Hawthorne & Heaney for Kalms

Hawthorne and Heaney are very fortunate have a a great variety of work that comes through our door which means that you may have unknowing seen our work. 

Earlier this year, we worked on a piece for the advertising campaign for ‘Kalms’. They wanted to create an embroidery of their slogan onto the duvet with the real life packet.

The colour of the stitching was very important that it would photograph true against the colours of the packaging so we spent some time testing a few threads before settling on this one as the strongest option. The texture of the stitching was also very important to them as they wanted it to have a very hand embroidered feel, but the stitching is done by machine. Therefore we chose a cotton thread which is also used for hand embroidering and paid special attention to the direction of the stitched to make them look like they flow naturally, like ink from a pen.


We were very please with the end result, and feel that we achieved what we were trying to achieve with this project.  Have you seen it about?

Hawthorne & Heaney: Internship Opportunity Available

Hawthorne & Heaney is currently looking for an embroidery intern to join us for an immediate start.

We are looking for a current undergraduate fashion/textiles/costume student to join us in the studio for a 3 month internship. Duties will include machine and hand sewing, general administration, maintenance of the social media sites, research, assisting with embroidery preparation for both the staff and for the School and errands. Time is also set aside from duties to develop your own embroidery skills during your internship. Applicants must be hard working, versatile, enthusiastic, professional, responsible and able work well in a small team. Attention to detail is a must along with patience as nothing in embroidery is particularly quick.

Specific Needs

  • Sewing skills are essential, and a proficiency in both hand and machine sewing would be ideal.
  • Computer knowledge of both MAC and PC, ideally with an understanding of adobe programs and G drive
  • Trend aware
  • Looking to gain experience in a live studio in the embroidery sector
  • Must be a current undergraduate student of a fashion/textiles related course
  • Able to travel into London every day

This internship is unpaid and should be taken in addition to a current undergraduate course, we are therefore unable to accept non students for this position. Hours are full time, Monday- friday 9-5pm.

If you would be interested in furthering your studies please fill out the attached form.

Elsie Wong (Former Intern) with her sample work

Hawthorne & Heaney for Luke Edward Hall

This summer, we were lucky enough to be approach by the artist and interior designer; Luke Edward Hall in preparation for the opening of his summer shop in Belgravia.

Illustration by Luke Edward Hall

He wanted to have two chairs embroidered with one of his designs, so we took his illustration (above) and created it as an embroidery which he then had made into these two gorgeous pieces. 

Stitched out on the green canvas, I think you will agree the chairs reflect the illustration very well and fit in with his ‘Greco-Disco’ style. The fabric was then made up by HOWE at 36 Bourne Street to  result in the finished pieces. We just love it when a collaborative effort come out this strongly.


Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up – Exhibition Visit

Frida Kahlo in blue satin blouse, 1939, © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

The exhibition Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up is currently at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and we recently took the chance to visit. This unique show gives a detailed overview of Kahlo’s life: her family and heritage; her politics; her relationship with mural painter Diego Rivera; the near-fatal accident that caused her a lifetime of pain; and most importantly, how she constructed her image and the way in which she lived her life.

Kahlo’s home in Mexico, La Casa Azul (The Blue House).

Upon Kahlo’s death in 1954, her husband Rivera locked up her most valuable possessions in the bathroom of the Casa Azul (The Blue House, their home in Mexico) and instructed that it not be opened until 15 years after her death. In 2004 this bathroom was opened, and the contents of the room went on display at the Casa Azul as a museum dedicated to her life. These objects are what now fill the exhibition space at the V&A, carefully shipped thousands of miles to be shown outside of Mexico for the first time.

Frida Kahlo and Family, 1926, photograph by Guillermo Kahlo.
Kahlo challenges gender stereotypes by wearing a suit.

The exhibition begins with old photographs of Kahlo and her family, some of which are adorned with Kahlo’s handwritten notes. Some simply label family members, whereas others are more personal: for example, on the back of Kahlo’s Communion photo she has scrawled “¡IDIOTA!” as she renounced Catholicism later in life.

Pre-columbian jade beads, possibly assembled by Frida Kahlo. Museo Frida Kahlo.

The show continues through a series of rooms to Kahlo’s accessories: heavy jade necklaces; crescent earrings featuring paired birds, which are traditional of Mexican jewellery; and hand-woven ‘Rebozo’ shawls and ‘Morrale’ sack bags. These items highlight Kahlo’s pride in her Mexican heritage.

Revlon nail varnishes, compact and lipstick in Kahlo’s favourite shade, ‘Everything’s Rosy’.

We then move on to Kahlo’s possessions, perhaps one of the most personal parts of the exhibition. Intimate items are on display such as used lipsticks and empty medicine bottles accompanied by letters to and from her various doctors.

Plaster corset, painted and decorated by Frida Kahlo. Museo Frida Kahlo.

Kahlo’s suffering due to childhood polio and a car accident at the age of 18 lies at the foundation of some of these objects. For most of her life she wore uncomfortable corsets to help support her back and alleviate pain, some of which were made of plaster and decorated with painting as Kahlo used them like a canvas.

Left: Cotton Huipil with chain stitch embroidery, cotton skirt with printed floral motifs.
Right: Guatemalan cotton coat worn with Mazatec Huipil and plain floor-length skirt.

Finally, the main feature of the exhibition is a stunning display case of Kahlo’s clothing. Kahlo is renowned for her combinations of indigenous garments from different regions of Mexico, and she was photographed in such outfits many times. To see them up close in real life is breathtaking.

Detailed embroidery is present in most of the outfits, from complexly shaded flowers and birds to cross stitch to traditional Chinese embroidery (due to Kahlo’s fascination with Chinatown when she moved to the USA with Rivera). The exhibition gives details of her most striking outfits, describing how she was followed by children when in the USA, who asked “Where is the circus?”.

Self Portrait with Monkeys, 1943. Oil on Canvas, 81.5 x 63cm.

There are some of Kahlo’s paintings – mainly self portraits as she used herself as a subject when painting from her bed – but the exhibition mainly focuses on Kahlo’s items and how she presented the complex layers of her identity within her life. It states that her wardrobe was not staged: she dressed up even when she wasn’t expecting visitors, and even when she was in bed rest.

Frida Kahlo on the Bench, 1939. © Nickolas Murray Photo Archives.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up is a bewitching and intimate exhibition. The items on display are fascinating, and through them the personal details of how Kahlo naturally lived an artistic life – despite her misfortunes and pain – are revealed. A must-see for anyone interested in textiles, and anyone interested in Frida Kahlo’s complex and inspiring life.

Purchase tickets at the V&A website here.

Written by Laura Hill

Hawthorne & Heaney: Intern Projects

Hawthorne & Heaney has been very fortunate to have a series of wonderful students who come to the studio as interns to learn about the industry and experience a working studio. But what do they actually do while they are with us I hear you ask?


What they work on day to day is very changeable but for our longer term interns we like them to have a project of their own ongoing whilst they are with us. The gorgeous images you see here are from our most recent intern, Elsie Wong who was working on some floral motifs for us along side her other duties.

She draws on her Singaporean heritage and Central Saint Martins experience to bring her clean yet delicate style to these pieces. 

She then went on to translate one of the pieces into embroidery using one of the techniques learnt in her classes at the London Embroidery School, specifically Limerick Lace. 

Here is is presenting her final piece to us demonstrating the design process from design, to draft, to embroidery.  I’m sure you will agree, great job Elsie! What do you think?

If this has taken your fancy and you would like to join us as an intern, please see the internships blog or jobs section of the website for application as we are currently looking for someone to join us for an immediate start.

Hawthorne & Heaney on Embroidery Repairs

Embroidery repairs is a topic we keep coming back to but we thought we would share another project with you where embroidery was used to breath new life into a damaged garment.

It is so pleasing when we are able to use a method that is usually about decoration only but also allow an item that would have otherwise have lost its use, to be beautiful and useful again.

Damaged area before embroidery

This jacket was made of a very rough grain tweed which through rubbing and wear had got damaged and started to ray over a large area of about 15 cm. The embroidery that was designed for the area was inspired by the Japanese practise of Kintsukuroi (golden repair) where broken pottery is fixed using gold laquer.  It ties in with the philosophy of wabi-sabi, embracing of the flawed or imperfect which felt appropriate for this project given that we knew that the damage would still be to come extent visible but making the repair in an asthetically pleasing way makes the object becomes more beautiful for having been broken and fixed.

We used 4 shades of blue to reflect the different thread colours in the weave which are all in satin stitch to help to hold the damaged area together. Then there is a layer of gold metallic thread added over raisings to give it that laquered effect that is so significant to this technique and ties in with the metal details of the jacket. After the embroidery there were still a few threads to pulled through to tidy as can be seen and to reattach the hem, but we were very please with the end result.

Hawthorne & Heaney does Wedding Details

Wedding Napkins; you may think you have seen all there is to see when it comes to wedding napkins. But let us take a moment of your time to show you some of the more unusual napkins we have done.

Super Lux: For a very plush, luxurious finish, these napkins were personalised with individuals initials which we embroidered metallic threads over raisings for added texture.

An Extra Touch:

If you have a theme that you wish to incorporate into your designs, we can create semi bespoke orders using one of the stock font choices with your bespoke artwork addition like the crown in this one.


Vintage feel:

Sometimes the crisp, shiny quality of the machine embroidery threads don’t quite make the perfect fit with what you are trying to achieve with your theme. Take this couple who wanted a more natural feel to their embroidery to match the natural feel of the linen so we used a cotton thread instead which is matte and lends itself well to the hand finished feel.

Bespoke Monograms:

Using the matte cotton threads again for this set which has a gorgeous lace boarder, they picked out an off white for the stitching to keep it neutral, but still clear against the white of the napkin. The wrapping, intimate nature of the letters was very important to this design so special attention has been paid to the ‘unders and overs’ of the letters.

International Reach:

The latin alphabet may not properly reflect the culture of your union, so don’t think that you have to be restricted to your ‘ABCs’ for your embroidery.


Whatever you have in mind, get in touch and we can see what we can create for your special day.

Hawthorne & Heaney at Goodwood’s Eagle Sprint

Embroidering onto already made up items can be tricky, but at Hawthorne & Heaney we pride ourselves on giving these more challenging pieces a go. One such piece is the race suit we embroidered for Hawthorne & Heaney’s director Claire who participated in Goodwood RRC’s Eagle sprint a few weekends ago.

There were quite a few additions made to the suit including the Heaney Motors Logo on the back and personalisation on the front

We even managed to add some patches to her race boots!

All the embroidery is to fire retardancy specs as is the purpose of the suit so special requirements can always be taken into consideration.

And here it is in action!

images curtsey of @clairehawthorneheaney and @heaneymotors

Hawthorne & Heaney, Mother Eagle and The London Embroidery School

As some of our regular readers may know, Hawthorne & Heaney has a sister company that teaches embroidery called the London Emroidery School. As the London Embroidery School we run classes at a range of time in specialised embroidery classes such as Tambour beading, goldwork and lace making.

Whenever the opportunity arises to get in a guest tutor, we love to an exciting textile artist in to teach one of their own designs, or a piece in their signature style. This October we have instagram sensation Mother Eagle, a.k.a. Katie Tume coming to teach a piece she has designed especially for us!


Katie’s work is influenced by folklore, mythology, burial customs and the old Gods. She is currently working on projects around our disappearing natural world, and lost species which have become her signature style. ‘The Surreal Stitches with Mother Eagle Course’ combines Katie’s style and techniques. She has created this new artwork for the course, and refers to the artwork as ‘the Divine Mushroom’.

Booking is now available for this class where you will be learn this original artwork from the artist herself. Follow the link here for more details and to secure your place.

All images are courtesy of @mother_eagle_embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney at Holly Fulton’s Retrospective


Holly Fulton

Fashion in Motion: Holly Fulton | Image: Chris Taylor

On 20th July, we attended Fashion in Motion featuring Holly Fulton at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was a spectacular retrospective of the label, that featured highlights from past seasons. We sat eagerly and were anxious to get a snapshot of how the label has evolved over the years. As the shows began, we were not disappointed, Fulton sent down models decked out in beautiful and complex graphic embellishments, laid out in eye catching bold colours..

She restyled the looks, so as to create a more congruent show. In spite of the varied colour palettes and array of inspiration that stretches across 6 seasons, she succeeded in highlighting her unique visual aesthetic that couples with her hand rendered backdrop. Below are some of the looks:

Holly Fulton | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

Holly Fulton | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

Holly Fulton | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney


The collection that we liked the most was Spring Summer 2016, seen in the two looks below. She drew inspiration from Eileen Agar, who collage decorative elements with nature. Fulton skillfully translated the spiral seashell shapes and kaleidoscope colour palette into her prints and embellishment. And she even included a cascading tail into the mix, that were balanced out with well orchestrated and balanced proportions.

Holly Fulton | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney Holly Fulton | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

Eileen Agar | The return of the Blues

Holly Fulton | Image: Yanyun

After this opportunity to feast on Holly’s designs, we are excited to see what the designer would sent down the runway in the coming fashion week.


By Elsie Wong