So, you have just purchased beautiful new custom stage drapes. Naturally, you want to keep your beautiful new curtains looking gorgeous for as long as possible. What is the secret? Two simple things – periodic maintenance and proper storage.

Maintenance

To help keep your stage curtains and backdrops looking great as long as possible, we recommend performing certain maintenance steps twice each year. For all drapery, carefully inspect the drapery for any holes and tears; have these repaired immediately to prevent further damage. To remove any dust accumulation from the surface of the drapery, we recommend brushing the drape with a soft bristled brush.

First brush down the back of the drape, starting on the left side and moving toward the right. For napped fabrics (such as cotton velours and napped synthetic velours), brush the face of the fabric twice, by first brushing against the nap and then brushing with the nap. For brushed surface fabrics such as Encore Velour and Commando Cloth, or smooth faced fabric such as Poly Muslin or satin, a single brush down the face of the fabric is sufficient. If the drape is pleated, make sure to brush inside the folds of the pleats to remove any dust that has accumulated with those folds. For Austrian Curtains, make sure to brush out any dust that has accumulated within the “smiles.”

We also recommend annual retesting of drapery to ensure that it remains flame retardant. This can typically be done by a certified flame retardancy specialist such as Turning Star or Fabric Flameproofing Co. Many fire marshals require a current Certificate of Flame Retardancy (i.e. one issued within the last 12 months) even for drapery made of inherently flame retardant fabric, because environmental conditions (such as accumulation of dust and other flammable materials on the surface of the fabric) can affect the flammability of fabric. Being proactive with this step can save you from a panic situation later (such as right before a show!).

Storage

If your drapes will spend most of their time hanging, such as a Grand Drape in a theatre, you don’t have to worry about storing the drapes. But what about those drapes that are used periodically and then stored between shows or events? How do you keep them dust free and looking good for the next performance? Plan ahead to ensure that you have the best storage solution available to protect your drapes.

Most importantly – never store your drapery in plastic bags. Plastic bags trap moisture, resulting in the potential for mold and mildew on your drapes. Even those drapes that feel dry to the touch may have underlying dampness due to humidity. Instead, choose a “breathable” storage solution.

Hampers

Durable canvas and steel storage hampers are a great solution for drapery storage. The canvas “breathes,” preventing moisture from accumulating, and the heavy-duty caster wheels and lockable lid allow the hamper to be moved from stage to storage area with ease. Hampers are especially great for music tours and other traveling shows, as they make it easy to take your drapes from venue to venue.

Drapery Bags

Rather than using plastic bags, choose a canvas or non-woven polyester drapery bag to store your drapes. As with canvas hampers, these drapery bags allow air circulation.

At Sew What?, it’s important to us to help our customers keep their custom drapery in great condition, and so we include complimentary drapery storage bags with all drapery orders. With a drawstring closure and plastic exterior sleeve to hold a contents label, these bags help keep drapes in great condition. As a hamper stocking supplier, we also offer 20-bushel storage hampers at a very affordable rate.

If you have existing drapery, consider performing these maintenance and storage steps this month (it is a new year, after all!). You’ll be glad you did!