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11 11, 2019

Custom Soft Goods Help Create Memorable Tour Stage Design

By |November 11th, 2019|Clients, Projects|0 Comments

We love being able to work with our regular clients on uniquely remarkable drapery projects, and truly enjoy getting to see how they are able to turn something possibly considered “standard” into an undeniably memorable stage design. It takes a uniquely talented lighting and stage designer who can take some simple white drapery and turn them into complete “wow” pieces, and that never ceases to always impress us!

This past summer we were thrilled to be able to work with one of these such designers, the incredible Adam “Orby” Cowan, with the Breaking Benjamin World Tour again. He and his stage and lighting design team devised a very cool look using the band’s existing record-cover design as a main backdrop. But they also wanted to add some edgy, versatile soft good pieces to the stage design to be able to create an absolutely sensational, distinctive motif for this international tour.

They had constructed some truss “hanging” structures (two squares and a triangle) and were looking to drape them with a tour-friendly substrate that they could light up with all different colors and gobo designs. Wanting drapes that would be seamless, crisp, white, and still durable, he decided to have us custom build them set pieces using the ever-popular FR Super Knit fabric. Using this wide, flame retardant substrate was a fabulous way to build stage curtains that would help to give them the clean and taut look they were envisioning, and which could additionally be front and rear projected onto beautifully as well.

Orby did such a phenomenal job as lighting programmer and operator for all of the concerts, by crafting a completely one-of-a-kind look and feel for every part of each concert, and from venue to venue. You can see by these gorgeous photographs taken by gifted band photographer Courtney Dellafiora that he was enormously successful in building an exceptional look for the band’s stage time and time again.

Sometimes the drapery that you are picturing for your stage design may not yet exist—so that is exactly where Sew What? comes in! Chat with one of our helpful and creative drapery specialists today, and let us help you figure out the most amazing drapery that we can custom build for your own exclusive tour, production, or special event design. It’s what we love to do, and it shows!

27 08, 2019

Digitally Printed Backdrop Mesmerizes Audiences Across The Country

By |August 27th, 2019|Digital Printing, Projects|1 Comment

Here at Sew What? Inc., we honestly enjoy being involved in all kinds of concert tours, festivals, and productions, and we are sincerely excited to help create the most beautiful digitally printed backdrops for our clients that they can ever imagine. Our state of the art, grand-format in-house digital printer can create seamless custom-printed individual drapery pieces up to 10ft. wide each. And with our incredibly gifted manufacturing team’s mad sewing skills, we can then build custom digitally printed curtains in practically any shape, size, and style that our clients’ imaginative minds can think of.

This past spring, renowned Stage/Tour Designer Gordon Droitcoir (@courdesign) and absolutely unrivaled Lighting Designer Jonathan “Jonny” Kingsbury (@kingsburyeyes) reached out to us for a custom theatrical curtain. They were gearing up for the upcoming national “Mystic Truth Tour” for Southern Californian alternative rock band, Bad Suns, and wanted something completely distinctive to showcase behind the band while out on the road. They needed the drape to be lightweight and easy to hang, tour-friendly for transporting from show to show, and vibrant enough to showcase their energizing graphic design with a striking clarity that their entire audiences could enjoy.  They decided to have us construct for them a 16’h x 28’w “venue-friendly” backdrop that was digitally printed onto FR Crystal Poplin, a flame retardant fabric that works beautifully with digital ink for the ultimate in durability and color saturation, helping make their unique image truly stand out. 

This lightweight substrate’s super tight weave allows for a sharp, crisp image, and an almost “glossy” appearance. It has a wonderful translucency and glows exceptionally well when appropriately back lit. We love the way this textile delivers jet black and super saturated dark colors, too—which worked fantastically with this Bad Suns’ genuinely one-of-a-kind graphic.

With a wide array of printable substrates to choose from (indoor, outdoor, opaque, translucent, etc.), digital printing enables you to magnify a photo quality image into a stunning theatrical and scenic digital backdrop. This is especially exciting nowadays because any graphic image that is designed for printing on paper can now be printed on fabric, too. So we can literally take any idea from your graphic artist’s imagination and turn it into a real-world, spectacular stage design for your show or production—just like we did for Gordon and Jonathan and this tour. Reach out to us anytime and we’d be delighted to build you a remarkable digitally printed curtain for you upcoming special event, too. And you should definitely check out Bad Suns in concert at any of their upcoming shows this Fall across the country—their post-punk inspired music offers a downright extraordinary live show experience!

15 01, 2019

Digitally Printed Applique Makes School Emblem Really POP

By |January 15th, 2019|Products, Projects|1 Comment

Having a digitally-printed backdrop is a fantastic way for you to get the name, branding, image, graphics, or anything else seen by your audience in a very memorable, effective manner. We are always excited and eager to work with our clients within their budgets and design aesthetic, to help create for them the most amazing theatrical curtains imaginable. Sometimes it makes more sense budget-wise and design-wise to not necessarily digitally print the entire drape if it’s going to consist mostly of an image/verbiage placed on a completely solid-colored background.

Therefore, we have perfected a technique for our sewing team to digitally print the graphic desired, and independently applique it directly onto a durable substrate to create the look that our clients are envisioning for their custom drapes. Recently this exact circumstance came up when our sales rep extraordinaire Marilyn Moss was working with her tireless and attentive client, teacher Pete Beck with Wyomissing High School. This nationally recognized high school near Redding, PA wanted us to build them a beautiful new custom stage drape with their school’s crest emblazoned on it. 

To have this beautiful design really “pop”, and to also reduce the overall cost for the finished product, we digitally printed the district’s emblem on Heavy Knit and then flawlessly hand-sewed it directly onto durable 22oz. Encore Velour. Not only did this help lower the price quite a bit, but it also gave this curtain a more “theatrical drape vibe” using the softer velour backdrop fabric instead of being entirely made from a digital print substrate. Plus, the colorful digitally printed graphic really stood out wonderfully against this rich, velvety all-black background, too. They could not have been more pleased with the outcome, and from these photos you can certainly see why! Let Marilyn and our team of drapery experts assist you with all of your upcoming theatrical drapery needs, too—rental or purchase—by providing you with absolutely striking results and still staying within your budget.

2 01, 2019

Custom Traveler Drapes and Track Beautify New Venue

By |January 2nd, 2019|Products, Projects|1 Comment

This past fall we recently had the distinct pleasure of working with Winnie Hsia, the founder, teacher, and performer of Sky Candy—an incredibly amazing aerial and circus arts school in Austin, Texas. Sky Candy is Austin’s premier circus training center for students of all ages, body types, and fitness levels. You’ll find fun and engaging classes, knowledgeable instructors, and a warm, welcoming community to support you on your journey. Because of their increasing popularity, they had just moved into a new facility with absolutely lovely high beam ceilings and plenty of spacious room for all of their trapezes, ropes, and other aerial constructions. They knew that they were in for some unique challenges with this new venue though, as one of their main walls was made up of a large glass doorway and separate window that they would need to be able to“mask off” during exhibitions and performances. However, those gorgeous ceilings were angled and covered in beams, which made it somewhat difficult to do a typical installation of the custom-built traveler drapes and traveler track system that they sought.

Once their team of architects and builders figured out how to safely and securely hang the schedule 40 pipe to suspend the traveler track from (and also be offset from the wall so that it could also hide all of the pinrails and other mechanics along that wall), they worked closely with our sales rep Marilyn Moss on ordering the exact kind of traveler track system that would work specifically for this new location. And as well, they were able to also order the precise size, style, and colored drapery they envisioned having as their room’s main “background” for all of their practices, performances, and everything in between.

First they discussed the kind of drapery that would work well in that type of set-up—Winnie wanted opaque soft goods that would block out all of the bright light streaming in from the glass along that wall. She also required something fairly lightweight that would retract easily on a traveler system, but still look really lovely and velvety when fully closed. And very importantly, she requested a type and color of fabric that would reflect lighting beautifully.

With Marilyn’s guidance, they chose a very striking fabric of 13oz. IFR Pewter Grey Apollo Velour—a substrate with a “pile nap” that is a splendid choice when looking for a stunning, opaque fabric. It is also ideal for high humidity environments as it will not shrink or lose its flame retardancy after it gets moist or has to be washed. To make extra certain that the light from outside would be completely masked, she ended up lining these pre-pleated grand bi-parting curtains with white/white blackout lining. Lightweight, attractive,and completely opaque, these drapes were spot-on with what Winnie and her design team were hoping for.

Next they decided on our ADC 1700 Series Besteel (walk-along) Traveler Track. Made of 14 gauge galvanized steel, this medium-duty track is an economical, sturdy, and dependable option for smaller-scale theaters and school auditoriums especially.  This brand of pipe-hung,straight-track configuration was the ideal type of traveler system to work impeccably with our custom-built lined Apollo Velour drapery. The hidden sewn snaps on the top of the curtains connected flawlessly with the traveler’s carriers, allowing for a smooth and easy opening and shutting of these drapes whenever they desired.

The end result turned out absolutely perfect! Being able to effortlessly open and close these magnificent drapes at the simple pull of a drape end is exactly what they were envisioning, and they couldn’t have been happier. We were thrilled to be a part of such an important project, and were beyond pleased with how wonderful it all turned out for them in this new space. Contact one of our amazing representatives—like Marilyn—so that we can help you figure out the most exquisite drapery package for your own unique stage, venue, or event design too!

19 12, 2018

Our Projection Proscenium Helped Create A Unique Stage For Tenacious D

By |December 19th, 2018|Products, Projects|1 Comment

The sewing staff at Sew What? Inc. are always super excited to have a Dan Hadley design pass through the sewing room.  Dan’s projects seem to bring out the best in our creative sewing skills, with textile minded challenges and fabric selections beyond the basic. It is always fun to watch the design come to life on the sewing table, and then see it in all it’s glory on stage once the tour starts. This design for the current Tenacious D tour was no exception!

Tenacious D is a rock duo formed in 1994, by Jack Black and Kyle Glass.  Over the years, Tenacious D has supported large bands such as Pearl Jam and Tool. This year the band released an album titled Post-Apocalypto and a web series called, Tenacious D in Post-Apocalypto, on YouTube. Tenacious D is currently on tour with our custom-made projection proscenium.

This design focused on two elements, surface and shape.  Firstly – a fabric surface that would precisely mimic a projection screen, without the cost and maintenance of a vinyl projection screen product; and secondly, a precisely shaped projection proscenium to showcase carefully mapped out graphics.

When it comes to taking projection surfaces on the road, many of our touring clients lean toward a substitute material. While a professional vinyl projection screen certainly offers a premium surface, there are many inherent difficulties in a touring “on the road” environment which include excessive weight, difficult to clean, problems unfurling and installing vinyl screens in cold weather and more.

There are several substitute textiles that we find popular, and after reviewing the options designer Dan Hadley selected our 120 “Brillante”. With a jet black backside and a brilliant bright white semi-matte surface to take front projection it was the perfect selection.

In order to keep all areas of the projection proscenium “seamless” the design was developed so that no individual surface area exceeded the 10 foot width of the cloth.  The shape was printed as a paper pattern, so that there would be absolutely no error made with the curves being precisely per the design. This is important so that the projection scene that had been pre-developed by the designer would sit perfectly on the cloth proscenium and not require to much graphic spill cleanup.

The legs were sewn as separate pieces to the proscenium header, making the set three pieces for an easy install. All the items fit easily in the bottom of a hamper and had durable touring finishes applied to them such as heavy-duty webbing and grommets at the top and reinforced pipe pockets at the bottoms of the legs.

It is amazing all the different looks that were created using the projection proscenium strategy. It is as though you are transported to a multitude of different venues in the course of one show.  By projecting a variety of “drapery looks” the theme of the stage was instantly transformed. Themes were Gothic, Art Deco, Pop Art and more…… The custom proscenium most importantly provided a surface for colorful and bold artistic slides mesmerizing the audience with this unique use of projection in the foreground – rather than the more tradition use of images and projection “behind the artists”.

Check out these amazing images showing just a few of the projection scenes created for the show.

And for those Tenacious D die-hards – here is a fun video on You Tube that you might get a kick out of – you will see our projection proscenium at work!

About Sew What?

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. For inquiries call 310 639-6000.