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25 09, 2017

Sew What? Featured in Online Magazine

By |September 25th, 2017|Company, Digital Printing, News, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|1 Comment

A few months ago, Megan was contacted by Visual Connections, a not-for-profit trade association for the print and graphics industry in Australia. Since Megan is from Australia, they were interested in telling her story, and the story of Sew What?, in their online magazine, Visual Impact. Of course, Megan was happy to assist, and so (working with the time difference between here and Australia), they scheduled a time for a phone interview.

The resulting article, included in the Sept/Oct 2017 edition of Visual Impact, discusses how Megan started Sew What?, the growth of the company, and how the company added Grand Format digital printing to its offerings.

It really is a well-done article. Want to read it? Click here for a link to the article.

12 09, 2017

Custom Digital Print Adds Color And Excitement To Church Staging

By |September 12th, 2017|Digital Printing, Fabrics, Products, Projects|1 Comment

WOW – Who would have thought that a gorgeous, illuminating stage like this…..

Could have been derived from such a simple image as this…..?

When our clients contact us with custom drapery requests, we always try to make sure we can fully envision what they want the soft goods to look like when they are finished so that we are all on the same page about the end result. This way we can be as sure (as possible) that our custom-built digitally printed drapery will work perfectly with their venue, tour, production, or special event.

But I have to admit, when Caleb McNaughton from Highpoint Church in Aurora, Colorado sent us the above image to be digitally printed, at first I thought they were interesting but wondered why they might want something  so…uncolorful.  I can completely see now! Printed on Crystal Poplin, the excellent translucency of this fabric will allow for a multitude of different moods to be created. By simply changing the theatrical lighting that is splashed upon it, they now have an endless amount of looks and backgrounds for their stage, using the exact same soft goods.  Versatile, Dynmaic, and Brilliant!

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.

31 01, 2017

Exciting Print Project for Green Day Tour

By |January 31st, 2017|Digital Printing, News, Products, Projects|1 Comment

Green Day is an American punk rock band hailing from the East Bay, California. Formed in 1986, the group has won 5 Grammy Awards and sold more than 85 million records worldwide to date. In 2015, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of the 2015 class in their first year of eligibility. Needless to say, we are very excited to have been invited to work with the band again for the 2016-17 Revolution Radio Tour.

For this current tour design, there were several drapery elements to supply. Each portion of textiles supplying a different look and effect for the show. It’s always a treat to work on a project that will have “mid show drapery changes” – giving an ongoing visual impact to the audience.

For the main stage Kabuki drape – a giant digitally printed “BOOM BOX design” backdrop was crafted.  This piece, nearly 60 feet wide, was digitally printed onto FR Crystal Poplin – for the ultimate in durability and color saturation.  We love this printing material as it offers easy packing into a small storage vessel – with space being of great importance on a touring show, it is ideal for this type of project. Both lightweight and durable, it’s a win-win for many projects.

Photo Credit Instagram @greenday

The Kabuki drape was deployed during the show using a set of solenoids supplied by Sew What? / Rent What? Inc.  This touring package of solenoid heads allows the drape to be released from the air with the press of a button.  The system provided by Sew What? / Rent What? Inc is extremely popular because it is very compact, extremely flexible and has a proven record of reliability. If you want to learn more about our solenoid systems and how they work to make a “kabuki drape drop” visit our informational Solenoid System page.

Want to see these theatrical backdrop items as they were being sewn? This video showcases the Stage Drapes & Graphic Printed Concert Curtains which Sew What? Inc produced for the US portion of the Green Day Tour.

In addition to the “BOOM BOX design” backdrop, there were two unique backdrops which comprised a selection of banners (7 banners per backdrop set) and these were hung and dropped by solenoids so that they ran down aircraft cables landing neatly on the floor securely behind the band.  These red and blue banner sets were certainly dramatic! If you are interested in seeing examples of the many different backdrops and backdrop styles that are available visit our Flickr Galleries and take a look around.

Green Day have a massive Black Rip Stop lightweight masking drapery package on tour with them as well.  This lightweight, water resistant, and durable textile is one of the rock n roll “go to” fabrics for big arena shows. But there are plenty of materials to choose from…… just take a look at the various theatrical fabrics available from Sew What? Inc.

Sew What? Inc., located in Rancho Dominguez, California, is a well-known stage and theatrical drapery manufacturer known for its dramatic theatrical drapes and fabrics used in major rock concerts, top fashion shows and other artistic staged venues. Our drapes and #backdrops have dressed the stages of Miley Cyrus, Carrie Underwood, Madonna, and Rod Stewart to name a few. The company has received numerous awards for innovation, including the Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence Award, and was featured on the 1000th cover of Rolling Stone. For information, contact us at (310) 639-6000 or complete our online contact form.

27 12, 2016

Backdrops and more…………… What are the benefits of digital printing vs hand painting?

By |December 27th, 2016|Digital Printing, Education, Products|1 Comment

Do you have a backdrop design ready to go? Don’t know where to start? Printed, painted?

It is no surprise that ordering a backdrop can be overwhelming for some clients. There is no one global approach when it comes to crafting a backdrop, and there are endless material options available that can impact both the look, and the price, of the finished piece.

Jason Ald_7

We generally recommend that the first question to ask is: How and Where will I Use My Backdrop?

Indoor Only

This is a great place to start as there is the greatest number of materials that can be used for an “indoor use only” backdrop. You will be able to choose from cottons, polyesters and poly/cotton blends. Any of the traditional drapery materials will work for indoor use and they are all flameproofed to standards that will hold the test of time when used indoors.


If you want to take your backdrop outdoors – for say festival gigs or outdoor special event installations – then your material selection narrows greatly. We never recommend cotton products for outdoor use. They will shrink, rot or worse, lose the topical flameproofing chemical in a potentially damp setting. For an outdoor use backdrop, you will be directed to polyester products, as well as the more traditional vinyl coated materials such as vinyl and vinyl mesh.

Next let’s look at design: Which of the below categories represents my design needs best?

Photo finish “picture” image

This is the moment for a digitally printed backdrop to really shine! No matter where you look, you will see digitally printed stage backdrops and wide-format digital billboards with full size photos printed on them. That’s because any photo file with appropriate resolution can be printed on fabric with incredible results. 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, concert drapes, and exhibit booth panels. Here are more details about the printing process:

Hand drawn sketch or stylized graphic

Either printed or hand painted may be options here. Digitally printed backdrops have the added durability and a reduced physical weight when completed, however hand painted backdrops have a charm to them that is unique. If your design is only an “inspiration image” and is not ready to be reproduced exactly as is – then an artist would be able to translate the image real time while painting your very own work of art with paint on cotton canvas. A typical scenic backdrop can best be described as an oversized painting on an expanse of cloth. We most typically use muslin or canvas, and most artists prefer to paint to a “neutral” or “natural” colored unbleached surface. Wide milled goods can be obtained in seamless widths of up to 35 feet – however, when cost is a factor, lengths of narrower, standard-width cloth can be stitched together. This method can also be used to fabricate the appropriate dimensions needed when the backdrop required is very large.

As well as offering “ready to paint” blank backdrops, we also offer a turn key service for those looking to have their design scenically reproduced. Various painting methods are employed, and various paint types utilized. Effects with UV paint can be added. Learn more about hand painted backdrops:

Hand Painted Scrim Drop for Scott Stapp Tour

Straight up company logo with PMS color matching requirements

Print it! You will get PMS color matching – bright bold colors – and you will know that the logo is reproduced on a grand scale in the correct format and with the right color output. Of course, you must always notify your printing vendor if a logo has specific colors in it – be sure to mention that you need color matching prior to the ordering process!

Just a texture background

Print or paint….. we suggest having it quoted both ways to see which fits the budget. Very basic textures can be quite affordable when hand painted and add lots of visual interest to a piece. Whether it’s a digital backdrop for your theater, concert or exhibit booth display, Sew What? Inc. offers all clients the same professional products, excellent customer service and fast turnaround to meet your deadlines.

And last but not least: FAQ: How do I prepare my files for digital printing?

Read our online file preparation guidelines for instructions and helpful hints. Of most importance is that the final output will be a direct reflection of the quality of the file submitted. If you are unsure of the file requirements, we recommend that you read our file prep guidelines or contact us for more information. In general, the original file should be at least 300 dpi when at 30% of the final output size. Contact us to guide you through the process.

Check out our numerous product categories. Then call us at (310) 639-6000 or contact us for a free quote. Need ideas? Visit our various Portfolios, or our Flickr Galleries for past projects and then review fabric choices. Additional questions? Confused about the difference between drapery fabrics and types of curtains? Concerned about flame retardancy regulations? Online resources available to you include our White Papers with answers to FAQ’s, engaging YouTube videos, and always right here on our informative, Sew What? Blog.