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16 02, 2015

I Love VINYL as much as I love BACKDROPS!

By |February 16th, 2015|Authors, Digital Printing, Products, Projects|1 Comment

I love vinyl – you know there is nothing quite like it.  The ambiance of the hum that the drive makes when you engage it to play – the soft crackle of the vinyl when the needle hits it before the music kicks in – not to mention that softer rounder warmer tone that seems to fill the room.  NOTHING makes me happier.

I do have many of my vinyl records on CD as well – funny – I actually went out in the mid 80’s and 90’s and bought all the music I already had on vinyl – but this time on CD.  For the clarity – the purity – the “amazing digitally remastered sounds” that the CDs promised.

Somewhere in the mix I may even have gone as far as buying the tunes for the THIRD TIME – via iTunes – oh the convenience of having some classic Whitesnake on my phone for when I am having a bad day……  Still of the Night is a classic tune! I was singing with Bob Hughes of All Access in the band Without Warning and I learned most all the tunes off of my records.

And now a strange twist – I see new artists and established artists alike are publishing on vinyl again.  In fact retailers such as Amoeba Records in Hollywood have a huge section dedicated to vinyl.  So we have come full circle.  In my case I don’t do CDs any more – am back to enjoying my records again – and along with a large like minded group of listeners have done a 360.  Much like a turntable – right back where we started.

So why talk about vinyl?  Because in my opinion VINYL is to music what TEXTILE BACKDROPS are to the touring concert industry.

Indeed – backdrops – cloth and paint and cottons and needle and thread…….  the art, craft, and warmth of them.  They too were all the rage if you look to the early days of the touring industry – Janis Joplin performed in front of gorgeous painted drops – the Soul Train show with hand crafted backdrops…….  textile arts at their very best. Artists in full swing creating sets and drops for broadway and theatre productions.  Artisans and Crafters.

The 90’s brought about tremendous technological advancements however – new and more powerful projectors for use in concert environments brought the artist to life in bigger than life real time imagery.  LED panels were developed and efficient touring packages were created to present any and every video feed that a creative programmer could throw at them.  Now the backdrop became an immersive experience.  100% live – 100% video – 100% bigger bolder and brighter.

What concertgoer would not want to see the show in full color!  It is exciting and there is certainly an energy that comes from being able to constantly change the background for the audience’s entertainment.

Interestingly – these last few years however have brought some of the old school acts and some newer artists with a penchant for vintage ways knocking on our door.  Stepping back to the basics – they are asking for the texture – the craft – the delight of a cloth backdrop for their shows.

Love to see this – we are like a good old vinyl record – at times set aside for something newer – but then longed for…..It is true – there is an art and a craft to what we do – and we are thankful for the acts that see a benefit to “a blend” – old school and tech too!  All in.

Black Sabbath is to be commended for their approach – LED screens set amid hand crafted and textured screen surrounds that are textile.  East meets west.  Vinyl meeds MP3.  LED meets 100% pure Cotton.

Bla Sab_2

Always looking for new ways to explore the blend of tech and craft…… let us know your ides for your next show and let’s get the turntable going………

11 02, 2015

Ivory Satin Austrian Drape Creates Spectacular Backdrop for Wedding

By |February 11th, 2015|Products, Projects|4 Comments

We love that we get to be a part of some of the biggest, most popular events going on today—everything from the Superbowl, Grammys, and VMAs, to the Golden Globes. But we also love being a part of special events that are more “local” in fashion, such as conventions, trade shows, parties, and of course, incredible weddings. Last summer we were really pleased to work with one of our favorite clients again, designer Ryan Konikoff with Rock The House Entertainment Group. We provided them with a stunning 23’h x 40’w Ivory Satin Austrian rental drape for a wedding and reception that they were designing for in Cleveland, Ohio, at the renowned State Theater at Playhouse Square.

DW_Rock The House, CR Ivory Austrian 1

With such a magnificent venue to design within, and with over 400 excited guests at the ready, they knew they needed something that could be versatile enough to use for the different elements of this special event, yet still astonish the guests. One of the great aspects of this drape is that it is a lighting designer’s dream come true—just splash some theatrical lighting on it and watch your entire décor transform! Our Austrian drapes can be used as both a working drape by using the lift lines to open and closen the curtain, or as a single luscious backdrop in and of itself, which is how Konikoff and his team of designers used it. Valarie Kirkbride from Kirkbrides Wedding Planning did an astounding job with the logistics of this large event, making sure everything ran smoothly with the team from Rock The House. And renowned wedding photographer Genevieve Nisly captured all of the magic moments from this special day just spectacularly. We were thrilled to be a part of this amazing wedding by providing a gorgeous backdrop to help create a truly unique and memorable design!

DW_Rock The House, CR Ivory Austrian 2

4 02, 2015

Opaque, Transparent, or Translucent…Understanding Different Theatrical Fabrics

By |February 4th, 2015|Education, Fabrics, Products|6 Comments

Opaque, transparent………. Or translucent? When buying custom made stage draperies or backdrops, what type of fabric should I choose and when?

This IS a great question – and in fact one which we are asked very frequently.  One of the first conversations I like to have when a new client connects with me is in fact – where is the drape going and how do you intend to use it?

So here are some tips and tricks for selecting an appropriate flame retardant fabric for your stage, theatre or event, as well as some key product fabric names to put in the mix for each category.




1. not able to be seen through; not transparent.

So let’s start with the heavy weight of the industry – the OPAQUE textiles that allow absolutely NO light through them. To determine if you have an opaque fabric, set it against a window, and if you can’t see any light passing through it then it is indeed opaque.  Opaque materials have uses in theatre and special events where you have a need to completely mask a light source, or to hide any all activity or action going on behind the drape.

An example – an upstage masking drape on a theatre stage where there is an artist walkway or passage way behind it.  You may have some low level lighting back there for the cast to move safely – and you won’t want to see the light or the people as they cross from stage left to stage right behind the drape.

A second example
– portable dressing room spaces or artist rest zones…. Such as pipe and drape setups in an arena that are designed to provide privacy. You won’t want everyone seeing the shadows through the drape if there are people changing in there – you want privacy for the artist and certainly don’t need to encourage any peeping – so again – an opaque material would be the right choice here.

Lastly – a main stage grand drape in a traditional theatre installation needs to be opaque.  When the drape is closed and in audience view – you don’t want to see any set changes taking place on stage – so the drape needs to be opaque.  Bear in mind, however – you can make a drape opaque by LINING it with a second fabric….. so don’t eliminate a cloth choice just because it is not opaque in and of itself.  If budget permits, then a lining will indeed do the trick.

Here are some fabrics that are OPAQUE:

22oz Encore Velour (

13oz Apollo Velour (

Roadura (

And an OPAQUE LINING option: Ranger Lining Cloth: (




1. (of a substance) allowing light, but not detailed images, to pass through; semitransparent.

TRANSLUCENT fabrics are very often lighter to the touch and fall into the silky and soft categories. Usually medium to light weight, these more translucent materials are typically polyesters, poly blends or nylons; however, there are some finely milled cottons that are also translucent.  Translucency is important in scenarios such as these:

1) you plan to “back light” the drapery and you want the drapes to glow with the lighting effects from behind

2) you are going to create a silhouette effect with artists or props……… in these scenarios we put a person behind the translucent drapes and then light them from behind – what we the audience will see is in fact the shadow or silhouette of the action.  This is a dramatic effect often used at the start of concerts.

3) you won’t have any backlight at all to contend with – in this case it really isn’t an issue if a fabric is a medium or light weight or if it is translucent – if you are always using front light – and have no concern that back lighting will impact the effect, then you have many fabrics to choose from

4) you plan to rear project video onto the backdrop or drapery – for a “poor man’s” projection screen, we often see translucent fabrics used for rear (and of course front) projection.  It is an affordable way to get a large surface to project video or images onto from behind.


Some TRANSLUCENT fabrics we represent that are popular in the marketplace are:

Poly Silk (

Stretch Cambio: (

Textura: (




1. (of a material or article) allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.

Flame retardant fabrics that are transparent are a unique lineup of textiles.  The most common materials that are used are the “magic fabrics” such Sharkstooth Scrim, Opera Net, Bobinette or Gauze.  Other materials such as Voile (pronounced Voy-el) are also transparent.  I like to compare transparent to sheer – or “very see through”.

There are of course plenty of opportunities to use these transparent materials – in particular the “magic fabrics” such as sharkstooth scrim.  What makes this an interesting and popular cloth is that when front lit it will take on the appearance of being opaque – but it is in fact an optical illusion due to the coarse weave of the cotton threads.  When you remove the front light from the cloth and light whatever object is on the stage behind the cloth then you will see right through it! And there is the magic.  Now you see it, now you don’t.  Traditional theatre productions love scrim and bobinettes for these special effects.  The fabrics tend however to be more fragile than their translucent or opaque counterparts – so for a touring environment they aren’t as well suited.

Sharkstooth Scrim: (

Bobinette: (

Voile: (

For those who want to read a little more about scrims – or are undure of how the effect works – we have a white paper on it on our website:

For a downloadable whitepaper answering questions on fabric choice, see our whitepaper, “Making the Best Fabric Choice for Stage Draperies

3 02, 2015

Sew What? Inc. / Rent What? Inc. Are Now Hiring!

By |February 3rd, 2015|Company, News, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|1 Comment

We are HIRING – share with any friends, contacts or colleagues that you might feel could be a great fit!



Sew What? Inc. / Rent What? Inc. Are Now Hiring

Are you……………..Interested in concert draperies and backdrops?

Do you…………..Live in L.A.?

Do you…………Love fabrics – textiles – stage design?  

Are you………...Looking for a fast paced work environment where every day is different and no two projects are alike?

Drop us a line and let’s talk!

Open Positions Include:

  • “Customer Service and Sales Rockers and Rollers” (Full time in house position selling theatrical draperies and related products into the entertainment and event industries.)
  • “Social Media and Brand Awareness Rockstar” (Part time in house social media marketing position)

Dog lovers SHOULD APPLY! Got Tattoos? Cool! Love music?  Perfect – so do we!

Email your resume to:

2 02, 2015

Helping Set The Scene With Our Electrifying Mylar Rain Curtain

By |February 2nd, 2015|Products, Projects|5 Comments

Nothing helps sets the scene for a glamorous, star-studded event like the 72nd Golden Globes Awards than a backdrop that will sizzle, sparkle and pop! We were absolutely thrilled to work with an amazing production company this year, Viewfinder Productions, LLC, by providing them with the drapery elements and pipe and base hardware to help set the stage for a completely clever, and absolutely stunning, part of this year’s awards show experience, The Golden Globes Photo Booth.

Golden Globe photo booth pic--good.png

One of our glitzy Mylar Rain Curtains from our Oh So Swanky rental drapery collection, standing in front of one of our rich, velvety black masking drapes created the perfect backdrop for this entertaining and exciting idea of a “celebrity photo booth”. Creatively designed by Kristen Vallow, and captured superbly by photographer  Ellen von Unwerth, you can check out more amazing photos of almost every major actor, actress, and comedian on the planet right here on The Golden Globes Official Instagram page.These images perfectly embody the vivacious, effervescent atmosphere of this year’s awards show. What an incredibly fun night, and we were so happy to be a part of helping make the magic happen with our beautiful rental stage drapes and hardware!