Call Us Today! 1.310.639.6000
4 03, 2020

Want to Learn More about Kabukis?

By |March 4th, 2020|Education, Products|1 Comment

You may well know us for our kabuki “drape drops” and effects – for several years now we have been providing premium kabuki drop drapery for bands and venues alike.  The KABUKI DROP is in fact, one of the more favored of drapery stage effects!

So, let’s start here: – what is a KABUKI DROP exactly?

It is an effect whereby a drape / backdrop / textile prop is suspended in the air by way of a row of “mechanical clips”.  The KABUKI effect occurs when the mechanical clips – or more correctly solenoid heads are “fired” by way of a controller.  When you hit the GO button on the controller box the mechanical drapery clips / solenoid heads release their grip – and in turn the drape / backdrop / textile prop will magically and INSTANTLY DROP TO THE GROUND.

It creates one of those WOW moments for the audience…

Such as: at the start of the Alice In Chains tour, a large white silk drape was hung with solenoids between the band and the audience.  The lighting design incorporated some front projection of the bands logo and album art, as well as moving and ambient front light on the drape.  For the audience it was a dynamic giant projection surface of color and visual movement. Once the band were positioned and the show was ready to start – the front lights are killed, the stage lights are engaged and the solenoids are fired. READY, DRAPE – DROP!  In an instant the band is revealed – and the music starts – the white silk flutters to the ground ans is quickly struck by stagehands to the side of the stage.

It is exciting to watch – check out this great Kabuki Drop Compilations Video that we created.  You will see everything from drapes to ping pong balls being dropped from the ceiling.

SO – that was a description of a SINGLE KABUKI.  The term “single” refers to the fact that the drapery element made a “single” move.  Meaning it simply dropped to the floor when the go button on the controller was engaged.

So, let’s then briefly explain the difference with a DOUBLE KABUKI.

In this scenario, the drape / backdrop / textile prop will in fact make TWO MOVES.  Indeed – we will have two rows of mechanical clips in the air.  Usually one run on the downstage cord of the truss and one run on the upstage cord of the truss.

What happens now is we have the full size drape as well as a short little “diaper” as we call it.  The diaper and drape are held by one run of solenoids.  The second run of solenoids will hold the other edge of the short diaper only.  As such we have created a fabric hammock up in the air that the larger drop is resting in (reefed or nooked). This is great for a midstage reveal or an intermission effect.  When the drape is in the fully loaded position within the diaper, you won’t see it at all! it is happily hidden up in the rafters! Your audience has no idea it is even there….

FIRE ONE – the first run of solenoids will release – and in doing so the diaper’s edge will be dropped and the drape hidden within will be “unfurled” – falling down into its natural backdrop / drapery position – as such revealing the drape! It happens VERY quickly – and is exciting to watch the drape unfurl and fall into place.

FIRE TWO – the second run of solenoids will now release the drape itself (as in the first example of a single kabuki).  Now you see it – now you don’t!

So, in two moves we went from a hidden drape within the rafters, to a revealed drape for scene or lighting or projections effects – to “poof!” – nothing at all.  It falls to the ground and is quietly struck stage side by the crew while the audience’s attention is shifted to the stage reveal!

WE LOVE KABUKIS – and we would love to answer any questions you might have regarding them.  Reach out any time and our educated staff will be very happy to advise you on an appropriate equipment list for your event.

3 04, 2018

Inspiration Is Truly In The Eye Of The Beholder

By |April 3rd, 2018|Clients, Company, Education, links, News, Products, Projects|1 Comment

Inspiration — it helps motivate us to be our best, do our best, act our best, and put forth the very best that we each have to offer the world. The definition of inspiration is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something; particularly to do something creative.” But what inspires you may not inspire the next individual…. It is probably one of the most subjective concepts you can think of, and yet–in this industry especially—it is definitely one of the most important, too.

This is why we here at Sew What?/Rent What? Inc. offer a variety of ways to help spark our clients’ imaginations. Some stage and event designers like to look at photos of theatrical draperies out in “real world” situations, which is why we have some fabulous examples of our drapes in a ton of Flickr photo albums and galleries to meet their every drapery desire. They can also explore our company Pinterest and Instagram pages to see some great examples of event and stage designs, and learn about some ingenious ways for us to help them create a similar look for their own special events.

Others may do better by seeing video of the drapes and designs moving across their screen, as it helps them better imagine how the drapery and stage embellishments might look for their own creative projects. Therefore we offer a variety of different videos showcasing our rental and custom curtains on our very own YouTube channel.

Some may prefer to see simple swatches of fabric or written data on their computer screen, and let their imagination run wild with that information. If so, they can check out our e-swatches and white papers on our website (and read this blog, of course) to gain valuable information and insight as to what type of fabric, cut, style, and substrate might work best to create the right look at their own unique event, venue, or production.

And sometimes it’s as simple as being a little “social” and going to one of our many social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. These sites are a fantastic way to easily gather information about some of our recent projects, converse with employees and other clients regarding ideas for original stage designs, and read helpful advice, suggestions, and ideas on how to they can better work within their budget, actual space dimensions, or possible time limitations. We are here in a myriad of ways for our clients—just let us know how we can better help to inspire YOU, too!

28 11, 2017

Interesting Blog Post Explaining Knit and Woven Fabrics

By |November 28th, 2017|Education, Fabrics, links|1 Comment

Here at Sew What?, our focus is on the manufacturing of custom stage drapes and other soft goods. Along the way, we love to educate our blog readers about stage drapery – from the different material options to fullness to finishes.

Recently, Megan read a post from Dutch Label Shop that does a great job at explaining the differences in knit fabrics and woven fabrics, and so I thought I’d pass the information on to our readers. Click below to read this interesting post:

The Difference Between Knit and Woven Fabric

While Dutch Label Shop is focused on sewing apparel (they sell custom clothing labels), this post applies to fabric used in a variety of applications – including stage drapery and soft goods. For example, for digitally printed backdrops, we have both knit (such as Heavy Knit) and woven (such as Cotton Canvas) fabrics available.

We utilize many fabrics, both knit and woven, when making custom stage drapes, mixed media backdrops, LED Stardrops, and other stage soft goods. Of course, different fabrics work better for different needs, so we always offer the most appropriate fabric for the project – whether that be a knit fabric or a woven fabric.

29 08, 2017

Opaque, Transparent, Translucent

By |August 29th, 2017|Education, Fabrics|1 Comment

Since the majority of our work with clients is done via phone and email, clear verbal and written communication is key to our business. We need to clearly understand what our clients’ needs are and clearly explain to those clients what we recommend.

Sometimes it is fairly simple. The client knows exactly what he or she wants in a drape: fabric name, drapery style, fullness, etc. Other times, however, the client may just have an idea of a look but isn’t sure how to best describe the look. It’s our job to help the client describe their design and what they are trying to achieve in the design with the drapery.

One of the factors to consider is how opacity affects the customer’s design and drapery needs. Is the client looking for masking drapery and therefore needs the drape to be a solid black “non-see-through” fabric? If so, do they need complete light blockage (or “blackout”) drapery, or do they just want to ensure that any objects behind the drape can’t be seen?

When the customer asks for a “transparent” or “translucent” fabric, what is the customer trying to achieve in the design? Does the design call for something floaty and “see-through” or does it call for back-lighting, rear-projection, or a silhouette effect? Depending on the answers to these questions, either a “transparent” or a “translucent” fabric may be recommended (as the two terms are not synonymous).

Voile is an example of a transparent fabric, through which objects can be clearly seen (as above).

As we discuss the issue of drapery opacity, we sometimes find that a client is unclear about the difference between the terms “opaque,” “transparent,” and “translucent.” Of course, we do explain these terms directly to the client, but we have also found it helpful to our customers to send them a link to our white paper “Opaque, Transparent, or Translucent? Tips for Making the Best Fabric Choice for Stage Draperies.” Not only does the white paper explain the different terms in regards to how they relate to stage drapery fabrics, but it also lists common opaque, transparent, and translucent fabric choices.

Want to learn more about this fabric opacity? Click here to download a pdf copy of the white paper.

24 07, 2017

Avora, Trevira and Polyester

By |July 24th, 2017|Education|1 Comment

Did you know that not all polyesters are created the same? You may have heard of fabrics made from Avora polyester or Trevira polyester, but you may not know that these aren’t just “name brands.” The terms “Avora” and “Trevira” (technically, AvoraFR® and TreviraCS®) actually indicate significant differences in the chemical structure of the polyester fibers.

Prestige Velour, 100% TreviraCS®, is a beautiful option for custom stage drapery, as pictured above on Princess Cruise Line’s Queen Victoria (photo courtesy of Gridworks)

One way that these fibers are different is in the way the fibers respond to flame (and thus to the flame retardancy of the fabric milled from these fibers). This doesn’t mean that other polyester fabrics are not flame retardant (some are, some aren’t), but rather that Avora and Trevira fabrics tend to respond a little differently than other polyester fabrics when under flame.

To learn more about these differences in flame retardancy behavior, click here to open a pdf copy of our white paper “Avora, Trevira, and Just Plain Old Polyester.”

Go to Top