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Monthly Archives: August 2014

20 08, 2014

Fall Color Trends in Stage Drapery? Think Reds and Burgundies

By |August 20th, 2014|Fabrics, News, Products|0 Comments

As the summer winds down, I start thinking about wardrobe changes for the Autumn.  Away go the tanks and short sleeved tees, out come the sweaters (lightweight, as I am in Southern California, after all) and long-sleeved tops. But more changes than the sleeve length and fabric weight – so do the colors.  Away go the lighter colors, out come the deeper, richer colors of Autumn.  Rich Browns, Creams, Dark Greens, Deep Blues and especially Sumptuous Reds and Burgundys.


But it’s not just fashion colors that change with the transition from Summer to Fall. I’ve noticed that trends in stage drapery colors shift as well, especially to the red / burgundy color family. For rentals, the Autumn is when our rental drapery collections featuring red and burgundy fabrics (including Rockin’ Red and Timeless and Traditional) are in especially high demand. Whether someone is looking for drapery in a bright red fabric for a Christmas Concert (such as our Red Satin Austrian Drape or Crimson Cabaret Grand Drapes, or Red Super-Vel Swags) or drapery in a rich burgundy for a November special event (such as our Burgundy Super-Vel Venetian, Pleated Panels, Borders and Swags), time and time again, it seems like red is the hottest ticket from September through the holiday season.

Reds and burgundies are hot on the sales side as well.  With so many options for fabrics for custom stage drapes, as well as for drapery for special events and exhibit booths, there is a lot to choose from in the red color family.  For traditional theatre curtains, a customer might consider a synthetic velour such as IFR Encore (available in Crimson, Plum and Cabernet) or cotton velour such as FR 21oz Marvel (available in Jezebel, Claret, Wine, and several other red tones) or several other synthetic or cotton theatrical fabrics.  A similar variety of red toned colors are available in special event fabrics, such as satins and silks.

So as you start thinking of designs for your Autumn and holiday concerts, shows, and events, why not “Think Red?”  It really does suit the season!

19 08, 2014

Pipe and Drape – an Flexible Option for Houses of Worship

By |August 19th, 2014|Products|0 Comments

Last week, I wrote a post about the many ways that schools can use pipe and drape – from fundraising booths to graduation backdrops and much more.  The more I thought about, the more I realized that pipe and drape is also a great option for churches and other houses of worship.

As the holiday season approaches, houses of worship are likely planning a number of events for which backdrops and decor are needed, and pipe and drape is a terrific option.

PD_Blue Pipe and Drape

The pipe and drape set up shown above would be a beautiful option for a gospel performance.

Here are just a few ways that pipe and drape can be incorporated:

Choir / Gospel Performance: If your church does not have a dedicated area for the choir, create one using pipe and base. Taller sections of pipe and drape can be utilized to create a beautiful backdrop for the choir. If the choir is seated for all or part of the service, utilizing a shorter section of pipe and base in front as a modesty panel.  Create a beautiful backdrop for a gospel performance utilizing pipe and drape.  For something really special, utilize pipe and drape to hang a beautiful LED Stardrop.

Holiday Plays and Performances: Want to hang a painted or printed backdrop to set the stage for the Nativity Play, but don’t have a traditional stage with overhead truss or pipes?  Why not use pipe and base components to hang that backdrop?

Holiday Fundraising Bazaars: Rather than just setting up a variety of tables, consider creating separate booths for your event.

Rolling Hills Stardrop 1

Want a look like this but don’t have an overhead truss? Use pipe and base components to hang an LED Stardrop.

These are just a few of the many ways that pipe and drape, whether purchased or rented, can be a great option for houses of worship.  While the holiday season is months away, we all know how quickly time can fly.  If you start thinking about all the little details now, you can get everything ready early and have time to enjoy the holiday season.

Pipe & Drape Questions? See our whitepaper:
Demystifying Exhibit Booths: Pipe and Drape Systems

13 08, 2014

It’s a New School Year – Time to Start Planning for Events

By |August 13th, 2014|Education, Products|1 Comment

This morning as I drove into work, I noticed that suddenly the line for my daily latte was long and the traffic on the freeway had become crowded.  I couldn’t understand this change, as lines had been short and traffic light for the last few months.  Suddenly I realized – summer is over and school is back in session.

So I thought this was a good time give teachers and parents a bit of inspiration on the ways that pipe and drape can be used for school functions, productions, and events.

PD_Booth Set-up w-yellow

Not sure what I mean by pipe and drape? “Pipe and drape” is the common term for the components used to make trade show booths. If you have gone to a home or craft show at your local convention center, then chances are, you’ve seen pipe and drape systems.  They are super-simple to put together (no tools required), they are affordable, and they can be used in so many different ways apart from the usual trade show booth, making them a great option for schools.

PD_PB hardware 2

Here are just a few of the ways that parents and teachers might use pipe and drape:

  • Create temporary dressing rooms backstage for the school play
  • Use for a PTA fundraising booth in the school parking lot during football games (spice the booth up with drapes in your school colors or a backdrop featuring the school logo and mascot)
  • Make the gym a more beautiful place for a school dance (or even the prom) by using pipe and drape to hide walls and bleachers
  • As a beautiful backdrop to graduation ceremonies (especially those held on footfall fields, as mine was)

The best thing is, pipe and drape is available for both purchase and rental – so even with super-tight budgets at schools these days, there is an affordable option for almost any school or PTA!

6 08, 2014

Bird’s Eye View

By |August 6th, 2014|Authors, Company|0 Comments

Our offices here at Sew What? / Rent What? are neatly arranged one floor above the other – and while I envy those below who don’t have to navigate the stairs in their stilettoes, I do love my bird’s eye view of the production floor from my second floor office window. We refer to the upstairs offices as being in the “tree house” – yes – we’re productive like squirrels all day long up here.


One part of being successful in manufacturing is to always be looking for best practices and seeking improvements on the shop floor.  Processes and product flow can make, or break, a profit margin………… So I try to take time each day while I work at my computer and on the phones to also observe the goings on as they “go on” out my window.

I see boxes enter via the back corner loading dock door – cloth inventories available on my computer screen promptly adjust – and suddenly the cutting table is buzzing with cloth and scissors as the materials hit the production flow. We’re a J.I.T manufacturer – that means that, by model, we purchase supplies “Just In Time” and “By The Order”.  So accuracy of purchasing, timing of receiving, and swiftness to convert raw goods to finished product are where the magic is at.


Shift focus to the three sewing teams – each with their twin 40 foot pin-sew tables and sets of buzzing machines ……  Cutting delivers precut cloth of all colors and fibers to the teams –who work diligently to sew, pin, match patterns and pleat as needed. It takes some mad skills to turn a pile of 170 yards of raw fabric into a single and stage ready drape.  As you sew – it grows – and as it grows it gets,  yes you said it – VERY heavy!.  Slick tables, years of material manipulation and machine skills all come into play as each team puts all hand on deck to complete the orders gracefully – without having to call on any back injuries!


The teams proudly deliver their sewn goods over to the Quality Control staff… here in a 40′ x 60′ clear open space, our QC department goes to business.  Checking all measurements, trimming missed or loose threads, adding chain weights to the bottoms of drapes, and then finally inserting the needed hardware, grommets and ties and s-hooks and such, into the drapes. Right down to hanging and photographing each piece for our QC archives.

And now to fold – hmmmmm – have you ever tried to fold a king size sheet on your own without it hitting the floor or getting dirty?  Well, some of these drapes are 40 feet x 60 feet as a single piece, and often times bleached white! – so I honestly  marvel at the staff’s oversized origami skills as they accordion, roll, wrap and fold these monster drapes and insert them with care into a fresh branded bag.


You probably have seen our drape bags around town (or in other countries for that matter). Our most famous branded bags keep the drapes clean and double as a laundry bag for our touring friends. Black bags for drapes sold and green bags for drapes rented.  Yes – we take time to pay attention to the branding, too.

Watching the drapes evolve as the many and varied processes wrap around the shop floor is very exciting – and gives me opportunity to see room for improvement….  Not that long ago that I called out some suggestions to the staff to help store and stack the supplies that they were tripping over….

Thankful – the production floor has exceptionally skilled staff – I would like to think that they are in fact “twice-gifted” in their crafts.  As firstly, when they joined us they were experts in the craft of sewing – but now they are experts in creating spectacular stage textiles…. It’s art! Big, Bold, beautiful, Backdrop ART!

And so now out my window, I see the roller doors closing, the work in progress being covered by moisture resistant blanket covers, the lights turning off and laughs as staff are leaving … heading home for the night.

There will be more drapes tomorrow!

5 08, 2014

Beautiful Performance by Aerosmith at the Forum

By |August 5th, 2014|Clients, News, Products, Projects|1 Comment

A few weeks ago, we were contacted by Steve “Chopper” Borges, Production Manager for legendary rockers Aerosmith.  He was looking for an interesting drape, along with traveler track, to use for the tour’s upcoming show at the Forum in LA. Megan Duckett suggested the opulent Crimson Cabaret bi-parting drape as an eye-catching addition to the set design, and Chopper agreed.

Imagine our surprise and delight to learn that our rental drape was used during the concert for the surprise reveal of the Southern California Children’s Chorus, featured in a new version of Aerosmith’s classic song, Dream OnThis version of the song is dedicated to the band’s hometown of Boston and those impacted by the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“The Southern California Children’s Chorus, directed by Lori Loftus, joined Aerosmith at The Forum in Los Angeles on July 30, 2014 for a brilliant performance of “Dream On.””