Ripped Curtain

hdphilie

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Location
Hampton, IA
Over the summer, our custodians opened and bagged all of the stage curtains so they could put a sealer on the stage floor. I had taken the bags off the front curtains ("grand curtains") to close them for a summer event that only required the stage apron. I left the other curtains bagged to keep dust and dirt off of them, as they are doing some major demolition work in another part of the building. I found yesterday that sometime in the past month, someone took the bag off of a traveling curtain and closed the curtain. What they forgot to do was to take the bag off the curtain on the other side of the stage. Of course the still-bagged curtain ripped as the rope was pulled to close the curtains. The ripped curtain is now hanging in the bag with just a couple of feet still attached/un-ripped at the top.

Obviously this curtain has to be replaced, but we have a couple of major events coming up in the next month. One of them is next week (expecting house capacity - almost 1000 people). Could I get by with "buying stock" in safety pins and pinning the curtain up at the top so it will at least be hanging up? Or am I just stuck until we can get new curtains? With this being a holiday, I haven't been able to speak with our school superintendent about this yet (this is a public school auditorium). Does anyone have any suggestions I can go to my superintendent with?
 

koncept

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Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Location
.
i wouldn't use safety pins, i would use black zip ties as they are slightly stronger. another option, but more time consuming is to go to a fabric store and buy some heavier strength thread and kinda sew it back up untill it can be taken down and possibly repaired properly.
 

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Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Depending on the age of the soft good and how rotted the nap is, putting weight on small holes will rip out very quickly. I would suggest at least stitching it with a slip stitch or the like. Do a search for curtain repair, van has posted some good stuff on it. If you are looking for a quick and dirty way of doing it, just get it stiched up somehow if you are going to replace the good soon.
 

Chaos is Born

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Jun 30, 2006
Location
Cincinnati, Oh
I am leaning towards the heavy weight thread since that won't break anymore threads while stitching it up.
 

Van

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Portland, Or.
Wow ! Yuck! What a PITA!
I'm going to assume that these curtains are really old in the first place, which would be why it tore so easily. If this is the case, you've got a couple of issues you're going to be fighting, when trying to repair it. As older curtains get really brittle, the safty pins may not work, they might just pull right through the fabric. I would try the safety pins , placing them as close together as 3 inches at the most. I would also whip the leading edge,< onstage> through all the layers, with a heavy thread, putting the stitches as close together as possible. Even with the saftey pins I would go ahead and whip as much of the seam as possible. The more points of contact between the two seperate pieces will reduce the stress on each individual stitch, thus reducing the chance that any one individual pin or stitch will pull through the edge on the rotten fabric.
One more thing that might help, if these are going to be trashed anyway, then go to the store and buy some "iron-on" patches. Iron them onto the upstage side of the curtain, every so often, these will assist in gripping the curtain fibers as much as possible. These would be in addition to the stitching

I hope that helps.
 

maccor

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Location
Dayton, Ohio
I second the use of iron-on patches. My curtains are 40+ years old. I've had to use the patches and they work great! They are strong enough to even repair ripped chain pockets. I get the black ones at Wal-Mart (4"X6")and usually cut them in 1/2 or 1/3 length wise. I use a small formica topped desk as an ironing surface and put them on the upstage/non-velour side. I've spanned existing seams without a problem. If you are careful about laying the 2 curtain sides together before ironing, you can't even see the patch. Especially since velout tends to rip in a straight line, they are a good fix. The art dept. probably has an iron you can borrow. Some of the repairs are 3 years old and the curtains get a lot of rough use all year long.
 

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I second the use of iron-on patches. My curtains are 40+ years old. I've had to use the patches and they work great! They are strong enough to even repair ripped chain pockets. I get the black ones at Wal-Mart (4"X6")and usually cut them in 1/2 or 1/3 length wise. I use a small formica topped desk as an ironing surface and put them on the upstage/non-velour side. I've spanned existing seams without a problem. If you are careful about laying the 2 curtain sides together before ironing, you can't even see the patch. Especially since velout tends to rip in a straight line, they are a good fix. The art dept. probably has an iron you can borrow. Some of the repairs are 3 years old and the curtains get a lot of rough use all year long.
Really, 40 years... If you wanted to you could play the flame proofing game and see if you can not get some new goods, but at the same time you could just lose the goods all together. Those things are probably shedding very badly, and are basically tinderboxes hanging in the air. You might want to start investigating new soft goods strictly from a safety standpoint, unless you sent them out to be flame proofed in the last few years and still have documentation on that.
 

David Ashton

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Sep 8, 2007
Location
perth W Australia
You should never ever use gaffer tape on curtains, if they were damaged before they are ruined now, the goo left behind is unremoveable and you can't run it through a sewing machine, it will jam it.All the previous replies are valid but not gaffer tape, never ever.
 

Van

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Hmm,
It must be Vans disagree with Aussies day. Actually Gaff tape was invented with the sole purpose of being used as a way to temporarily page soft goods while working on stages and sound stages. Gaffers tape, as opposed to Duct tape, is specifically engineered to leave no residue. If Gaff has been stored improperly, or left on for extended periods of time, the adhesive will often separate from its cloth backing. The resulting residue is easily removed via several means, including but not limited to; peanut butter, WD-40, "Goof-Off" < one of many brand names for a Toluene/Naphtha based cleaning agent>, Cold application < using dry-ice to harden the residue then picking it off> or one of many different commercially available citrus cleaners.
If you find your Gaffers Tape is routinely leaving residue, you might want to consider storing it in a temperature controlled environment, where it doesn't get too hot, or finding a new supplier.
 

David Ashton

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Sep 8, 2007
Location
perth W Australia
Putting peanut butter or wd 40 on to expensive wool curtains seems like two crazy ideas, the time the mess and the loss of fireproofing to me is illogical.I have never known a gaffer tape which will not leave a sticky residue and I would invite Van to substantiate his theory that gaffer tape was invented for this purpose.Gaffer tape is the most overused and abused product, for 90% of the time there are better ways than gaffer.
 

Logos

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Nov 28, 2006
Location
Rockhampton Queensland, Australia
I'm with you on this one Van, the crappy Nashua Gaffer that everyone uses in this country is rubbish and leaves a residue but the Gaffer tapes I was used to usng in the UK were much better and rarely left a residue on anything.
 

Van

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Putting peanut butter or wd 40 on to expensive wool curtains seems like two crazy ideas, the time the mess and the loss of fireproofing to me is illogical.I have never known a gaffer tape which will not leave a sticky residue and I would invite Van to substantiate his theory that gaffer tape was invented for this purpose.Gaffer tape is the most overused and abused product, for 90% of the time there are better ways than gaffer.
WD-40, and or Peanut butter are two of the possible ways in which one can remove Gaff-tape residue from materials. Whether or not you would want to try them is up to you. As far as substaniation, I would refer you the the 3m website, do a search for gaff tape pull up the spec sheet, and you will see the reference to "low transference".
BTW Wool? You make curtains out of wool ? Guess y'all had to find something else to do with all those sheep. :rolleyes:
 

David Ashton

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Joined
Sep 8, 2007
Location
perth W Australia
Yes wool is the finest material for curtains as it is fireproof without chemicals although possibly not the case if full of peanut butter and wd 40.I have customers with 100 year old wool curtains still ok. but the point is why risk an expensive curtain with a short term gaffer tape fix when with a little extra effort you can do a good job sewing or iron on-tape and this will save a great deal of time later on when the job has to be done properly anyway, not to mention all the peanut butter you will save.
 

Aliny

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
I'd go with sewing with upholstery thread. You can also purchase upholstery needles to accomplish this more easily. If you have a home economics department, they may have heavy duty sewing machines. If so, purchase iron-on binding tape. Iron it in place, then sew hems on both edges. Doing this will prevent much of the "drag" produced by the weight of the curtain and will have the least amount of 'show' where the tears are.