Hawthorne & Heaney :Dismantling of a Victorian Mourning Shawl


Hawthorne & Heaney was given the Victorian shawl by Sue Thomas from Savile Row bespoke.


In the Victorian era, black was considered the appropriate colour to be worn when mourning the loss of a loved one and in some cultures, this is still the case today. It is believed that the mourning attire was a protection against negative thoughts. By wearing the colour black it also informed family, friends and acquaintances that the wearer had recently lost someone close to them and was a warning not to approach them within this sad period of time. For women, the fashion symbolised the depth of affliction with the colour of clothing indicating the gradual return from black to bold clothing through the hues of purple and violet, this was recognised as the second stage of mourning. The length of time Victorian women wore mourning garments varied on the degree of relationship with the deceased from a week up to a year.


The dismantling of the shawl was a very long process as parts of the shawl was originally constructed using an embroidery technique called tambour beading. Tambour is French for drum and is done by using a hook where the fabric is stretched as tight as a drum. The fabric can be stretched by being sewn onto a rectangular frame or placed in a wooden hoop. The Tambour hook makes a chain stitch in a technical order where it will keep each bead securely in place. If the knot or process of the tambour chain stitch was to be done incorrectly then the whole beadwork would come undone. Depending on your experience using the Tambour technique beads can be secured in place very fast this is why a lot of fashion houses such as Dior are well known for using this technique in order to get garments completed on a tight time schedule. To get each bead loose from the shawl the embroidery stitches were cut allowing the bead to be free. Once all the beads were eventually dismantled from the Victorian shawl they were sorted into bags so all the same beads were neatly secured and measured ready to be used again. Below you are able to see photographs of sections from the shawl being dismantled.


It is very important to Hawthorne & Heaney that the beads are used in another exciting project. This is because of the heritage behind this shawl and the construction that went into the making of it was exquisite. With the shawl being so old it was beginning to fall apart and unable to be restored therefore there was no other option but to take it apart and store the beads safely away until we find a project that will give them a new purpose. We are unsure currently what that project will be but we are sure we will know when the time comes.

Hawthorne & Heaney at the Brighton Speed Trials 2017

Here at H&H we thought you may appreciate a little reminder of the summer to ease the transition.
A few of us at Hawthorne & Heaney are quite keen on or cars which may have been alluded to recently by the appearance of the Heaney Motors Ford Galaxie 500.

H&H were given the opportunity to sponsor this beautiful American muscle car which took part in its first race at the Brighton Speed Trials 2017.
The vintage and muscle car scene is an excellent opportunity for customisation and modification and not with just the cars !

Our driver, with an existing addiction to vintage motor patches, jumped at the chance to have bespoke overalls made. With a vintage American style font to match the car made in a patch for the back (patches are important here so that the integrity of the fire retardant suit is not compromised).

H&H also strayed a little from embroidery and worked together with Kituoutkustoms to create a vintage decal for the car. We sourced some vintage look machine turned light gold vinyl which was cut with a black to create a shadow. The effect worked with the nature of the car and was such a pleasure to work on with the car wrap specialists in Hoddeston.

The race day was the last real day of Summer and was such an enjoyable event. With an eclectic mix of cars both vintage and modern and the Heaney Motors Galaxie certainly stood out in the crowd !

Hawthorne & Heaney for Liberty of London Event

Hawthorne & Heaney have been back to our favourite, Liberty of London to celebrate Fathers Day. As usual we were offering our classic monogram onto silk pyjamas.




Along with us, there was a number other demonstrations happening in which customers could purchase engraved gifts for their fathers!


Engraving on to mens wallets.




Engraved ‘DAD’ onto an umbrella tie.


We thought this was a fantastic event run by Liberty and it was such a pleasure to be part it!

Hawthorne & Heaney for Anderson & Sheppard’s London Craft Week Beaumont Collection Collaboration

Along side our own London Craft Week Classes, Hawthorne & Heaney also have some embroidery on display in the shape of a navy smoking jacket we embroidered for Anderson & Sheppard. They are part of a collaboration with Jeremy King OBE of the Beaumont Hotel London to create a capsule collection inspired by the hotel:

‘Each tailor has produced an outfit for Jimmy Beaumont, a fictional character invented by Jeremy to inform the interior design of the 1926 hotel building. The collection includes a tuxedo, a three piece suit and night-wear, highlighting the skill of the tailors alongside their ability to respond to their client’s character. Each piece of Jimmy Beaumont’s wardrobe is displayed in the tailors windows along Savile Row. ‘ (London Craft Week)

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Here are some of the photos of the jacket in the various stages of production, whilst the pieces were still flat they were provided to us to create the frogging on the front and motifs on the sleeves which are inspired by the symbols on playing cards:

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All above images from @jennie_mcwalter   

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And here is the finished jacket, if you’d like to see this piece and others from the collection, they are all on display in their prospective shops down Savile Row now until 7th May.

Image above by @guy.hills and video courtsey of Anderson & Sheppard.

Hawthorne & Heaney for London Craft Week Part 2

Along side our Monogramming for Handkerchiefs class on the 4th May, we are also holding a Monogramming for Cufflinks class on the 5th May. You can join us to learn the delicate art of monogramming and leave with your own monogrammed cufflinks at the end. Follow the link to secure your place as spaces are strictly limited, tickets are £60 plus VAT and can only be bought directly from the London Craft Week Website.

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Hawthorne & Heaney for London Craft Week Part 1

For the past 3 years, London Craft Week has become a highlight of the creative calender with all sorts of exciting workshops, demonstrations and talks taking place across town. These celebrate the most unique and interesting craft skills London has to offer. Ranging from whisky tasting to watchmaking to weaving there is something to interest everyone. This year, we have been invited to take part in London Craft Week and are excited to be hosting two workshops in the studio to showcase our own skills.  In these workshops we will be teaching one of our stable skills, monogramming which we regulally use on shirts,  suits and accessories from our tailoring clients.


You can join us to learn the delicate art of monogramming and leave with your own monogrammed handkerchief or cufflinks at the end. Follow the link to secure your place as spaces are strictly limited, tickets are £60 plus VAT and can only be bought directly from the London Craft Week Website.

Hawthorne & Heaney in Conversation with Laura Lees

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Fellow embroiderer, artist and designer Laura Lees is usually found creating highly colourful, fine art pieces furniture pieces but she took a little time away from her usual pursuits to speak with us about her work:


Hawthorne & Heaney: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, we’d like to start by asking you the question we get asked quite a lot of how did you get into embroidery originally?
Laura Lees: I applied for a city and guilds embroidery course when I was 17 and fell in love with it then. I found my skills at drawing not exceptional but confident. I found a new level of ability with the needle and thread superior than that of drawing with a pencil.
H&H: And what is it that inspires you?
LL: The way you can transform something from the ordinary to the extraordinary. I love the feel of the threads, the sound the scissors make when they’re cutting fabric, the quality of line and the battering noise and speed of my beloved Bernina industrial sewing machine. most importantly, I love the clarity of heart and mind, the skill involved and the the fact that i am always learning.

H&H: What would you like your students to take away from your class?

LL: A real sense of achievement, pride and enjoyment.

H&H: Where can we see more of your works?

LL: I am preparing for an exhibition to take place at the end of the year, inspired by dutch author Joris Luyendijk s book ‘Swimmimg with Sharks’ which demistifys the financial world of the city banks. This resonated deeply with me, having amongst many others lost my fashion label in the 2008 crash.  I explore the ‘smoke and mirrors’ architectural language of finance by descending on what must be the least understood environment in Europe: the City of London. Taking the habitat of the so-called and self-described Masters of the Universe as my inspiration and translating the visceral world that lives and survives by opacity into tangeable abstract textiles.

H&H: Anything coming up in the pipeline you can share with us?

LL: I have recently launched The Mighty Stitch corporate workshops, The Mighty Stitch embroidery workshops teach teams a new skill, engendering engagement and motivation, ultimately creating a bespoke embroidered piece of art for your workplace. • Simple, supportive instruction • No experience needed, anyone can take part
Participants are encouraged to be playful and experimental – the workshops facilitate collaboration, communication, storytelling, mindfulness, and, most importantly, making a mess! Enhanced work environment we all need a bit of that, i think .

H&H: Thanks again, I’m sure we will be seeing much more of you with all that come up!


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Laura also has a Workshop coming up in April which will give the participants the opportunity to be a part of Laura’s work as the pieces created on the day will be encorporated into a new piece which will be exhibited at the RIBA as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Follow the link to secure your place for this intriguing and unusual opportunity:

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‘The Riba workshop is a full day, immersed in urban embroidery.  We will focus on how a city evolves through its inhabitants by learning freehand machine embroidery, hand stitching and applique. The outcome is to create an embroidered image of a building or architectural structure.  

Afterwards, I will explore how a city is fabricated by stitching together the individual and diverse pieces made by workshop participants into a new work to be exhibited a the RIBA as part of @londonfestivalofarchitecture

All artwork will be returned to the participants after the exhibition.
This workshop is part of the programme of events inspired by the exhibition ‘Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square’. 

Urban Tapestry with Laura Lees, 22 & 23 April, 11am to 4pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD
Booking at architecture.com/Workshop

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All images credited to Laura Lees

Hawthorne & Heaney chats with Riddle Magazine

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Hand embrodierer extraordinaire Megumi Endo working on a monogrammed handkerchief

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A few weeks back, we took some time out to chat to Rupert Watkins of Riddle Magazine and friend of Hawthorne & Heaney. We were delighted when he said he wanted to do an article on us for Riddle and so after lots of conversation and a little time with their photographer Andy Barnham, the article is ready to be shared with you.

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Close up detail of raised machine embrodiery

The article covers a little of the history of how Hawthorne & Heaney came to be as well as the sort of pieces we work on. Here are a few of the pictures from the article to give you a taste, follow the link to read the article in its entirety.

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Hawthorne & Heaney’s Director, Claire Barret at her drawing desk

Hawthorne & Heaney for Joshua Kane A/W 2017

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On Friday night, Hawthorne & Heaney were a few of the audience members to watch the the fashion show of Joshua Kane’s A/W 2017 collection. Held at the London Palladium, it was a grand affair with 2250 people eagerly watching as Kane wanted to be able to share the experience with his fans as well as the high fashion crowd. Therefore, tickets were available for anyone to buy, attend and enjoy.

Entitled, ‘Journey’ the brand did not disappoint with an amazing set of intricate lattice work depicting a early 20th century tube station, newly built and creating a social microcosm of it’s own as the classes mingle. On this we were introduced to the narative with a couple of models interacting briefly before the main body of the show got started.

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The shows itself was crisp, sharp and well polished as is only fitting for a Joshua Kane collection. Not only was this show unusual to be shared with the wider audience in this way, but was also Kane’s first show that was an equal split of mens and womenswear. The line up finished with the three looks which Hawthorne & Heaney produced embroidered pieces for, in the form of a horse head, with chess board, military and heraldic influences.

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Great to see some of my embroidery on the runway this evening @hawthorneheaney #joshuakanejourney #embroidery #lfw

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The show finished with a moving performance by the two models/dancers that we were introduced to at the start.

A beautiful presentation of tailoring from last nights fashion show #joshuakanejourney #ballet #suits

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As always it was lovely to be involved in an exciting project like this, particulally with such as beautiful outcome and was wonderful to see them on their debut in person. If you would like to seemore of the collection follow the link here. We are looking forward to what they produce for next season already!





Hawthorne & Heaney Internship Opportunities

Hawthorne & Heaney is currently looking for an embroidery intern to join us in 2017.

We are looking for a current undergraduate fashion/textiles/costume student to join us in the studio for a 3-6 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.

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