- by Jacob Coakley
Sew What? started out custom-sewing grand theatrical drapes and curtains in the mid-90s, and it has remained a part of their business even as they’ve gone on to make custom digitally printed backdrops or other custom backdrops using LEDs and other special effects. To highlight their continued dedication to traditional theatre drapery, though, Sew What? has recently updated the theatre drapes section of their website, putting a renewed focus on their flame-retardant drapes, available in a variety of materials and weights.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 5 , 2012 Contact: Chris Sandberg (562) 799-1555
Rancho Dominguez, CA -- While the innovative theater drapery manufacturer Sew What? Inc. is called upon daily to create everything from massive digitally printed backdrops to special effects drops such as their shimmering LED stardrops, they are still relied upon for their most "basic" stock-in-trade, traditional grand theater drapes. They're the big "house" drapes that part or rise as the house lights dim and as the show begins, often as part of a local theater production, before a high school play, or an event in a city auditorium.
Sew What? got its start custom-sewing these big, permanent theatrical draperies in the mid-90's and continues that same tradition today. Yet, due to the publicity of its many unique products for A-list touring shows, television productions and special events, the basic theater drape can get overlooked, even by the company itself. Sew What? president Megan Duckett only recently realized that while the rest of their website had undergone major revisions, the theater curtains and drapes pages had been nearly forgotten. That has since been corrected.
Theater drapes produced by Sew What? are designed for a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, usually constructed of 26 oz. to 32 oz. flame-retardant velour and lined for longevity. Fabric materials and actual construction are dependent upon a number of individual factors.
"Some of the issues we have to take into account are the kind of venue, the local FR (flame retardant) requirements, and the specific environment," said Ms Duckett. "These include air conditioning, humidity and specific applications."
For example, Ms Duckett cites, "when called upon to produce drapes for a prominent Las Vegas installation, we had to keep in mind that a major water effect was part of the show. While cotton is a material commonly used for grand drapes, it can shrink in a humid environment, so we constructed the drapes with polyester, which still had the look, feel and glamour of rich velvet."
Similarly, stage drapes produced for both Princess Cruises and Crystal Cruises had to account for the humidity of ocean travel as well as the very strict FR requirements enforced on cruise liners.
On the other hand, in the Victoria Hall theater in Santa Barbara, CA, which recalls the grand traditions of the live stage, the house drapes were manufactured with a rich cotton 21 oz. velour.
Grand theater drapes are also commonly employed in touring shows and shorter-run productions. For those events, Ms Duckett recommends their sister company, theatrical drapery rental supplier Rent What? Inc. where a wide range of rental drapes and stage backdrops are available that also meet FR, environmental and other creative needs.
"We are particularly proud of the fact that most of our drapes are made of materials manufactured in the United States," added Ms Duckett. “Our company supports U.S. mills and businesses and we do all we can to encourage others in our industry to do the same.”
For more information on grand theater drapes from Sew What?, visit www.sewwhatinc.com.
About Sew What? Inc.
About Rent What? Inc.
Committed to providing an ultimate experience in both drapery rental products and customer service, Rent What? Inc. is proud to be woman owned and operated. The firm, located in Rancho Dominguez, CA, has set the stage for artists including Beyonce, R Kelly, Nickelback and Demi Lovato. 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) 639-7000 or visit www.rentwhatinc.com.