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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.”

12 06, 2017

Amazing concert effect at U2 Concerts

By |June 12th, 2017|Digital Printing, Education, Products, Projects|2 Comments

Amazing concert effect achieved when Wide Format Digital Prints are passed through the audience at recent U2 concerts.

Sew What? is thrilled to have been a part of this current U2 Tour production, preparing a selection of sublimated silk graphic prints to be used for an interactive audience element in the world-famous band’s current tour.

Formed in Dublin in 1976, Irish rock band U2 is an anthemic band known for lead singer Bono’s expressive vocals and guitarist Edge’s effects based sounds. They are one of the world’s best-selling artists, having sold more than 170 million records worldwide with 13 studio released albums all of which are iconic.

Why did the U2 production staff select “Sew What?” for their custom printed fabric project? Because of our customer service and attention to detail. Not only do we specialize in digitally printed stage backdrops and props, we offer digital printing services with other quality products and fair pricing. Above all, we want to help make your concert stage backdrops as spectacular as they can be. During the quoting process, sales associate Shane Nelsen discussed the use and expectations for these printed textile elements with the client to make sure that the best materials were recommended.  Once the art was received, Shane and our printing department specialist and operator Danny worked tirelessly to make sure that the client’s supplied images were prepared appropriately for the wide format printing needed for this special effect project.

No matter what concert you attend, you will see digitally printed fabric, digital printed stage backdrops and wide-format digital billboards. That’s because any graphics created for printing on paper can be printed on fabric. With a variety of substrates to choose from, digital printing enables you to magnify photo quality images into stunning custom theatrical and scenic digital backdrops and concert drapes. The wide-format digital printing process involves firstly image file preparation.  The images are inspected for quality and any graphic variances which would show up when “enlarged” to magnified dimensions. The files are then imported into the printer software where the image is “ripped” into segments for wide format printing onto our 120” wide substrates.


Once printed, each segment of fabric then needs to be inspected and measured for accuracy. Once all the pieces are printed for one graphic element then they can be sewn together.  This process requires that we use our long 40+ foot long sewing tables, and painstakingly line up eachgraphic panel and pin it with sewing pins to the next panel.  Once fully pinned it is ready to move to the sewing machines for careful seaming.

Sewing together textile banners and backdrops of these proportions requires not only the right equipment but a great deal of patience.  At this point in the process nothing can be rushed.  Every stitch and seam is important in crafting a finished image where the seam lines will be nearly invisible! We use a variety of sewing machines in the process including overlockers, single needle, double needle and reinforcement stitch machines as part of the sewing process. Oftentimes we will back stack 2 or more machines to a table and run multiple sewing processes simultaneously so as to reduce the amount of handling that is needed per drapery element.

The finished product is always a thrill to see develop through the various stages of planning and construction. Once completed, our Quality Control staff do a very thorough inspection of the finished softgoods, and we then package and ship the items to the client.  For the moment of truth…….. the excitement when we see the item in use on stage! Enjoy this video showing our sublimated silk audience banner panels while U2 perform the song Miss Sarajevo in Seattle on 5-14-17.

About Sew What? Inc

Just like your audience, you want top performance. Sew What? understands and delivers. Our Stage Drapes and Theatrical Backdrops, Curtain Tracks and Theatrical Supplies exceed expectations and enhance your shows. For an experienced drapery manufacturer with work that ranges from digitally printed drapery for the hottest rock concerts, to the biggest theater performances, to just about any other kind of production under the sun, Sew What? is the answer.