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17 10, 2018

Meet the Staff–UPDATES! Shane Nelsen

By |October 17th, 2018|Company, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|1 Comment

Next in our Meet The Staff–UPDATES! Blog series is sales rep extraordinaire, Shane Nelsen. Being the sales staff member who’s been a “Whatter” the longest, he has practically seen it all, done it all, and made it all. But that doesn’t stop him from still having a blast, and learning from all of his innovative clients’ unique drapery requests. Take a moment to read a little bit more about our very own “design force of nature”, Shane!

What were you originally hired to do, and how have your duties/job descriptions changed since working here? (even if your job title hasn’t changed) Please explain…

I was hired back in 2006 as a Sales Staff person, and I still remain in that position to this day. And as of the past few years, I can also assist my clients with requests of our rental inventory, too. However, due to my decades of work in the decorating/design/theater industry, and now with my many years here at SW? Inc., I am referred to as “Senior Sales Representative”. I enjoy offering my clients AND training colleagues assistance with questions that they might have regarding custom drapery options, various fabrics and substrates, and overall design concepts.

What are some favorite memories/circumstances/events from being part of the Sew What? family?

Although I truly enjoy our potlucks and special events here on-site, I always especially enjoy our SW outings OUTSIDE the office, too. Years ago a bunch of us went to see Billy Idol live in concert in Palm Springs, and we had such a blast. I also had a lot of fun going to a local concert with some of my co-workers here to see Aerosmith, too. Both shows had our drapes being showcased on-stage, which was exciting to see live and in person…But more than that it was really great getting to socialize with my colleagues outside of our regular work environment.

What project have you worked on recently that was interesting or challenging? What did you learn from it?

Working from design concept to completion on a Black Sabbath mixed media backdrop was definitely one of my personally most challenging projects ever. Mixing commando cloth, aluminum metal mesh, and black sharkstooth scrim together on one drape–and the painstaking measurements that needed to be calculated to ensure everything was exactly how the client envisioned–was genuinely one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever coordinated here at SW. But it was all worth it because the outcome was absolutely spectacular.

Anything more you would like to add about the development and evolution of RW/SW? Inc.?

I’ve enjoyed the progress that both Sew What? and Rent What? have made over the last 13 years. I really like working with the expanded sales team and warehouse staff, too, and seeing what new and interesting drapery projects come through our sewing room every single day.  

20 03, 2018

Custom Sewing Gives Your Stage A Truly Exclusive Look

By |March 20th, 2018|Products|1 Comment

Being free to design as creatively as you want is one of the best ways to showcase your individuality, especially when you are fashioning a fabulous special event  or stage design. Here at Sew What? Inc., we LOVE that our clients are extremely imaginative and allow us to be a part of their artistic process! A fantastic way to construct something truly one-of-a-kind for your production, concert tour, or trade show is to have us custom-build a mixed media piece that comes directly from your own original vision.

This custom screen surround for the Platinum Tour of Grammy winning recording star Miranda Lambert featured Black 22oz Encore and Silver Drizzle

We enjoy nothing more than when our warehouse is busily working on custom sewing pieces to give our clients something that they can profile on their stages that had never been seen before. It is often painstaking work– lots of fine details, exact measurements, precise stitching, and of course, it all needs to look fantastic too—but we relish the challenge!


Singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow performs in front of a custom mixed media backdrop made of various pieces of fabrics in various textures and colors

Mixing different fabrics, colors, substrates, and styles helps create a design that gives the stage design texture, depth, and excitement. Layering metal mesh on top of muslin, a digitally printed featuring cutouts with Sharkstooth Scrim behind, using UV paint to really help your backdrop “glow,” digitally printing an artist’s logo larger than life, or even bedazzling a digitally printed satin drape with loads of beading and sparkly applique, can all help give your custom drapes a rare and extraordinary look.

mariah

For the Las Vegas residency of Mariah Carey, a variety of elements, from flowers to fabric to vinyl butterflies, combined to set a magical scene

We’ve seen just how incredibly successful our mixed media pieces have turned out for the stage designs for many of our clients, and it’s always thrilling when we get to continue to do what we love—innovate this industry with exclusive custom-built products so that our clients can astound their audiences time and time again.

Digitally printed Heavy Knit, Black Encore Velour, Sharkstooth Scrim, Pewter Textura, and more combined to give amazing dimension to this backdrop for Passenger
30 01, 2018

Did you know………. Some fun facts from our Sew What? / Rent What? company archives

By |January 30th, 2018|Company|1 Comment

WORLD RECORD! The largest and heaviest single drape that we have ever made was for the Guiness Book Of World Records? Event producer, Steve Solomon of Upstage Right selected Sew What? Inc. to create the giant terrycloth towel for the record-breaking event. Measuring in at an incredible 131 feet by 78 feet, the towel displayed giant graphics for sponsor Nabisco Toasted Chips. With over 1,200 yards of fabric and 7,300 feet of thread, the towel literally covered the sands on Hermosa’s beach from strand to ocean. At a whopping 1500 lbs, the drape was moved with industrial forklifts to get it out of the sewing room, into the truck, and then onto the sand!  Want to read the press release? Check it out here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/07/prweb410911.htm

Beachgoers are the first to lay on the newly unveiled World’s Largest Beach Towel, made official by Guinness World Records, Wednesday, June 28, 2006, in Hermosa Beach, Calif. The towel measured 131 feet by 78 feet and weighed over 1,000 lbs. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, John Hayes)

FINAL TOUR! We produced the softgoods for Motley Crue’s FINAL TOUR ever?! That’s right – these rock heavyweights retired in 2015 – and we were so pleased to be a part of it.  With pentangle appliqued sharkstooth scrims and printed drapery elements, we bid farewell to the legendary band with some of our most unique custom mixed media backdrops yet. Read all about it: https://sewwhatinc.com/company/press-room/stage-drapery-manufacturer-sew-what-inc-bids-farewell-to-motley-crue-on-its-final-tour/

ON TELEVISION! Did you know we were featured on CNN’s “Passion to Portfolio” series?  A recent video piece titled “The Woman Behind Rock Bands’ Backdrops” on the CNN Passion to Portfolio segment, focused on Megan Duckett – founder of Sew What? Inc. a theatrical draping company outside of Los Angeles, California. Sew What? provides concert backdrops worldwide for A-List musicians like KISS, John Legend, Rod Stewart and Madonna. Read the full press release: https://sewwhatinc.com/company/press-room/sew-what-inc-s-president-megan-duckett-appears-on-cnns-passion-to-portfolio-business-series/

SUPPORTING UNSIGNED MUSICIANS! At Sew What? Inc., we love the idea of “giving back” by supporting the arts and recognizing notable musicians in our videos, as well as putting something out there that shows off our products. Since 2012 we have exclusively featured unsigned artists, both local and nationwide, in our videos.  Rich Cole, James Lugo, It’s OK! The band, Thomas Underhill and more.  It is a pleasure to put back into the musical community! Want to know more about it? Read the full press release.

https://sewwhatinc.com/company/press-room/sew-what-inc-stage-drapery-videos-to-feature-less-recognized-local-and-unsigned-musicians/

About 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. Their drapes have dressed the stages of Madonna, Kings Of Leon and the Killers 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 Sew What? Inc. at (310) 639-6000, or email inquiries@sewwhatinc.com.

About Rent What? Inc. Rent What? Inc. is committed to providing an ultimate experience in drapery rental products and customer service. The firm, located in Rancho Dominguez, CA, has set the stage for artists including Green Day, Miley Cyrus and Michael Jackson. In addition to its large inventory of Inherently Flame Retardant stage drapes, traveler tracks and portable dressing rooms, the company is widely regarded for its basic pricing schedules, innovative damage waiver policy and fast and friendly service. For information, contact Rent What? Inc. at (310) 639-6000 or visit sewwhatinc.com/rent-what-inc/.

16 01, 2018

Black Chaos Rental Drape Was A Beautiful Backdrop on the Elbow Tour

By |January 16th, 2018|Clients, News, Products, Projects|1 Comment

We love seeing our drapes being used at their special events, and nothing pleases us more than when we come across an article or imagery showcasing some of our rental or purchased soft goods online looking truly spectacular. Case in point—Recently we worked with Cate Carter and the creative team of production designers at Bryte Design in the UK, who were designing a stage for the band Elbow who were having a tour over here on the US mainland. They needed a backdrop for the band’s stage that would be versatile, easy to hang, light easily, travels well, and of course give a completely iconic appearance to the stage that would be memorable for the audience long after the last song was sung.

The textures of our Black Chaos Drape pop under colored lighting

They decided on using our 23’h x 40’w Black Camo Chaos drape from our Industrial Textures Collection, and it was absolutely perfect for this band’s ultra-cool vibe. This one-of-a-kind specialty drape consists of layers of swagged, rugged camo netting over IFR black poly muslin fabric. This combination gives the drape a very mystical, dramatic quality to it that can help set the stage for any special function you can imagine. Theatrical lighting and effects beautifully orchestrated by Franki McDade Lighting, the tour’s designers made a huge impact on the audiences with this incredibly unique backdrop time and time again for the tour. Check out some gorgeous photos by Michelle Shiers and a fantastic article about the band at one of their US shows (at the world-famous Wiltern right here in Los Angeles) here, displaying this alluring backdrop in all of its glory.

18 12, 2017

Brilliant Graphic Design is Showcased in this Mixed Media Backdrop for Gov’t Mule

By |December 18th, 2017|Digital Printing, Fabrics, News, Products, Projects|1 Comment

Rock ’n’ roll music has always been a reflection of the times, and the new Gov’t Mule album, Revolution Come… Revolution Go, is no exception. The album was released June 9th, and the band again sets the tone for their legacy with its cleverly-crafted songs, intelligent lyrical commentary, and downright provocative playing. It’s those traditions, combined with an observant eye on the present, that define their tenth full-length studio effort.

This current tour supports the new album release, and Warren, Matt, Danny and Jorgen deliver a patchwork of musical styles, and you can see the passion in their performance in these wonderful photos by Heath Robson.

Image by Heath Robson

There are so many ways to approach each custom backdrop that we are asked to craft.  For a great number of our backdrops, the entire design is digitally printed on our wide format digital printer.  For Gov’t Mule, however, the bold design of the medallion style logo with its solid black surround lent itself perfectly to us crafting a mixed media backdrop. We used both solid opaque black cloth as well as a digitally printed replication of the central graphic, and then with great care we stitched them together into a multi layered piece of textile art.

Working with Tour Manager Fred Cox, we selected 22oz Encore Velour for its wrinkle resistant knit construction to be used for the black background.  Encore is a wonderful substrate for mixed media backdrops as when it is scissor cut it does not fray – allowing for intricate shapes and designs to be taken from the baseline fabric.

Image by Heath Robson

The medallion element in the center was printed in full and glorious color onto our Heavy Knit print fabric. This is a wrinkle resistant knit construction, that takes bright and bold colors well, and is a perfect candidate for applique.  After years of use in the marketplace, this substrate has proved itself a perfect match for tours and projects which require long periods of hamper storage.

The combination of Heavy Knit and Encore Velour is very popular for mixed media backdrops. Not only do our clients love this flame retardant cloth combination – but our sewing room does too! Both fabrics make their way through the sewing machines with ease, making this fabric combination, quite literally, a win-win.

Image by Heath Robson

The medallion area, once sewn onto the black drape, was then treated as a “feature element”.  We turned the drape on its face and meticulously cut away the black Encore Velour from the back of the printed areas.  What this did was allow for the medallion to glow (as it is a translucent fabric) when back lit by revealing it from behind.  This painstaking process required hours of careful trimming and hand scissor cutting to remove the Encore and reveal the glowing central element. Custom sewing for the Entertainment and Event Industry, such as this, is a specialty of ours.

Image by Heath Robson

From the Gov’t Mule website, Haynes is quoted to say, “In many ways, the chemistry between the four of us is an extension of the chemistry that the original trio had. The approach we take to the music is the same uncompromising and adventurous approach, although it’s inevitable that the music is going to grow in different directions. The common thread is the influences we choose and the way we play together, which harkens back to how important improvisation was in most of the music we all love. At the end of the day, we’re friends. Making this music is satisfying in a way that’s completely different from any other project I’ve been a part of. That’s what inspires all of us.”

Image by Heath Robson

About Sew What? Inc:   Custom sewing. It’s our passion, our bread and butter. It’s how we got started and what we live for. Our custom-sewn drapery products have graced the stages of many of the biggest names in music and theater, dressed some of the top fashion show runways, and brought color and drama to major trade show exhibits here and abroad.

We serve these main market areas: Theatrical Drapery Manufacturing, Touring Draperies for Concerts, and Custom Sewn Products for Special Events & Trade Show Exhibits. The portfolios below display many examples of our work and may offer you some ideas on what’s possible with custom drapery. Need ideas? Visit our various Portfolios below or our Flickr Gallery for past projects, and then review fabric choices.