic! At The Disco

 Photo Courtesy © Marion Mirou-Sirot

I love the way that the contrast of the black and white photo highlights the appliqué, while the color photo shows the versatility of the fabric when lit with colored lights.

There are many more beautiful photos of this backdrop.  If you’d like to see more, check out our Panic! at the Disco Gallery on Flickr.


4 10, 2013

Rediscovering a cool Motley Crue project

By |October 4th, 2013|Digital Printing, Projects|2 Comments

I have been spending some time sorting the Sew What? image archives, and it’s such a blast to walk down “drapery” lane. We really have had some stellar opportunities to put our stage backdrops both behind, and in front of, some top artists.

This project takes us back to June of 2006…………… when our very favorite graphic artist and master of imagery, Mr John Rios of Grafix Jam, prepared art for this MOTLEY CRUE tour – bringing about the design vision of Scott Holthaus.

There were various components in this stage set, all of textiles, making it a real showcase project for us!

At the start of the show, there was a SINGLE KABUKI, 34’0″h x 64’0″w sewn of FR Rip Stop, Black. This was a utility drape – used to hide the Motley Crue set during walk in time and also while the opening act was on stage. A basic black single kabuki is usually used for this type of scenario – it is an affordable soft good solution to mask the stage. With the Kabuki solenoids offering quick electrical deployment, they are a wonderfully easy and fast solution to “now you see it now you don’t!”

The main drapery elements for the stage set were the digitally printed kabuki drop and matching main drape kabuki legs. The body of the drop was designed to look like hospital ward, with aging tiles walls, frightening scars and scratches – real “cuckoo’s nest” feeling. The larger drape element being a 33’h x 60’w section – digitally printed on our Vutek Direct UV Printer, and the leg segments having graphic elements that matched up and overlapped for a seamless image. Digital printing certainly offers so many opportunities to bring large scale graphics to the stage. It’s very dynamic to have a concert stage backdrop that can be seen by the audience no matter where they are sitting.

Mot Crue_4

Dimensional staging gave lots of depth to the design and by creatively using digitally printed textile covers and facades for the staging elements, the feeling of a hospital ward was achieved. It allowed the lighting designer to select a single area on the stage to focus light – and draw the attention of the audience to a smaller area. Use of other textures such as vinyl coated mesh with digital printing to match, as well as some printed gaming suede, was used. The suede, when printed, takes on a very weathered and antiqued look. The vinyl coated mesh is transparent to sound allowing it to be used on the speaker stack fronts.

The upstage riser element gave a place for the artists to showcase while performing; beneath the risers, the various instrument technicians were able to house their equipment, all hidden behind over 500 square feet of printed stage skirting. We embedded Velcro doors and portholes into the design so that the technicians had access to the stage when needed – and it appeared seamless to the audience during show time.

Mot Crue_1

Part of the stage “flew in” on motors, creating what was referred to as the WONKA ROOM. This was fabric that was padded and upholstered to give the effect of a white padded cell room – with flickering fluorescent lights and all! The roof piece that flew in on motors spanned 20’w x 24’d, and we used a vinyl backing, then padded the face with a gaming suede front – buttons and studs gave a “white walled” effect. It was a great scene when all the stage lights went out and just the flickering padded room was left in lighting……… and let there be music!


As always there were lots of other generic stage drape and black masking softgoods, all sewn from our IFR Encore velour. It’s a really great textile – durable, washable and perfect for the rigors of the road.

Good times for all – gotta love the Crue – and what a Crue Fest it was!

1 10, 2013

Inspiration from the Rent What? Website, Part 2: Silver Mylar Rain Curtains

By |October 1st, 2013|Education, Products|0 Comments

Continuing with our new series breaking down the photos on the Rent What? website, today I’m focusing on the Silver Mylar Rain Curtains, shown on Photo # 513 as part of our “Oh So Swanky!” collection.


These drapes are all 10′ wide, but offered in two heights – 10′ h and 23′ h.  For this particular project, a number of the drapes of both heights were hung together to create one large, dramatic backdrop to the performance.  Note that the image of Elton John is owned by the customer and was hung in front of the rain curtain.