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26 08, 2015

Meet the Sew What? and Rent What? Staff, Part 17: Sweetie

By |August 26th, 2015|Company, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|2 Comments

Next in our series of “Meet the SW? Staff” is one of the most popular, and HARD-WORKING, employees that our company has ever had. We are so happy to introduce you to Sweetie, a Schnauzer-Terrier mix who has completely innovated our daily operations with her years of warehouse experience, her keen sense of smell and intuition, and of course her infectious smile. She wanted to tell you a little bit about her background in her own words, so please take a minute and read all about this very bright, extremely focused, and always-smiling pup that makes our world a lot brighter by just stepping her silvery little paw into it!

Photo A

When did you first start at Sew What? What were you originally hired to do, and how have your duties changed since working here?

I have been a member of the SW? Family since my mommy and daddy (Megan and Adam Duckett, CEO and COO respectively of SW? Inc.) adopted me almost 18 years ago. I originally thought of myself as a “part time pup” though, only coming into work from time to time, enjoying the quiet afternoons at home with my best buddy and big brother, Romeo, an adorable Shitzu-Terrier mix. But once he crossed over the rainbow bridge, I decided the best way to keep my mind occupied, and still get LOTS of love and attention, was to come back into work as much as possible. Best decision I ever made! I am officially a “co-office pup” with my brother Crispin, and — quite honestly—I don’t know how they managed before we got here!

Photo 1

If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I love going for car rides, and always like to race out the front door like lightning to make sure I get to the car first.  That way I can get the best spot in the crate by the window, so I can feel the rush of the wind on my face. I also once went camping with my “human brother” William and his Scout troop and had a BLAST chasing them all around the campground, until they were screaming with how much fun they were having! (Or screaming for me to stop, I can’t remember exactly which it was). All I know is that it was some of the most fun I have ever had, and I just love being anywhere my humans are–even if it’s “ruff-ing” it on a campsite, or just hanging out at home. I have more energy than most of my senior pup counterparts, so as long as I get to MOVE MOVE MOVE, then I’m a happy girl!

What kind of work did you do before coming to Sew What?

Working at Sew What? is all I’ve ever known— with the occasional part time gig helping my daddy go out to site inspections or networking with other pups in the industry. I’m a warehouse doggy at heart, and I just love the fast paced environment that it brings.

Do you have a special talent?

I’m technically a “Miracle Canine,” as I was very sick with Parvo as a young pup, but was saved with blood and plasma transfusions and lots of care and love from my family. I like to think that the blood they gave me was from a SUPER canine, like Lassie, Hachi, or Rin Tin Tin, and I have always promised to use my exceptional intelligence and incredible interpersonal skills for good, and not evil. I have the ability to walk forward while facing backwards—you never know if someone behind you might have a tasty morsel to share! And my energy knows no limits, so I like to think I have a talent for bringing up the energy level of everyone around me. Working in a warehouse, this is super important in helping keep my fellow employees as productive as possible!

Photo 2

What is your favorite memory/circumstance/event from being part of the Sew What? family?

Are you kidding? IT’S THE FOOD!! My wonderful co-workers LOVE to have special luncheons, birthday parties, holiday events, and fiestas of all kinds. I like to think of myself as “The Grey Ninja,” and can sneak up on someone’s lunch or snack without making a single sound. Just the soft crunching of the food is all that can be heard, and by then I’ve had my little treat and am back out on the hunt. Everyone is super careful not to let me eat any people food, but they are really no match for my stealthy skills.

I also love running across the warehouse from the main office out to the Logistics Office, the department (I like to think) I control, and I am faster than the wind! Some of my favorite memories are running through the warehouse, letting my fellow co-workers shout out greetings to me and give my head a respectful pat. I’m always especially happy to visit everyone right after I get one of my famous hairdos, called the Daisy Cut, because then no one can resist my charms, even the shipping crew.

What is your favorite sports team/TV Show/Book/Movie?

I’m not a huge fan of sports teams or books, but I DO like watching Animal Planet  and NatGeo—anything with squirrels, kitties, or birds on the TV. Basically, any critter that I would have fun chasing!

What are some of your hobbies?

I’m a big advocate of walking, and LOVE to go for long walks around the neighborhood smelling every stick, bush, tree, rock, and leaf I come across. Usually I go with my mommy or daddy, but I enjoy walking with anyone that will take me! I have a lot of fun especially when I get to walk around with my brother Crispin, as we both really enjoy getting our leads all tangled together and around whatever lucky human got to walk with us. Makes me laugh every time! I also like napping on comfortable doggy beds laid out all around the office—it helps keep me young, and keeps my energy levels up.

 What project have you worked on recently that was interesting or challenging?

I am VERY good at helping my colleagues in the QC (Quality Control) department, and recently I got to help inspect some very elaborate framed stretch drapes. I was proud of the work my co-workers put into finishing it so beautifully and was just very happy to be a part of the team!

Anything more about your time here at SW?

I am so lucky that I have such a wonderful human family, AND a great canine brother in Crispin, too! But I also can’t stop wagging my fancy little pony-tail when I think of the fantastic people here in my Whatters family, and how good they are to me. Each day brings about new adventures—and I’m always SO happy when I get to join in the fun!

Photo 3

 

24 08, 2015

Need New Stage Curtains but Not Sure of Where to Begin?

By |August 24th, 2015|Education|1 Comment

We often get requests for a quote for a “standard” stage curtain – standard size, standard fabric, standard finishes.  In reality, there is no such thing as a “standard” stage curtain.  For one thing, every stage is different – different heights, different widths, different everything!  In addition, there are so many options in terms of fabric and drapery style that the only limit is your vision and your budget.

Gridworks-Princess-Grand-Drape

So, perhaps you are thinking about replacing those old, tattered main drapes in your school auditorium or community center stage with beautiful new custom stage curtains.  Or perhaps you are involved with renovating or building a new theater or auditorium and know that you will need stage curtains.  It can seem like a daunting proposition, especially for a school parent or church volunteer with no background in the theatre.

Don’t worry – it’s not as hard as it seems.  To get you started, I’ve prepared this quick checklist:

  1. Determine the approximate height that you will need, based on the size of the existing curtains.  Check for a label to see if the height and width are listed.  If not, measure the existing drapes. Measure the drape from the top of the curtain to the floor.  If you do not have existing curtains, but curtain track is installed, measure the height from the bottom of a track carrier (the wheel-like items that the curtain will hang from) to the floor.  If you don’t have existing track, measure from the floor to the bottom of the ceiling joist that new track will be attached to.  Make sure to let your drapery company know that the height indicated would be for both track and curtain; the drapery company representative can recommend the best track for your application and can take the track dimension into consideration when determining the appropriate curtain height.
  2. Determine the approximate width that you will need.  To measure width for pleated drapes, measuring along the top edge generally gives a more accurate measurement than measuring along the bottom hem (especially in regards to pleated drapes).   If you have bi-parting curtains (two panels that open in the center and stack to both sides), measure both curtains to confirm that the width is the same.  If you do not have existing curtains, measure the width of the curtain track.  If you don’t have existing curtains or track, measure the width of your stage opening.
  3. Determine the topbottom and side finishes used on the existing drapes.  Is there webbing on top?  Grommets?  S-Hooks?  On the bottom hem, is it weighted with chain?  For the side hems, simply measure the size of the turn back on the back of each side of the drape.  If there are no existing curtains, your drapery company can recommend the best finishes for your application.
  4. Determine the fullness used in pleating.  You don’t have to figure it out exactly, just have a rough idea.  One way to determine the fullness is to measure the width at the bottom hem, pulling the pleats out flat so that you are measuring the original “flat” width prior to pleating.  Divide that width by the finished width measured on the top in Step 2.  If the result is approximately 1.5, then the drape is sewn with 50% fullness.  If it is approximately 2, then the drape is sewn with 100% fullness.  For example, if the drapery width as measured at the top is 10 feet, and the width as measured at the bottom is 15 feet, then 15 divided by 10 = 1.5, making the fullness 50%.  Again, if you don’t have existing curtains, your drapery company can recommend the appropriate fullness to meet your needs and your budget.
  5. Consider your fabric options.  Generally, theatrical velours or similar fabrics are used for traditional stage curtains.  However, within that category, there are many different options to suit your budget and your taste.  Think about fabric weight, color, and fiber content (cotton vs polyester).  Determine what your budget is and what options are most important to you.  Would you prefer to choose a lighter, more affordable fabric so that you can upgrade to a color (rather than black), or would you rather have a heavier, more luxurious fabric?  If you are going for a specialized stage curtain such as an Austrian Curtain, a lighter fabric such as a satin might an option.  Still not sure?  Don’t worry, your drapery company is happy to recommend fabrics to meet your needs.
  6. Consider lining.  Are the existing drapes lined?  If not, or if there are no existing drapes, consider whether you would like the new drapes to be lined.  Lining is primarily used to provide greater light blockage, protect the face fabric, or give a more finished look to the back of the drape.

Want to learn more about stage drapery styles and finishes?  Click here to download our pdf “Guide to Stage Drapery Styles and Finishes.”

20 08, 2015

The Magic of Sharkstooth Scrim

By |August 20th, 2015|Digital Printing, Fabrics, Products, Projects|3 Comments

Have you ever been in the audience of a stage play or concert, and somehow a scene slowly appeared on stage as if by magic?  If so, chances are this effect was created with a special fabric called Sharkstooth Scrim.

Sharkstooth Scrim is an open rectangular weave fabric (similar to net).  Its special weave allows for special effects to be created based on how it is lit.  When lit correctly from the front (and with a dark stage behind), the scrim will appear completely opaque, hiding any people or objects that are on the stage behind it. However, once the lights in front are turned off, and objects behind the scrim are lit, the scrim becomes transparent so that the objects come into view.  It really is an amazing effect – no matter how many times I see it happen, it still surprises me every time.

Sharkstooth_Scrim

In addition to being used on its own as a backdrop material (creating what is referred to as a “Scrim“), Sharkstooth Scrim is also used in other ways.  It is often used as one of the components in a Mixed Media Backdrop, such as the one we made for Flogging Molly, in which the windows were cut out of a digitally printed backdrop, with Black Sharkstooth Scrim inserted behind the window cutouts.

Flo Mol_1

Available in several colors and a variety of widths, Sharkstooth Scrim is also used as a scenic substrate for digital printing and hand-painting.  By printing or painting images only on portions of the Sharkstooth Scrim, proper lighting techniques allow for the “plain” areas to disappear, making the scenic portions appear to float in mid-air.

 

In this video, our sewing shop works on a digitally printed scrim for award winning recording artist Sam Smith.  Stay tuned to the end of the video to see the finished scrim in concert, with the printed areas appearing to glow and float.

As you can see, Sharkstooth Scrim really is an amazingly versatile fabric!  Whether used on its own or with other materials, as a stand-alone fabric or a scenic substrate, the ways it can enhance a theatrical or musical design are countless.

17 08, 2015

Local Band Rocks Out In Front Of Custom-Built Digitally Printed Drape

By |August 17th, 2015|Clients, Digital Printing, News, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|1 Comment

We love being able to help bands and artists of all kinds, as it is deep in our heart and soul here at Sew What?/Rent What? Inc. to work closely with our Rock and Roll clients near and far, big and small, and everything in between. We especially love being able to help up-and-coming local bands to get their name and branding as much enduring exposure to their audiences as is possible.

Jimmy band 1
Recently we were able to work with one of our warehouse staff member Jimmy Zee’s alternative rock band, Ginger V, to help create a dramatic and striking custom-built digitally printed backdrop for them to be able to use in many different settings. Because they are one of the favorite bands at a club in Hollywood, Bar Sinister, they needed to make sure that the backdrop fit the stage’s dimensions. But because they are also starting to go out on tour more, they wanted to have a drape that they could use in a myriad of venues and still make a truly unforgettable impact on the growing crowds watching them week after week.

Jimmy band 2

Working with our sales team, he decided that digitally printing the band’s name and logo onto durable and tour-friendly Cotton Canvas would be a great way to make the drape be memorable and yet be completely versatile. As you can see by these photos, this fabric reflects theatrical lighting like an absolute dream, and can change the mood and tone of the performance by simply adjusting the different hues and color schemes they splashed onto it. Photographed beautifully by band photographer Anabel DFlux, it was great to see how effective it was to add a digitally printed backdrop to this band’s staging. We are excited to work with this band, and to watch as they continue to build in popularity throughout the city!

Jimmy band 3

Check out this video of the band in action!

13 08, 2015

Dramatic Drapes for Foo Fighters

By |August 13th, 2015|Clients, Digital Printing, Projects|3 Comments

We were so honored to be selected by the production team for Foo Fighters to make this set of three amazing custom band backdrops for the U.S. leg of their 20th Anniversary Tour.  The two side drapes were made to function with a kabuki drop system, while the center drape (with dye sublimated logo) was manufactured as a sniffer drape.

The backdrops look beautiful hanging on stage as the crew sets up for that night’s concert…

Foo Fighters Digital Print

…but prepare to be awestruck when you see them in action!

Want to learn more details about this project?  Please visit our Press Room.