Decoding the Language: Glossary and Terms
Like any business, QSD uses specialized language to describe its products and services. Here’s our glossary and terms to help you familiarize yourself with our world. And don’t worry, we’re subject matter experts in what we do. We’ll guide you every step of the way from your first enquiry to a perfect completed job.
Austrian Drape – A drape with the fullness sewn vertically creating a scalloped effect across the curtain when it is in the full down position. The drape is raised vertically with cord and rings.
Back Traveller Drape – A drape that is at the rear of the stage that is typically pulled along a track manually. If the stage has a cyclorama drape this will be the only thing behind the back traveller.
Bi-Part – A drape that splits in the middle, usually it is operated by a line from one side of the stage however can be pulled manually as well.
Border Drape – Found on stages, similar to the teaser, a horizontal masking curtain, typically black.
Box Pleat – Deep, inverted, tailored pleats which are flat on the good side of the drapery to create a classical boxy look.
Carrier – A roller or glide that is attached to the curtain and runs along the track. Used to move drapes and curtains around.
Centre Split – Same as bi-part, it is a drape that splits in the middle. Usually it is operated by a line from one side of the stage however can be pulled manually as well.
Chain Pocket – Chain sewn into the bottom hem of a curtain or drape used to keep the curtain taut.
Commando – Also known as Duvetyne, this 100% cotton woven masking fabric is often used for backdrops.
Cyclorama – Found on stages, the last setting on a stage. Typically a white or light blue color muslin scrim.
Dead Hung – Items that are hung above the stage and not intended to move.
Double Fullness – Using fabric that is twice the measured width of the opening. Double fullness creates a fuller look that is more pleasing then flat.
Duvetyne – Also known as Commando, this 100% cotton woven masking fabric is often used for backdrops.
Eyelet – Same as grommet, a small hole at the top of the drape for the passage of a cord or hook.
Finished Sizes – The manufactured size of a drape or curtain. The height measures the very top of the curtain to the bottom, and the width measurement is from one edge to the other (if there is fullness in the curtain be sure to measure the width at the top hem where the pleats are sewn)
Fire Curtain – A non-flammable curtain immediately behind the proscenium contained in the smoke pocket. A safety device used to protect the audience from possible smoke or fire originating from the stage area.
Fire Retardant Fabric – Textiles that are naturally more resistant to fire than others through chemical treatment of manufactured fireproof fibres.
Fullness – Refers to the width of the fabric in relation to the rod or opening. Most stage drapes are 1.5 or 2 times fullness.
Good Side – The side of the fabric that is used as the finished side of an item. The good side generally has the most color and the most finished look to it.
Grommet – Same as an eyelet, a small hole at the top of the drape for the passage of a cord or hook.
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Heading – The top seam of a drape or curtain. The heading can be manufactured in different ways to accomplish different curtain appearances.
Leg Drape – Found on a stage, narrow vertical curtains, usually black, used to mask the offstage areas from the audience view. The number of legs is dependent on the depth of the stage and width of the auditorium.
Lining – Fabric used as a backing for drapery. Lining can provide two good sides to a drape as well as black out effect depending on the lining fabric selected.
Main Drape – Same as proscenium, this curtain is the first curtain on the stage and generally goes from the floor to slightly above the proscenium arch and is opened and closed to reveal the production.
Muslin – Tightly woven cotton fabric often used for covering scenery as well as for bounce drops in lighting.
Offstage – The area toward the wall of the stage.
Onstage – The area toward the centre of the stage.
Overlap – The area where drapery panels lap over each other at the centre of a bi-parting system.
Pinch Pleat – A narrow pleat that is usually part of a series at the top of a curtain, used on valance curtains to stiffen the top hem and allows the curtain to hide track and hardware.
Proscenium Drape –This curtain is the first curtain on the stage and generally goes from the floor to slightly above the proscenium arch and is opened and closed to reveal the production.
Railroading – Refers to using fabric horizontally rather than vertically. Fabric without nap or a directional design can be railroaded easily depending on the required size of finished curtains. It can be used to avoid seams in long lengths of fabric.
Scrim – On stages, it is a curtain made of an open weave sharkstooth fabric that can be seen through only when backlit towards the audience side. It becomes opaque when the audience side is lit and the backlight is removed.
Shower Curtain – A curtain that keeps water from splashing out of the shower area.
Stage left – The actors’ left when facing the audience.
Stage right – The actors’ right when facing the audience.
Teaser – Found on stages, it is a horizontal masking curtain, typically black.
Tiebacks – Fabric bands, cords, or other material that shape the curtain or drape and holds them back.
Top of Track (TOT) – This is the dimension taken from where the top of the track is or will be mounted to the finished stage floor.
Track – A steel or aluminum rod that accommodates a corresponding carrier. Used wherever drapes or curtains are required to be hung.
Trim Chain – A short piece, typically 6”, of chain connecting the carriers on the track to the ‘S’ Hook going into the curtain. This chain allows for curtain height adjustment to keep the bottom hem consistent and even from the floor.
Valance – A short horizontal drape that covers the top of the proscenium main drapes and the drapery hardware. A valance is typically made of fabric to match the proscenium main drapes.
Walk Draw – Drapery which is pulled by hand rather than with a pulley system.