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1 08, 2018

Custom Mixed Media Drapes Energize Crowds On Rock Tour

By |August 1st, 2018|Products, Projects|1 Comment

A fantastic way to construct something genuinely one-of-a-kind for your production, concert, or trade show is to have our skilled sewing staff custom sew a mixed media piece that comes directly from your own original vision. Layering different substrates on top of one another can create a completely unique appearance for your backdrops and other theatrical soft goods. Recently Megan Duckett worked with the tremendously creative Paul Guthrie with the Nine Inch Nails current “Cold and Black and Infinite” World Tour, to help fashion a distinctive look for the band’s concert tour.

The design called for a specific hand-painted pattern on the drapes to showcase during parts of the performances, so we started with a Heavy Weight Cotton Muslin as the base fabric for this textured 40’w drape and its corresponding 12’w drapery legs. This material is quite popular for our clients as the wrinkles tend to “fall right out” once hung up at each venue, and the open weave structure of the fabric allows for paint to adhere nicely to it, too. Sharkstooth Scrim was then layered on top of the painted muslin, giving the curtains a textured, almost “coarse” quality to them. The scrim layer was also scenically painted, enhancing the dramatic effect even more. The tour lighting design, which called for the use of a variety of colored lighting schemes and creative image shadows, definitely gave the overall presence of these edgy drapes a truly extraordinary look. Check out more photos of this undeniably exceptional backdrop here on our Flickr page, too.

Contact us to get insightful information, suggestions, and options to better design the stage for your upcoming special event or concert tour. We have so much fun helping our client’s magnificent ideas become a reality in the most breathtaking ways possible, and having us build you a mixed media custom drape is definitely a sure-fire way to wow your audiences each and every time!

24 04, 2017

Guide to Stage Drapery

By |April 24th, 2017|Education|1 Comment

With the exception of those who have been in the theatre or a related area for years, most people are unfamiliar with the many types of curtains that can grace the stage of a theatre or concert stage. For the average person, knowing the difference between an Austrian and a Contour isn’t important, as long as the curtain looks nice on stage.

But what about those people who may be new to the theatre but need to learn the basics fast? Consider the mom who has offered to help her daughter’s school source a new grand drape, or the brand new production assistant tasked with getting quotes for stage drapery options for an upcoming tour? Or even those who know what they want but don’t know what to call it or how to describe it when speaking to a stage drapery manufacturer such as Sew What? Inc.

The good news is, to help people navigate the various types of stage drapery, we have created “Guide to Stage Drapery: Styles and Finishes.” This fifteen-page guide explains stage curtains from Austrians to Contours, from Teasers to Tormentors, and Cycloramas to Scrims. Common stage curtain terms such as fullness and pleating, top and bottom finishes, and more are also explained, and the guide includes a variety of photos and drawings of drapery styles and finishes.

The best thing? This pdf guide is free to download (opens in a new window). Just click here: “Guide to Stage Drapery: Styles and Finishes.”

22 09, 2015

Understanding the Differences Between Cycloramas, Scrims, and Backdrops

By |September 22nd, 2015|Education, Products|0 Comments

Because the terms “cyclorama,” “scrim,” and “backdrop” are often used interchangeably, it can get confusing to understand what each term really refers to.  To help clarify, I thought I’d give a quick rundown on the differences between these pieces.


A Cyclorama (or “cyc”) refers to a white or natural seamless flat muslin panel.  It is always the piece that is hung furthest upstage (aka at the very back of the stage) and is usually used for sky effects (often through frontlit projection).


Scrim is made from a very specific type of netting called Sharkstooth Scrim.  Depending on lighting techniques used, its appearance varies from opaque to translucent.  It is nearly always seamless and can be hung in various locations on stage.

A Painter’s Backdrop is a white or natural flat muslin panel (seamed or seamless) that is used in various locations onstage to help create the scene.  Often the scene is painted on (hence the name) – either by the stage crew or by a professional scenic painter.  Other times, the scene is projected onto the painter’s backdrop.  Alternatively, to create a similar effect, a digitally printed backdrop can be used rather than a painter’s backdrop.

And “backdrop”?  Well, it is just a generic term for something (usually a drape of some sort) that is behind something else – such as behind the orchestra at the Philharmonic or behind the President during a press conference.  It could be muslin, it could be velour, it could be another material.  It could be flat, it could be pleated, it could be a white or black or a solid color or painted or digitally printed.  Pretty much, the sky’s the limit.

Hope this helps.  And keep in mind, if you aren’t sure of what to call something – not to worry.  You can always call us and describe what you need – we can help you out.

20 08, 2015

The Magic of Sharkstooth Scrim

By |August 20th, 2015|Digital Printing, Fabrics, Products, Projects|5 Comments

Have you ever been in the audience of a stage play or concert, and somehow a scene slowly appeared on stage as if by magic?  If so, chances are this effect was created with a special fabric called Sharkstooth Scrim.

Sharkstooth Scrim is an open rectangular weave fabric (similar to net).  Its special weave allows for special effects to be created based on how it is lit.  When lit correctly from the front (and with a dark stage behind), the scrim will appear completely opaque, hiding any people or objects that are on the stage behind it. However, once the lights in front are turned off, and objects behind the scrim are lit, the scrim becomes transparent so that the objects come into view.  It really is an amazing effect – no matter how many times I see it happen, it still surprises me every time.


In addition to being used on its own as a backdrop material (creating what is referred to as a “Scrim“), Sharkstooth Scrim is also used in other ways.  It is often used as one of the components in a Mixed Media Backdrop, such as the one we made for Flogging Molly, in which the windows were cut out of a digitally printed backdrop, with Black Sharkstooth Scrim inserted behind the window cutouts.

Flo Mol_1

Available in several colors and a variety of widths, Sharkstooth Scrim is also used as a scenic substrate for digital printing and hand-painting.  By printing or painting images only on portions of the Sharkstooth Scrim, proper lighting techniques allow for the “plain” areas to disappear, making the scenic portions appear to float in mid-air.


In this video, our sewing shop works on a digitally printed scrim for award winning recording artist Sam Smith.  Stay tuned to the end of the video to see the finished scrim in concert, with the printed areas appearing to glow and float.

As you can see, Sharkstooth Scrim really is an amazingly versatile fabric!  Whether used on its own or with other materials, as a stand-alone fabric or a scenic substrate, the ways it can enhance a theatrical or musical design are countless.

26 05, 2015

Sharkstooth Scrim Helps Set The Stage For 2015 Coachella

By |May 26th, 2015|Clients, Company, Products, Projects|0 Comments

We love having our drapes utilized at productions, conventions, and concerts of all kinds—but rock tours definitely hold a special place in our hearts since that’s where it all began. This year was no different, with the start to summer tours beginning with a LOUD BANG with this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this past April. Having several outdoor stages playing bands and artists simultaneously in the huge concert grounds in Indio, California, can be challenging for the most experienced tour designer, and adding the fact that the stages are all different sizes and in several locations on site made it even more tricky.

Chet Faker 1 (2)

However, this wasn’t an issue for our amazing clients Felix Lighting, who had the exciting ability to work with extremely talented rising artist Chet Faker on one of the main stages. But the issue that they faced was that his song set was scheduled during the brightness of full daylight in the middle of the afternoon, and it wasn’t in a traditional stage setting with a stage enclave or walls or anything sort of structured setting. They wanted to keep the excitement and drama of an outdoor summer concert stage, but still create a space for the artist to help set him apart from the bright background of the Low Desert and all of the sunshine and palm trees that it brings. They decided to hang one of our out-of-the-hamper rental 25’h x 45’w Black Sharkstooth Scrim Backdrops behind the artist and the band, so that it would give a little bit of “stage dimension” to his background, but still allow for visibility when wanted, and also be stable in case it became breezy at all. Adding a few rows of dynamic lighting also offered some more texture to the stage too, giving the perfect look for an outdoor summer concert.

Scrims are a great option for helping create a new look for each show, because depending on how they are lit (or not lit), they can obscure object and staging in the background, or accentuate parts of the stage design that help make the set really POP. They are lightweight, easy to hang, travel easily, and are a lighting designer’s dream come true. Helping our clients find the perfect drapes for their special events is our specialty—let us help you find the perfect drapes for your show, too!