These stunning designs were embroidered by LHD Custom Clothing in Lerwick, Shetland, for its local Lerwick Up Helly Aa festival and Scalloway Fire Festival 2024

“There are 12 major fire festivals which take place in Shetland between the beginning of January and the middle of March,” explained Julie Dennison, embroiderer at LHD Custom Clothing, which is a department of LHD Marine Supplies Ltd. “Other than the Scalloway Fire Festival, each event is known as Up Helly Aa, for example, Lerwick Up Helly Aa. 

“Each festival is inspired by Shetland’s Viking heritage, and also celebrates the return of the lighter months.

“During each festival a group of Vikings, known as the Jarl’s Squad, parade around their local area, visiting halls, schools and care homes throughout the morning, and once darkness falls, then it’s time for the procession!”

Each festival is inspired by Shetland’s Viking heritage

Each festival is inspired by Shetland’s Viking heritage

Local graphic design company Artmachine created the design for Scalloway Fire Festival. It was initially created for the Jarl’s Squad shields, which translated nicely into embroidery for banners and merchandise, added Julie. 

“We embroidered five jackets and shirts for the Jarl’s Squad musicians, as well as 30 polos for the Squad to have as personal merchandise and a memento of the event. 

“The banners were sewn onto fabric provided by the Squad, which was the same as was used for the Jarl’s Squad’s kirtles.

Julie continued: “The designs for Lerwick Up Helly Aa were created by local artist Dirk Robertson, and refer back to past Up Helly Aa festivals and local folklore. 

All the designs were digitised in-house by LHD Custom Clothing using Wilcom EmbroideryStudio e3

All the designs were digitised in-house using Wilcom EmbroideryStudio e3

LHD Custom Clothing embroidered Pro RTX’s Pro Polos

LHD embroidered Pro RTX’s Pro Polos

“We undertook a lot of embroidery work onto pieces of fabric provided by the Squad, which once embroidered were turned into sleeves and panels for their kirtles this was about 82 panel embroideries and 142 sleeve embroideries. 

“We also provided them with two very large banners, and for their musicians and videographer, we provided 14 jackets and supplied embroidery services for nine shirts.

“Lerwick UHA’s banners were even more complex the total embroidery dimensions were 338mm x 630mm, and it took five hours and 19 minutes to embroider each complete banner!” 

All the designs were digitised in-house using Wilcom EmbroideryStudio e3, and then embroidered using LHD Custom Clothing’s Brother PR1000Es and PR1050X embroidery machines, plus Gunold Sulky 40 Rayon threads supplied by GS UK.

The designs were embroidered onto jackets from Regatta Professional and Result Clothing

The designs were embroidered onto jackets from Regatta Professional and Result Clothing

LHD used its Brother PR1000Es and PR1050X embroidery machines

LHD used its Brother PR1000Es and PR1050X embroidery machines

For the Scalloway Jarl’s Squad musicians, the company embroidered Castle Clothing’s Selkirk Softshell Jacket (204) in black and Pro RTX’s Pro Polo (RX101) in charcoal, while for the Lerwick Jarl’s Squad musicians, they embroidered Regatta Professional’s Navigate Hybrid Jacket (RG446) in navy/seal grey, as well as Result Clothing’s Urban Ladies Ice Bird Padded Jacket (RS192F) in navy for their videographer. 

PenCarrie supplied all of the garments except for the Castle Clothing jackets, which were supplied directly from the brand.

“It’s always very exciting to lift the embargo on these projects after keeping them a secret for weeks, or even months, added Julie. 

“Our work has gone down very well in the community, and we’ve had a lot of positive comments on what we’ve done. 

“As the biggest festival of the season, Lerwick Up Helly Aa is heavily promoted on social media and in the news, so seeing the finished products we had a hand in creating on the TV or in newspapers feels very rewarding!”

www.lhdlimited.co.uk