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10 03, 2020

Looking for Inspiration? Check Out our Portfolios

By |March 10th, 2020|News, Products, Projects|0 Comments

If you haven’t checked out our portfolios on our website recently, I wanted to give you a little taste of what you will find in each of the portfolios. Here are just a few projects to inspire you – visit out Portfolios page to see many other featured projects that we are proud to have worked on.

ROCK AND ROLL PORTFOLIO

America – the home of legendary rock bands and so many of today’s pop stars. Madonna, Britney Spears, Don Henley, Sting; we have draped and masked stages for the best of them. While we tend to remember a concert in terms of the “set” and the “lighting and effects,” the draperies play an often invisible but integral role in how the show comes together. Giant painted stage backdrops set the scene, masking hides tech areas from the crowd, borders dress the floating trusses to hide the lighting instruments, and skirting surrounds the stage and band risers. Soft goods, as they are known to the “roadies,” are a major part of any touring set.

Project: Tenacious D
Fabric: Brillante

The design for Tenacious D focused on two elements, surface and shape. First, a fabric surface that would mimic a projection screen, and second, a precisely shaped projection proscenium to showcase carefully mapped out graphics. The designer, Dan Hadley, selected our 120 “Brillante,” which has a jet-black backside and a bright white semi-matte surface to take front projection. In order to keep all areas of the proscenium “seamless,” the design was developed so that no individual surface exceeded the 10-foot width of the cloth. The legs were sewn as separate pieces to the proscenium header, making the set three pieces for an easy install. As these photos demonstrate, the Tenacious D production team was able to create a variety of unique looks using the projection proscenium strategy.

DIGITAL PRINTING PORTFOLIO

If you can visualize it, we can print it.  As big or as wide as you want it.  Check out our show page of really impressive digitally printed backdrops and drapes for really impressive showbiz personalities such as Lady Gaga, Kenny Chesney and Brooks & Dunn.  And see what can be done to blow away the crowds at major public events and trade shows.  We can even combine digital printing with a whole host of special effects that will leave jaws on the floor. 

Project: Marc Anthony “Legacy Tour”
Fabric: Crystal Poplin

Sew What? Inc. created an extraordinary 46’h x 75’w digitally printed brail lift drape in just one week for Marc Anthony’s Legacy Tour. For this project, there were 16 vertical lift lines placed strategically on the back side of the drape. We craft these as near-invisible sewn vertical lines with O-rings running vertically to capture the aircraft cable that is used for lifting the drape. For durability and a gorgeous lighting surface, we chose to direct print onto our Crystal Poplin. In order to make sure that each printed segment is lined up perfectly, we used thousands of sewing pins to pre-pin by hand all the sections of cloth. This backdrop looked amazing on stage for the Legacy Tour!

THEATRE PORTFOLIO

Grand drape, tab curtain, austrian, theatrical backdrops, tabs, legs and borders…. These are all words that we associate with the stage and the wonderful world of theatre. Sew What? Inc specializes in theatrical drapery manufacturing, so your needs can all be filled with just one telephone call. Not only for professional theatres – don’t forget that schools, churches, universities and even cruise ships have stages!

Photo By George Davidson

Project: GRIDWORKS for Princess Cruises / Ruby Princess
Fabric: IFR 26oz Velour / Custom Dye

Once again we had the privilege of working with Gridworks, one of the premier providers servicing the audio/video needs of the cruise line industry. This project was for Princess Cruise’s Ruby Princess while in dry dock. Gridworks team of installation experts had visited the ship some months prior to dry dock, and were armed with the measurements for a fast changeover and successful replacement of the drapery elements in both the Princess Theatre and Explorers Lounge.  All elements were sewn from Inherently Flame Retardant velour. Aside from the obvious and most featured Austrian Drape there were over 20 other items dressing the stage – including several scrims, a leno, a muslin cyclorama and plenty of masking drapes, legs and borders.

SPECIAL EVENT PORTFOLIO

Grammy Awards, SAG Awards, Golden Globe Awards; you name them and we have draped them! Tents in tennis courts and 5 course dinners in stadiums – the special events industry is all about transformation. Watch while designers transform the ordinary special event into the extraordinary. Custom trade show displays rely on the many effects that drapery can provide. Our in-stock inventory of pipe and drape has been an instant solution for many special event planners with a sudden on-site masking issue. Designers and special event planners alike can benefit from our services and fast turnarounds.

Project: Indiana Conference for Women
Fabric: Silver Textura and Pewter Textura

For the Indiana Conference for Women, we used a mixture of drapes from our Silver Satin Rental Drapery Collection. This stage included a row of complementary 30’h Silver Satin, Silver Textura, and Pewter Textura drapery legs with 16’h-22’h Crushed Silver Satin Swags. These drapes covered the entire wall of the ballroom, giving the event a clean, timeless appearance. These curtains light up beautifully, reflecting the colorful light splashed onto them. By using this mix of our rental drapes, they were able to have their own unique vision become a stunning reality.

RENT WHAT? RENTAL PORTFOLIO

Our rental drapery team has performed for many of the biggest names in entertainment, so we know the realities of dressing up a major venue and dancing around all the surprises that can pop up at the last second. It’s not just about having the right products, but having the experience and service our customers will remember when it comes to booking each new tour.

Project: Jonathan Antoine
Fabric: Pewter Textura

For Jonathan Antoine’s first solo performance in the United States, his team was looking for stage curtains that would be easy to work with, light up beautifully, and give the stage a timeless look. Antoine’s team decided to use a variety of our Pewter Textura rental drapes from our Timeless and Traditional Rental Drapery Collection. The stage was set using a mixture of pre-pleated legs and swagettes in various sizes. These rental drapes, along with a creative lighting design, resulted in a stunning stage design that gave the show a modern, yet timeless look.

Pretty impressive, don’t you think? There is so much more on our Portfolios page, including links to more content on Flickr and YouTube. So, make sure to head over to our Portfolios page today, and feel free to contact us for help with your next project!

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.

18 02, 2020

Custom Soft Goods Help Give Tour An Exceptionally Unique Vibe

By |February 18th, 2020|Products, Projects|1 Comment

Rock and Roll tours are unquestionably our company’s bread and butter, and nothing pleases us more than being able to aid a tour with some fabulous stage curtains for their one-of-a-kind tour designs. Recently we were thrilled to be able to work with the renowned Production Designer Jonny Kingsbury with Cour Design. He had a very unique vision for the tour design for up-and-coming indie-rock artist Clairo, and wanted us to assist him and his amazing lighting and stage design team with a few custom soft goods. Sometimes we do this by manufacturing fresh, new drapery in one fabric and in one style. But other times, like with this project, we used two different types of materials to help them accomplish this incredibly fabulous look.

First they were looking to build three “walls” made of an immaculate fabric that they could use to fashion their stage’s design space at many different kinds and sizes of venues while out on tour. To do this, we built them three 20’h white FR Super Knit drapery that they could hang onto their existing truss and hardware to fashion into these crisp backdrop walls with sharp, clean corners. This fabric is a fabulous ultra-wide substrate that is perfect for both front AND rear projection of graphics, video, or any other kinds of colorful lighting effects that you might want to splash onto it. And as you can see by these gorgeous photos taken by gifted music and concert photographer Matty Vogel, it takes lighting superbly!

Next they wanted to add an exceptional center-point element to the design that would give the stage some dimension and texture, and offer their lighting team a secondary location for selected video and picture projected imagery to really “POP”. To achieve this distinctive look, they built a separate truss frame so that it could be used mid-stage from the backdrop, but upstage from the artist and her band. Since this would be front-projected onto only, and because they didn’t want any residual projection to spill-over onto the backdrop walls, they needed this substrate to be completely opaque—but still offer the same crisp, clean, flat, and smooth surface that the Super Knit did.

This fabric also needed to be over 9’h and 18’w AND seamless, and likewise be a fully opaque, projection-friendly FR substrate that would be wide enough for this specific set-up. These particular characteristics are pretty uncommon, so it directed us to the perfect material—FR Blackout Lining in White/White. Typically used as a printable fabric, this time it worked out beautifully as a custom smooth, white, fully opaque design piece instead. We were able to build this curved, semi-circle custom drape with a “return strip” sewn on the top of it, so that the fabric literally curled up and over the top of the truss piece and tied onto it with hidden sewn twill ties all along the backside. This helped give the entire structure a completely seamless appearance, and give them another super-clean projection surface.

Utilizing two different substrates worked out wonderfully for this truly exclusive stage design, and their lighting team did an outstanding job with all of the stunning lighting and projection effects. These versatile drapes allowed them to have the ability to change the look and feel of the décor for each song set by simply change of the lighting scheme. They created an exceedingly remarkable stage design, befitting a genuinely talented artist. We loved getting to work with Jonny on this project, and get to demonstrate once again one of the favorite mottos we have regarding our custom-manufactured drapery…”If you can dream it, we can sew it!” And if you have a chance to check out Clairo on her current tour, you definitely should!

11 02, 2020

Stunning Digitally Printed Backdrop Showcased Beautifully At Holiday Concert

By |February 11th, 2020|Clients, Products, Projects|1 Comment

Every now and then our clients send us photos of the custom drapes that we built for them being used at their special event, production, concert, or trade show…..and they just completely take our breath away. Recently we received these awe-inspiring images from one of our enormously artistic clients: Luther College, and more specifically from Creative Director Michael Bartels and Associate Director of Music, Susan Potvin. As you can imagine, we were overjoyed to see how magnificent it looked at their event!

Christmas at Luther 2019, Whom Angels Greet with Anthems Sweet presented by Aurora, Cathedral, Collegiate, Nordic, Norskkor Choirs and Symphony Orchestra held in the CFL Main Hall on December 4th, 2019. Photos by Wyatt Hill

Designing their yearly “Christmas At Luther” Concert, they were looking for something absolutely memorable for their enraptured audiences to enjoy throughout the entire show.  Combining the choirs of Luther College, the Luther Orchestra, the Handbell Choirs, and the incredibly rousing performers playing on their mighty Luther College pipe organ, they were producing a show design that needed to be heartrending, exciting, moving, and most of all, versatile enough for each individual performance to stand out on their own.

Christmas at Luther 2019 Photos by Nick Greseth

Working with their SW account representative every step of the way, they decided to provide us with an utterly gorgeous original graphic image and have us custom build them a large-scale digitally printed drape to act as the perfect backdrop for this very special yearly showcase. Wide format digital printing gives us the opportunity to present “picture perfect” images like these to our clients’ audiences. Seamless images of up to 10′ wide can be produced, and a variety of fabrics – both for indoor and outdoor use – are available to choose from. At roughly 26’h x 48’w, this particular curtain was going to be a considerable element of this event’s staging, so they wanted it to work effectively with all of the various components to their overall design vision.

Christmas at Luther 2019 Photos by Nick Greseth

By choosing to have us print their backdrop on FR Crystal Poplin, they were able to construct some dazzling, dramatic looks with gorgeous, colorful front projection lighting. This lightweight substrate’s super tight weave allows for a sharp, crisp image, and an almost “glossy” appearance. This fabric also works beautifully with digital ink for the ultimate in durability and color saturation, helping make their unique image truly stand out.

Christmas at Luther 2019 Photos by Nick Greseth

Plus, the excellent translucency of this fabric also allowed them a multitude of different moods to be created, because it has a wonderful translucency and glows exceptionally well when appropriately back lit. So, by simply changing the theatrical lighting that they splashed onto the front of the drape and from behind,  they were able to have an endless amount of striking looks and backgrounds for their stage—all still using the same exact curtain. Charming holiday décor and lovely sheer drapery legs all added one-of-a-kind, elegant touches to this event’s stunning motif.

Christmas at Luther 2019, Whom Angels Greet With Anthems Sweet features Symphony Orchestra, Norskkor, Nordic, Collegiate, Aurora, and Cathedral Choirs in the CFL Main Hall on December 4th, 2019. Photo by Anh Le.

Taking place in Luther College’s Center For Faith and Life Auditorium, this packed house was genuinely dazzled and inspired by all of the diverse and superb performances, the exquisite holiday touches, and the spectacular production design. You can see by these exceptionally impressive photos provided by The Luther College Photo Bureau what an absolutely outstanding job they did on this cherished, yearly holiday concert. Their custom drapery project was a labor of love for both Michael and Susan from the very beginning, and we couldn’t be more impressed with how remarkable their production design turned out!

Christmas at Luther 2019, Whom Angels Greet With Anthems Sweet showcased the talent of Symphony Orchestra, Norskkor, Nordic, Collegiate, Aurora, and Cathedral Choirs in the CFL Main Hall on December 4th, 2019. Photo by Danica Nolton.

Do not hesitate to reach out to our helpful drapery experts and we’ll be delighted to build you a custom digitally printed curtain for you upcoming special event, too. Let us assist with your next production’s stage design, to be as unforgettable as the show itself—just like what the team producing this fabulous concert brilliantly accomplished!

Christmas at Luther 2019, Whom Angels Greet With Anthems Sweet showcased the talent of Symphony Orchestra, Norskkor, Nordic, Collegiate, Aurora, and Cathedral Choirs in the CFL Main Hall on December 4th, 2019. Photo by Danica Nolton.
4 02, 2020

Innovative Stage Design Dazzles Audiences At Inspirational Conference

By |February 4th, 2020|Products, Projects|1 Comment

We love it when our amazing clients come to us looking to help them come up with an original production design based on their own really cool, unique event’s “vision”. And then sometimes when helping our clients think “outside the box” on their stage design, we end up building them custom drapery to help make it look like their stage is actually INSIDE of a box.                        

We were recently excited to be contacted by gifted Production Designers Shay and Ben Walton with GT Pro, who were working with the brilliant Lighting/Show/Technical Designer Chase Hall to produce the main stage design for the Mosaic Conference 2019. Entitled “The New”, this wildly popular three-day yearly conference was being held at the iconic Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Gorgeously restored–consisting of a remarkably dramatic proscenium, a 1600-person seating capacity, and an absolutely stunning Gothic architectural features–this venue offered a truly spectacular setting for all of the many eclectic performances and speeches that the conference offered its captivated audience.

Shay, Ben, and Chase wanted this special event’s stage design to be clean and powerful, yet still versatile enough to be used as the backdrop for various segments of the conference’s renowned speakers, artists, and influencers. They and their design team decided to create three sides of a crisp, white “box” that they could project engaging videos, inspirational imagery, and colorful lighting onto throughout each segment of the summit.

They started by having SW custom-build them an extremely large, all-white drape with minimal vertical seams and a smooth, flat surface. Using fabulous 192” FR Superknit substrate, we were able to construct a larger-than-life 40’h x 80’w single drape for this production design. Measuring, inspecting, cutting, and sewing multiple panels of fabric that were 40’ high by 16’ wide is no small endeavor, and keeping it clean for the entire production process was quite an impressive feat in and of itself!

Next we consulted with Chase on ways to best way to fashion the sharp corners that would really bring home the stage design’s exceptionally distinct look. He and his team ended up installing virtually invisible aircraft cable on the stage floor and the top of the truss structure, making sure it was good and taut. Once tension was applied, it created the appearance of perfectly tight corners. Adding some large LED screens to the staging offered even more versatility with the overall vibe of the motif, which also encouraged a fresh look and feel for each and every element of this lively and inspirational symposium.

We were ecstatic to hear how successful the weekend was, and were genuinely thrilled to see these fantastic event photos provided by The Mosaic Team, too. Getting to work on meaningful projects like this one is always such an honor for us, and we are very excited to see what this amazing design team comes up with next! Don’t hesitate to contact one of our account representatives today to learn how we might be able to help you create a one-of-a-kind design for your upcoming special events, too.