Custom Clothing - FAQ

Have a question about how we work? Here you will find the questions we are asked most often.

General Enquiries:

Q: Do you have any set-up fee?
Q: Do you have any minimum order quantities?
Q: What garments can you supply?
Q: What file format do you require to set up new designs?
Q: How much will our design cost to embroider?
Q: I would like to have a boat embroidered. What do you require?
Q: Do you have a price list for the garments in your catalogue?
Q: Can we supply our own garments for you to embroider?
Q: How long will our order take?
Q: We only need two or three garments; can we place our order a few days before we need them?
Q: Can we get samples of garments you have in stock?
Q: Can we get samples of garments you don’t keep in stock?
Q: Are any garments not suitable for embroidery?
Q: Where do embroideries normally go on garments?
Q: How can we pay for our order?
Q: Can you accept payments from each individual person getting clothing in our order?

Up Helly Aa enquiries

Q: Do you have any general tips for placing an Up Helly Aa merchandise / embroidered costume order?
Q: When do we need to have our squad order in by?
Q: What types of garments are usually offered as merchandise?
Q: Can we have our goods ready for our squad photos?
Q: How big can you embroider designs for banners?
Q: Do we have to provide material for Up Helly Aa banners?
Q: Can you sew up our Up Helly Aa banners for us after they are embroidered?
Q: Can squad members order garments after the main order has been put in / after Up Helly Aa?


General enquiries

Q: Do you have any set-up fee?
A: We have no set-up fee! You only pay for what embroideries and garments you receive.

Q: Do you have any minimum order quantities?
A: We have no minimum order quantity; however, we are able to process orders more efficiently if you can batch them into larger quantities – so you will wait less time per garment if you can submit an order with as many garments at once as you can.

Q: What garments can you supply?
A: We can supply a very wide range of garments to suit nearly every occasion. To view the selection available, feel free to collect a catalogue from us in-store, or you can view our online catalogue here.

Q: What file format do you require to set up new designs?
A: We prefer scaleable vector formats such as .pdf, .ai, .eps or .svg. However if this is not possible we accept pretty much all common image file formats. If you have multiple versions of the same design, send us everything you have and we will pick the most convenient one for us to use.

Q: How much will our design cost to embroider?
A: It is very difficult to predict how much a design will cost until we have digitised it, as we price each embroidery by how long the design takes to sew on our embroidery machines. This can vary a great deal depending on the scale of the embroidery, and the type of stitching we use to construct the embroidery. In general, things that tend to increase price are:

  • Big filled-in areas of colour
  • Long stitches due to very thick outlines or very large lettering (which the machine slows down to sew)
  • Long strings of text, especially when at a large size (such as on banners)
  • A large number of colours that the machine has to stop to swap between.

We also have to charge extra for some embroideries due to extra digitising and embroidering considerations. These include:

  • Own garments not supplied by us, including both “normal clothing” as well as kirtles, cloaks, princess dresses, etc. at Up Helly Aa time.
  • Banners, which are sewn in two halves to accommodate their large size.

Keep in mind that we test all designs for you and will show you samples before going ahead, and we can provide quotes for any of the embroideries after they have been digitised.

Q: I would like to have a boat embroidered. What do you require?
A: We do a lot of boats! If you are looking to get a boat embroidered, we have a few preferences for the image you provide:

  • We prefer photos of the port side of the boat – this is so that when we sew it on the left side of a garment the boat will appear to be sailing “inwards” towards the middle of the garment, rather than “outwards” off the edge.
  • We prefer photos taken at sea or away from piers. This is because when a boat is lying against a pier, thing like other boats’ masts, aerials, lampposts, etc., often appear behind the boat in question, and it can be very difficult for ourselves to know which pieces are or aren’t attached to the boat in question.
  • We prefer an original digital photograph. We sometimes have issues where printouts, or screenshots of an image reduce the quality making it harder to see the details we need to include.
  • This is more personal preference, but we think the best looking embroideries result from photos of the boat that are foreshortened slightly, rather than completely side-on.
  • If it is not obvious from the photograph you provide, please let us know the name and the number of the boat, or any other text you would like to include with the design.
  • If you would like us to match any particular style of writing or font (such as on a nameplate), provide pictures of this as well.

Q: Do you have a price list for the garments in your catalogue?
A: Not as such, no – the prices for our garments vary throughout the year, and there's a lot of garments available. If you require any prices, send us an email with a list of the garment codes you’d like prices for, and we will send you back a quote (including details of the cost of embroidery if we have digitised your design).

Q: Can we supply our own garments for you to embroider?
A: Yes, however there are a few disadvantages to this:

  • The garments in our catalogue have been selected for their suitability for embroidery. Many garments obtained elsewhere are impossible to fit embroidery frames into due to seams or inside pockets – we need to see each garment and confirm they are suitable on a case-by-case basis.
  • We have to charge double our normal price for embroidering onto your own garments, compared to ones we supply to make the service worthwhile.
  • If anything goes wrong with any embroidery that we apply to your garments (including, but not limited to: machine faults, incorrect embroideries applied, sewn through pockets, garments sewn shut, etc), we can’t replace garments or reimburse you for the garment that is damaged. Any embroidery onto your own garments are applied entirely at your own risk. While we take every care to avoid this happening, accidents do occur on occasion. Clothing supplied by us will be replaced free of charge in the event of such accidents.

Q: How long will our order take?
A: This is very difficult to predict, as our workload swings up and down depending on what events are approaching, and our job queue gets rearranged to meet as many deadlines as we reasonably can. If you have a deadline, let us know and we will make every effort to have it ready by then if we reasonably can. To avoid disappointment, please place your order as early as possible.

Q: We only need two or three garments; can we place our order a few days before we need them?
A: Please don’t – if everyone does this we get all our orders within the last week, and this makes our lives a lot more complicated! This becomes especially difficult if the logo has not been digitised before an order is placed. When we are able to do so, we can sometimes process orders in a short amount of time, however our ability to do this relies on the good will of our customers, so if you have an event that's been planned well in advance you have no excuse! To avoid disappointment, please order as early as possible.

Q: Can we get samples of garments you have in stock?
A: Yes, you are welcome to take out garments on loan to try for sizing for any of the items we keep in stock.

Q: Can we get samples of garments you don’t keep in stock?
A: We can order up single garments for you, however these are non-returnable, as we do not have the room to keep these extra garments in the shop, and our suppliers do not accept returns for non-faulty garments.

Q: Are any garments not suitable for embroidery?
A: Yes, namely ordinary t-shirts – these are often unsuitable to embroider as the type of material (known as cotton jersey) is very thin and our embroidery machines tend to put holes in them, so we don’t embroider onto these. Polo shirts made from a different fabric weave (called piqué) are a good alternative if you want an embroidered logo. If you’d particularly like t-shirts, we can apply vinyl transfers (in either single or multi-colour), or in many cases they can be printed using our direct-to-garment printer. For more information about these services, please get in touch with us.

Q: Where do embroideries normally go on garments?
A: The most common placement for an embroidered logo is on the left breast. We can however place embroideries anywhere it is possible to insert the embroidery frame, so the right breast, sleeves and many other placements are possible. For transfers we commonly do large designs across the front or the back of garments as well.

Q: How can we pay for our order?
A: You can pay at the LHD Shop counter by cash, card or cheque. Alternatively, if you have a credit account with LHD Marine Supplies, or with prior agreement we can send out an invoice to you – if you require an invoice please speak to our office on 01595 692882.

Q: Can you accept payments from each individual person getting clothing in our order?
A: Due to the high amount of administration involved we can only issue a single bill for an order, so you will have to organise the collection of payments from your team members for their individual goods.
However, if you are able to supply a list of which people have ordered which goods, we can give you a breakdown of each person’s amount to pay. We can also bag up each of your person's goods into individual bags to aid in giving out the items – let us know if you would like us to provide either of these services.

Up Helly Aa enquiries

Q: Do you have any general tips for placing an Up Helly Aa merchandise / embroidered costume order?
A: Yes we do:

  • If you are the Guizer Jarl, get somebody else to organise a merchandise clothing order. Being the Guizer Jarl is complicated enough as it is without having to deal with organising merchandise for the whole squad as well. We recommend that you delegate this job to someone who is organised and meticulous so they can deal with selecting the types and colours of garments to offer, collecting orders, chasing up late orders, collecting payments, etc.
  • We do not recommend offering the whole catalogue’s range of garments to squad members, as this makes collecting orders incredibly complicated with the huge variety of stock available. Instead, have someone produce a shortlist of items to pick from – 1 polo shirt, 1 hoodie, 1 jacket, etc., and then collect orders of these garments only.
  • When selecting colours of garments, please keep in mind the colours in the design. For example, if your logo is entirely silver, grey garments will not allow the logo to show up very well.
  • If your design has a textured finish when done in other mediums (for example, scales on dragons in metalwork), please let us know, as in some cases we can apply patterns to sections of the embroidery to give them an extra dimension of intricacy. Because we only see whatever the squad shows us, we often end up seeing other items on Up Helly Aa day and think, “If only we’d known we could have done that better!”

Q: When do we need to have our squad order in by?
A: For banners, cloaks, kirtles or dresses, we’d need to hear from you:

  • by September for Lerwick
  • two months prior for all other Up Helly Aas.

For merchandise or other clothing from our catalogue, we need to have a complete order:

  • before Christmas for Lerwick
  • at least 3 weeks before all other Up Helly Aas.

This allows time for the gathering of enough orders from our customers to have goods sent up from our suppliers, the arrangement of alternate garments if anything happens to be out of stock / unsuitable, and allows a chance for people who missed the order deadline to have time to get garments before the day (we can’t guarantee this, but extra time helps).
The Up Helly Aa season is a particularly busy time for us, so to avoid disappointment, please place your order as early as possible.

Q: What types of garments are usually offered as merchandise?
A: The most common types of garments offered to squad members are polo shirts, hoodies, fleeces, softshell jackets and cuffed beanies (aka "toorie keps"). Dress shirts, sweatshirts and knitwear are also often selected for musicians, bus drivers and photographers. This is not to say that other garments aren’t perfectly suitable for embroidery, these just tend to be the most popular.

Q: Can we have our goods ready for our squad photos?
A: As long as you come in in plenty of time, that shouldn’t be a problem – let us know when your photos are and we will try our best to accommodate.

Q: How big can you embroider designs for banners?
A: The maximum embroidery area for banners is 350x350mm. Using the sophisticated technology of our embroidery machines we are able to sew the design in two halves and match the design up in the middle almost stitch-perfect. The piece of fabric you provide must be larger than this to be able to fit our embroidery frame into - please come in and talk to us before providing the material.

Embroideries larger than this are in some cases possible for designs composed of multiple separate pieces, but we don’t recommend this – banners tend to catch the wind, and the larger they are made the harder they are to walk with in poor weather.

Q: Do we have to provide material for Up Helly Aa banners?
A: Not necessarily – we keep a small selection of colours of cotton badge twill and felt which can be used for making banners, although we think that it often looks best if your banners match the materials used in your suits. We recommend you have a look at what we have in person to make sure the colours are suitable for you.

Q: Can you sew up our Up Helly Aa banners for us after they are embroidered?
A: No, we do not have the equipment needed to do so. You must source someone else to sew your banners for you.

Q: Can squad members order garments after the main order has been put in / after Up Helly Aa?
A: Yes. Our normal procedure is to get the squad to organise and combine individual orders before Up Helly Aa day, and then afterwards individual orders can be placed with us directly.