Family owned Fabric and buttons wholesaler.
*15m only apply for fabric exiting in UK warehouse, otherwise 60m MOQ applies.
written by Marie Lawlor of @marie_stitchedup
Linen has had a makeover!
Finally, the thermometer is breaching 20c in the UK and we can really break the seal on the summer wardrobe! It feels extra special this year, as many of us are returning to offices, and seeing people in person for the first time in a long while.
As well as the lure of restaurants opening, I am imagining some summer BBQs followed by lazy evenings around a fire pit. What could be better?!
For the ultimate summer comfort and style, you don’t have to look much further than linen as your fabric choice. I generally prefer a blend to make it slightly more drapey, but a new to me blend is Tencel-Linen. Can you think of a better partnership?
This specific blend from Pigeon Wishes is 70% Lenzing Tencel and 30% Linen. If you have sewn with and worn Lenzing Tencel, you will know that it has a gorgeous fluid movement and a cool hand. But, this has so much more going for than superficial good looks and a cool touch!
Sewing something in this blend will provide you with a durable garment, suitable for many occasions. Most of us do not live a hand wash or dry clean lifestyle, and this fabric has a lower dust absorption as well as a higher abrasion resistance; so you don’t have to keep your me mades for best. The strength and durability of linen/tencel will withstand some rough and tumble.
Linen creates an excellent UV protection while the the blend will offer superior temperature regulation, so you can cover up without heating up. This will make an excellent choice for making children and baby clothes, to protect their delicate skin.
By Hand London Hannah wrap dress/top sizes UK 6-24 and 16-34 (up to a 63.25” hip).
Tencel/Linen offers great versatility in terms of garment choice. It will press and hold pleats well, and give volume to gathers without being too bulky. It has enough weight to to be used as trousers, skirts and jumpsuits as well as tops and dresses.
There are some lovely colours available, with more to be added soon! Sometimes it is hard to resist the lure of all the new printed fabrics on offer. However, I have been sewing a lot more in plain fabrics recently. Having some plain options in your wardrobe makes choosing daily outfits and packing for weekends away so much easier.
Here are some patterns we think would provide the perfect base to show this beautiful fabric at its best, giving you the ultimate summer wardrobe.
Sewhouse seven Free range slacks UK 6-22 and 20-38 (up to 65” hip)
Halfmoon Atelier Strand Dress and top UK 6-38 (up to 67” hip)
Friday Pattern Company Hughes Dress XS-7X (up to 63”)
I can’t wait to get my hands on some and try it for myself. Pigeon Wishes Shops is a wholesale fabric supplier, here is a list of their Tencel Linen stockists
by Anna Kaminska of Anna Tries to Sew
Like all good love stories, this one started with the details… I have been obsessed with Meg’s buttons from the moment they became available for sale. I am pretty sure that I have snatched some in every single button drop and I always have a very hard time restraining myself. And this whole story started with Meg’s buttons too.
I had this vague idea that it would be cool to make a trench coat – a challenging make to push me out of my comfort zone. I had been looking for a trench in the shops, but nothing really spoke to me as even the pricier ones (around £200) were not flawless. Then one day in October, as I was scrolling on Instagram to procrastinate from work, I came across some Pigeon Wishes buttons again and I just KNEW that I needed to make a trench coat with Meg’s buttons. That started a flurry of looking through patterns online and looking for the perfect one that is worth the effort. Finally, I reached out to Meg to ask if she had some similar buttons in 2 different sizes (large and medium) as that’s what the pattern asked. Alas, she did not have the Ocean Leopard buttons (my all-time faves!), but she offered to show me some other ones. When she showed me these – I just fell in love! (Side note: I mean, I fall in love with all those buttons… but these were just so perfect). I love that they are transparent in some places, I love the irregular shape which reminds me of pebbles at the Stonehaven beach and the colour is just gorgeous. Before I even got the chance to ask how I could get them (they weren’t on sale yet), Meg offered to send them to me. I was over the moon and the crazy planning commenced!
First of all, I knew that I wanted a semi-classic trench. I wanted all the details of a classic trench (the cape, the neck fastening, double breasted, belted…) but I also wanted some drama. Named Patterns Isla trench brings just that with its extra length and beautiful construction details. I ended up ordering some cotton twill from the New Craft House and viscose twill lining from Selvedge and Bolts (by the way, the name of the lining fabric is ‘As I Mentioned Earlier, I Am Luxurious’ and, oh my god, that’s such an accurate name!). When both fabrics and the buttons arrived, I actually squealed from excitement – I was just so happy with how all the materials went together. I quickly pre-washed the fabrics, printed and assembled the PDF pattern (lol, almost 100 pages…), I even cut the pieces out! …and then life kicked in… Whoever works in academia will know that November and December are just marking, marking, marking.
I finally had the time to get started with sewing at the end of January. Slowly, over 2 weeks or so, I put together the Isla trench coat. Sewing it was such a pleasant experience. I did not use to be the biggest fan of involved projects, but lately I’ve been really craving the escape of sewing, and Isla did just that for me. Most of the seams were overlocked, sewn, pressed, then top-stitched twice. So, you can imagine how long each seam actually took. But I really enjoyed the process. I enjoyed seeing the pile of pattern pieces become smaller, and the ‘amount of trench coat’ on the hanger becoming more substantial at the end of each day. The most difficult part for me to sew was the vent. It was only my second one, and the first lined one. I think I had to rip the stitches 4 times before I finally decided that it will be good enough and no one actually cares about it apart from me. As usual, it turns out that I don’t care either, it’s not like I can see the inside of my vent when I’m wearing it…
When it finally came time to sew on the buttons, I decided that these ones deserved to be sewn on by hand (yes, all 16 of them…). It was the only fitting way to end such a lovely project. It was my first time creating a thread shank, but I think it went well as the instructions in the pattern were great.
It’s now been 2 months since I made the trench coat and I’ve worn it lots. It’s the perfect piece for my spring wardrobe (and to be honest all year round in Scotland…). As the second semester is winding down (marking hell again!), I have finally had time to write about it. I can honestly say that I could not be happier with how this trench came out. It all started and ended with these stunning buttons. They really make me smile every time I wear the trench. I think it’s so cool that they are lighter than the fabric and that you can see the rusty brown colour peeking through. And even if I move away from Aberdeen someday, these buttons will always remind me of pebbles on the Stonehaven beach, bringing back beautiful memories.
Tomorrow is #PigeonPinkRedParty Day!
Are you desperately by your sewing machine stitching those last seams? That would usually be me before a sewing event! I was almost, completely last minute, gonna sew together a whole new outfit for the party and then I realised stress sewing never ends well for me! To reiterate, you do not need to sew a new garment for the party, though I am absolutely loving seeing people inspired to make for the theme! Your outfit can be an old make or not me-made at all.
Galentines Day is all about treasuring the present moment and the little things. Like how wearing colours can change your mood, how great it feels like to get dressed in clothes you love, having an excuse to wear lipstick, putting some time aside for self care and ultimately how awesome online communities can be.
Post a picture of yourself wearing pink and red on 13th Feburary AKA Galentines day (in your time zone). Those don’t need to be the only colours you’re wearing, we love discovering new colour combinations……….and that’s it.
Winners are chosen at random so don’t stress about the photo. Concentrate on having a good day with a bit of online fun.
The only rule is there should be no desperate stitching party day!! Relaxed sewing (if sewing is on the days plan) is however endorsed.
And now onto the sponsors…….
Sew Me Sunshine is full of joyful fabrics, haberdashery items and accessories. Harriet personally selects all the fabric she sells and she alway manages to find fabric that makes you feel happy and treasures from indie businesses. Learn a bit more about Harriet on the New Craft House Podcast
Harriet runs her fabric shop from London and once it’s possible open days to browse in person have been confirmed.
In the Haystack is a digital subscription pack, every month you’ll receive one indie PDF, discounts and articles with tips and tricks. Soon you will be able to choose between a menswear or womenswear pack. I love how Kate champions small business and makes emails exciting again. It’s like a ‘You’ve Got Mail’ moment but for sewing.
Following Kate’s personal sewing and linen making journey are inspirational. Kate is literally growing flax to then process and weave into linen fabric. Mind blown.
New Craft House save fabric from landfills and bring it to us home sewists. Hannah and Rosie are truly doing the lords work! They have a wonderful array of locally sourced designer fabric, including a special Valentines drop launched yesterday! When circumstances allow, they also run some of the most exciting sewing workshops.
Check out their podcast to know more about them and hear some wonderful guests (including moi)
Pink Coat Club is a slice of accessory goodness for every sewist. Joy creates amazing pins, labels, and fills the spot when you need something special for a sewist friend/partner……or yourself!
I really loved hearing how Joy started her business and a bit more about her on Uncut Podcast.
Stitch Crafts UK is a little treasure trove of beautiful sewing machine covers. Natalie is such a has a variety of fabric and pattern kits, liberty buttons and gift boxes. Natalie’s picks the most amazing fabric and she definitely has my sewing machine longing for a nice home!
As soon as Sew Dainty launched I was pretty much in love with everything. Kathy created jewellery perfect for every maker. All her pieces are delicate and fun. As an incredibly talented maker herself all Kathy’s jewellery is very much from the point of view of a maker.
I keep eyeing up her PDF cross stitch patterns, not that I know how to cross stitch! Her designs however might make me learn.
Ethel and Joan creator Louise, who you might know as one third of the Pattern Pals or you might have spotted Louise from her time working at Sew Over It. Louis now works a non sewing related job but she’s still whipping up gorgeous creations and hand casting beautiful buttons and buckles for us sewists.
Louise is a fantastic maker, boss babe and print lover.
Specky seamstress is a fairly new sewing business but thanks to Laura I might never need to make bias binding ever again! (One of my top hated sewing tasks for sure) Laura will be releasing some faux leather patches for jeans in March and I can’t wait to see what other products she’ll comes up with!
Keep up with Laura and all her makes on her Youtube channel, which I love and have been a long time viewer of.
Run by Elisalex, By Hand London is THE pattern company to go to for a party dress. I love just how fun, glamorous and beautiful all the patterns they put out are. Always sewing something that inspires Elisalex personal instagram account is a much follow! We see get sneak peeks into future BHL patterns and of course drool over all the her makes.
Alice and her daughter Lilia have created an exciting and distinctive pattern company based on Alice’s style, love of travel and comfort. Alice and Co patterns are pretty dreamy combination of great silhouettes with a comfortable twist. They’ve fully embraced zoom life and have some amazing classes available from pattern drafting to style sessions.
They have two free patterns inspired by Mary Quant available on the V&A website.
Sew sustainability enamel pins are an excellent reminder of why we make and the power of repair. Vicky is an immensely talented maker and her maker philosophy is something that really resonates with me.
Browse through all her incredible makes on her Blog and Instagram, I’m just wishing for the day I’m half as good at knitting as her.
Sew Essential is my go to shop for all sewing accessories and sewing machine feet, along with their gorgeous fabrics they really stock everything you’ld need to kick your sewing up a gear. Sew essential is a family business and whilst you might all be familiar with Lucy she works along her husband and mother-in-law.
Lucy runs their youtube channel and it’s a must watch. So much advice and so many amazing makes.
Like Sew Amazing is a brick and mortar shop in Bristol and while the pandemic means the doors have temporarily shut, not only can you browse their beautiful fabric, haberdashery and accessories. Sarah always stocks striking, bold and fun fabrics. She also is a bit of a superwoman as she manages to find sewing time whilst running her business.
Stuck on a project? Sarah is running a sewing clinic and will be ready to give help if it’s every needed! Perfect.
Cocowawa patterns always have a whimsy, level of comfort and a lovely detail that makes them special. I love how she mixes playful dressing with practicality and how defined she is in her personal style. Seeing Ana embrace colour and creativity is inspiring and she always makes me smile and think.
Ana has a youtube channel where she does sew alongs to her sewing patterns, tells you about her plans and makes AND you also get to see how beautifully she’s decorated her home.
Now it’s on to me! Hello! My name is Megan and I run Pigeon Wishes Shops with my husband (also our toddler! He’s almost an expert at putting stamps onto things!) We are a fabric wholesale business and button suppliers. We source modern deadstock fabric, sustainable fibres and beautiful buttons.
You can find our buttons in a few fabric shops and directly on our Etsy shop.
And that’s it! A massive thank you to all our sponsors and may the odds, be ever in your favour.
Happy night before Galentines,
It’s coming up to the most emotionally confusing day of the year!
I personally never quite knew what to do with myself on valentines day. Whether single or in a relationship. When I was in a relationship going to a busy, overcrowded restaurant (actually seems like a dream after lockdown) didn’t appeal. When I was single the excuse to eat chocolate was nice but not anything special as I have a sweet tooth. Either way the day felt like a hyped up let down!
The only aspect I could fully get behind was the colour scheme forced onto us. The colours ushered in the hope of spring and the promise of colour to come. Our new button collection available on Etsy is, of course, very much inspired by valentines day. Each button has a little personality and giving them an introduction only feels right.
These buttons would be on ‘Brina Spellman’s cardigan and if Morticia Addams was ever to need a non black button I suspect these would be the ones to appeal. They have a slight gothic undertone and would add a lovely, subtle interest to anything they were paired with.
These buttons have such a beautiful shape and a real sense of texture. Terrazzo has become increasingly popular and these buttons have the same effect. Larger and more of a statement these buttons would be perfect with the new pattern by True Bias, the Marlo Sweater.
I absolutely love how these buttons have an inner sparkle and seem to have a slight magic. They are elegant and interesting which is always a beautiful combination. They remind me of Rose Quartz, the stone of love which is how they got their name.
These buttons are so cheerful and it does look like cherries exploded! Pink and a bit punk is the vibe. These buttons will add a dash of energy to anything they are put on and have proven to be the most popular of the collection since released.
My homage to Molly Ringwald. Molly was the girl to make pink edgy and this button does have a bit of a simple edge. The unusual shaping, lighter pink and the silver glitter also give a nod to the 90’s, think early Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera days. Pink is a colour coming back without the overbearing subtext of softness and femininity and it’s great to see.
And that’s the Think Pink Collection.
We have some other newcomers to the button shop but these five seem the most appropriate to introduce first. For our seasonal collection releases the buttons won’t be replaced when they sell out.
We loved creating this range for you and the reception so far has been amazing! Thank you so much and we can’t wait to see how you use them!
I found it really difficult to title this blog post. Never has there been a time when so many marginalised voices can be heard. It’s empowering and it’s amazing.
I’ve put together a little list of must watch videos which go deeper into racism, the black experience and Brexit. These creators are talented, funny and engaging. Black Lives Matter content should take up space on your YouTube feed, if it doesn’t this should get you started.
Bhad Bhabie, Bhlack Bhabie
I chose this video of his because……blackfishing. If you’ve never heard of blackfishing, this video will enlighten you.
Amanda Mary Anna
The Awkward/Quirky Black Girl
Black women as shown by mainstream media *sigh* I feel super lucky I grew up at a time when Moesha was running. Unpacking the Hollywood trope black female character. Once you see it, you can never unsee it.
Watch ‘I May Destroy You’ from Michaela Coel (available on bbc iplayer) and appreciate her even more for creating what she does.
WAP and the Spectacle of Sexual Liberation
Kim, and her content, is actually the place I learnt about intersectional feminism. Before watching her videos, in 2017, I never considered myself a feminist. Some people might find that shocking but it’s hard to connect with feminism when the majority of issues black women face have historically and consistently been erased or ignored by the feminist movement.
Kim really focuses on the nuance of being a black woman whilst involving social media, pop culture and trashy tv. A big yes to all of it.
Why I’m leaving Boston.
Watching Kelly Stamps being Kelly Stamps is an education and I am fully enrolled. This video is especially important because when you are black; before you go on holiday, decide where you live, just before you think about existing somewhere you have to google ‘is (insert place) racist?’
Sometimes you experience that hard yes yourself and it’s refreshing to have it told so well.
Go Back to Where you Come From | Creators for Change
Leena Norms. Finding her Channel was a highlight of 2020. The only Brit on the list. There are few people that can express my level of frustration with the UK currently. She is one of them. Leena is a masterclass of how to talk about race, as a white person, on the internet.
So I think I’ve given you enough for today.
All the channels I’ve recommended are amazing, loads of content to get lost in! Go forth. Youtube will get us through this lockdown collectively.
Let me know what you think, have you heard of all these creators before? Would a part 2 be of interest? Open to feedback.
Happy Youtube and stitching,
You are cordially invited to the Pink and Red party.
Apply that red lipstick (….or pink if you so desire) dust off those shoes you can’t walk in (so they usually come off halfway through the night) and don your bestest pink and red regalia!
For, on February 13th, otherwise known as Galentines day, we shall stay at home but still feel ridiculously fabulous!!!
The dress code
As an at home event there isn’t one. The theme is pink and red, as long as those two colours are involved, you’re all good!
Those don’t have to be the only colours you dress in, I would personally love to see colour combinations I wouldn’t have thought of. I love pink, red and green myself.
I have a pinterest board for inspiration here which I will be adding to. I also plan to release some inspirational blog posts in the run up to the day.
How do we party?
So this is an instagram based party. Everyone and anybody on instagram can join.
As I write this, in the UK, we are still in the midst of a lockdown so this is the excuse you need to spend a day anyway you want following those rules. Netflix and knit. A sewing day. M&S Pink gin and a 80’s movie. A long walk with the family and then some baking. The choice is yours. Just, pink and red being involved is the only mandatory requirement.
This is all about living joyfully, in colours that reflect that.
Upload a photo of yourself, add the hashtag #pigeonpinkredparty and join in!
Post a picture of you living your best pink and red life on February the 13th. Simples.
This event really is for fun and I don’t want to get too caught up in prizes…….but that being said PRIZES!
I’m keeping this as informal as possible. As a proud member of the snail seamstress society I emphasize that you do not need to make a new garment for this party. I myself will be wearing something I made about 3 years ago and to last years New Craft House Valentines day party. Me-made is preferable but being involved is even better.
Prizes will be randomly selected. Winners will be drawn and informed on the 15th february.
Prizes will be revealed in the run up to the party. I am still in the process of reaching out to businesses but if anyone wants to contact me to be involved please do!
As your host and as someone who is grateful to be part of this instagram community I hope this is something that lifts spirits.
I would love for as many people as possible who would like this to be involved so spreading the word is appreciated.
Well then, see you there dah-ling,
So much has happened this year! It almost feels like five years in one! Sitting down to reflect and acknowledge the wins and the struggles is always the best way to end the year. We ultimately hope 2021 has less suprises!! but 2020 has definitely been a year that has shaped us.
Pink and Red Forever
We started the year with a hit sellout fabric ‘Galentines’ it was the first time the business experienced anything like it. I showed a sneak peek on instagram and my DM’s were inundated! Literally selling out in minutes when our retailers put in on their website! It remains the biggest highlight of the year and I am so happy that not only was it well received but it also didn’t stick around in stashes for long.
Used as a By Hand London sample for their Jessica Skirt
Featuring in Sewdoitemma top 9 of 2020, twice!!!
As a deadstock fabric we could only get our hands on an extremely limited amount and we know people missed out. We love sourcing fabric and the thrill of selecting something unique and popular is literally the dream. We’ve had more fabric successes this year but this one certainly tops the list!
We have a few more pink and red fabrics in store for next year and available for wholesale as this colour combo seems to have captured hearts. Here’s a not so sneaky peek to an event we have planned.
Candy Pink Tencel Twill available for wholesale at Pigeonwishes Shop
Floral Painting available at Sew me Sunshine
Pink Splatters on Red available at Hey Sew Sister
As you can see I’m partial to a red, pink and green combo but am excited to experiment with colours more in 2021.
Pigeon Wishes Buttons
This year we launched a product under our brand. I still feel strange referring to my business as a brand!
I’ve gone into more detail about how we first started sourcing our buttons here. Now we are more confident about sales we are working with manufacturers to have buttons especially made for us. It’s a massive accomplishment from test selling to having a wonderful customer base. I’m still pinching myself.
A button launch which has a special place in my heart was our halloween collection. In September after quarantining for so long we desperately needed a break! We took a family holiday to North Wales and it was witchcore galore! It was magical, I felt magical and I fully went into Autumn and Halloween needing to celebrate it in all its glory. Now having themed releases is something I’m excited to brainstorm and unveil.
Our buttons are still a new and slightly unplanned part of our business. We are firming up plans for next year and we are excited! The reception to our buttons has been all round amazing and we are excited to see them out in the wild, stocked in shops and on makes more and more.
Moving to Liverpool
Expanding our business and just thinking about our lives and finances we realised we just couldn’t afford to stay in London. The house prices, the rent for a decent studio, childcare. We had been living with my mum and that was the only way we could afford to save and start this business. To be independent and live the life we wanted London just wasn’t an option. My best friend lives in Liverpool and I’ve been to the city numerous times and loved the vibe, spirit and cultural history.
It was absolutely the right move and I now consider Liverpool my home. I was born and grew up in London and whilst the diversity and impossible energy is something I do miss, ultimately it’s something I can give up for a chance of owning a house and feeling more at peace. Having a proper studio aka not one of a second floor abandoned building awaiting gentrification is a revolution! I will never be grateful enough to say goodbye to hauling fabric up a narrow staircase!!!
It’s not all been fantastic. The only nursery I am happy with only opens on a part time basis so I can only work part time. Being so far away from my mum (my only family in the UK) and juggling a toddler hasn’t been ideal but I treasure having a job which can allow such flexibility.
Pigeon Wishes Prints
This has been a project that has quietly been burning away in the background. In an effort to keep ahead of trends and be inspired I followed the #textiledesign hashtag on instagram. What I found was a wealth of inspirational, wonderful, textiles designers.
Despite all my years of sewing I’ve never fully questioned who’s behind the designs of our favourite prints. Following and seeing the talent and wonderful artists made me want to be apart of bringing that to the sewing world and showcasing the artists that are such a massive part of the textile and fashion industry.
We worked with Elizabeth all the way back in June and (fingers crossed everything goes to plan) we will be releasing our fabric with her designs in a few months. Elizabeth is amazingly talented, was completely wonderful to work with and I cannot wait to finally get our fabric out into the world!
The C word
Couldn’t not involve coronavirus! We got hit HARD by the virus. We source fabric from China and while the UK was still blissfully unaffected everything in our business came to a standstill. We couldn’t receive the stock we had already bought, search for anything new or plan for the year ahead.
Our business halted for around 6 months. Thankfully we had enough stock to still make sales but we were just surviving and just about covering the rent for our studio. Nothing more. When China had finally opened the UK was fully in the grips of the virus and shipping was a nightmare. When Olimi’s nursery shut down I struggled.
We got fully back into the swing of things in September. In that time we’ve added more wonderful shops to our list of regular customers and worked on the infrastructure of the business and worked with a business mentor (something I wish we had done much sooner!) which has all helped us grow as a business.
…… and the B word
Oh, Brexit. Who actually thought this was going to end well? While Brexit minimally affects my business for now, it’s sad to note that finding EU stockists might be harder now. I really do mourn all the opportunities lost for young people, other businesses and everyone who voted against brexit.
During the start of the year I did a one off episode with Pattern Pals. Which forced me in the best possible way to get behind my sewing machine! I love their channel and it was an honour. After that my sewjo then returned to being dismally low and while I’ve been surrounded by fabric, time has been elusive. When Olimi is asleep I just sit on the sofa and knit…..possibly with a glass of wine or gin within reach.
Knitting has definitely been my craft of choice this year and I’ve completed 4 sweaters!! Considering one of those sweaters was my first project and it took me a grand total of 3 years to complete you can see my knitting output has increased dramatically!
My only real regret is how little I’m documenting my makes and progress. Not only for social media but having a diary of my makes and ananylsing the results is the whole reason I started a blog. This year while I can’t promise myself to make more! lol I do want to really focus on sharing and reviewing what I’m creating and the inspiration behind it.
Ultimately it has been our stockists and their customers and our Etsy shop customers who’ve allowed us to continue with our little biz.
We have big dreams, not quite world domination but inspiring makers, sourcing amazing deadstock, supporting small businesses and cultivating creativity has always been our vision. We want to extend a big thank you to everyone who’s been a part of that! THANK YOU!
My intention for this blog post is not to harass any individual, person, business. This is my own subjective experience.
For context in 2016 a Christmas Linden swap was organised. You joined and two people would swap a Linden sweatshirt they had sewed for each other. My swap partner was Ali who went by the name Daisy at the time.
My Linden was badly sewn. I can acknowledge that. I should have dropped out of the swap, I was in an incredibly bad place mentally (I will explain) but I really didn’t want to disappoint the organiser or my swap partner by dropping out.
I sent my Linden because I thought making a new friend was just as much part of the swap as getting a new sweatshirt. Here is our only communication with each other.
This was the last message
I don’t know when she posted her publicly shaming and cruel instagram post about the garment and essentially about me. She never mentioned our DMs. While I don’t have a picture of the actual post, I do have what a friend wrote as a reply.
(…This person I’m sure the more savvy could figure out who it might be”
The post was anonymous and I wasn’t named but the first comment I read under was from a popular sewist who clearly knew it was me and said some pretty disparaging things. The comments were just coming in from people I respected. People I wanted to like and include me.
People were rapidly unfollowing me, every other instagram was referring to the badly sewn swap gift and I just felt the most intense shame.This wasn’t a small account. This was a member of the sewing community with a reputation for being kind.
I stayed quiet. Some things I felt were done deliberately to inflict more damage to me. She said I didn’t include a card. I did. I especially handmade a card. I felt she was encouraging negative comments and promoting herself as a victim. Plus she had never mentioned our communication.
Then she posted this.
(cocowawa and gingerthreadgrl are my friends and they never would have liked this if they had they been privy to our DMs or known it was me)
I just didn’t know what more was enough. This was just punitive now and I couldn’t see it ending. Even if I had sent something else. I could just see this going on and on with people never knowing I had been making steps from the very beginning to make things right rather than being shamed into it.
It was wrong/unorganised of me to leave making the swap gift to the last month but I honestly had no idea I would struggle so badly.
I sent these messages to a DM group who were supporting me through this.
I had a prolonged period of emotional abuse from someone. I was taunted and intimidated so much I would have panic attacks. It finally accelerated into a physical assault big enough to result in a dislocated shoulder.
This might not seem like such a big injury however I’m naturally very flexible and a dislocation is really bad for people who are. My right shoulder ligament was badly damaged and would be permanently damaged without surgery. It took it getting bad enough for me to have daily spontaneous dislocations for an operation to be organised by the NHS. I spent a year in chronic pain before the operation and recovery took 8 months.
When that person barged into my house, angry, when I was alone. I was completely terrified. During this time I was supposed to be making the Linden but I was afraid of leaving the house, I couldn’t concentrate, I was distressed. This was affecting my real life in a very real way but something I wasn’t sharing online.
I don’t think I needed to go into this much detail of my personal life to pacify a disappointed swap partner but Ali seemed to delight in the Linden swap situation and I felt my only option was a post my side of the story.
The other person hurt by this was the organiser of the Linden swap. Victoria, who is also black. Who I’m sure put a lot of time and energy into organising this and who was not responsible for me at all. I got this message.
The sewing scene in the UK is predominantly white and in 2016 it was even more so. Someone putting so much energy into making two, of the few, black members of the sewing community feel so bad and sorry for things done with no ill intentions felt devastating.
I believe what happened was insidious racism. I cannot find another reason for the lack of understanding and dishonesty.
I never heard from Ali (then known as Daisy) again. She changed the name she was going by. Moved to a new instagram account and continued to engage with the sewing community. No explanation. No accountability. Nothing. I chose to ignore her presence and take down everything online relating to what happened as I felt very uncomfortable with it being public.
I didn’t mention race in that first blog post, it was about bullying. I do believe it was racially motivated but I had never met this person before, I wasn’t going to ‘make this about race’. My goal of that blog post was to stop what I thought was bullying.
I HAVE NO DIRECT PROOF THAT ALI IS RACIST. I just have my own lived experience and hearsay/gossip from someone who doesn’t want to be named.
I wanted answers from a business that promoted themselves as pro Black Lives Matter and an anti racist advocate.
Nicole was around to read my original blog post and she remembers it clearly. Her assessment of what happened was “I was aware of much hurt and distress on both sides. I was not aware of any bullying by Ali.”
I find the things they have written and implied about me on their Instagram hurtful and harmful to anyone who has experienced trauma. I find it awful that I will forever have to keep ‘evidence’ of one of the worst times in my life and that I have to justify my feelings.
I have not and never asked for Ali to be fired, I wanted an Instagram post taken down which expressed that strong ethics and moral superiority could be associated with her. In my very short interaction with her I did not find that to be the case. Perhaps now though I would like her to acknowledge the hurt she caused and some commitment to change, possibly through a diversity training course. I would also want a shop that has no real commitment to Inclusion and Anti Racism to stop promoting themselves as such.
The has taken a huge hit on me emotionally and is bringing up some really painful feelings. Having to find legal help has not been something I would ever want.
I need to reiterate that not having direct proof does not mean trauma has not happened, so much trauma happens behind closed doors with only a persons word as proof. One incident shouldn’t be allowed to grow into multiple incidents.
Two of the biggest factors of people not speaking out is shame and the fear of not being believed.
This was part of my instagram post announcing my first blog post.I don’t have the full text
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE BUSINESS OR ANY INDIVIDUAL YOURSELF.
Let’s talk buttons! Maybe not the first thing on the list to get excited about when planning a project! Yet here at Pigeon HQ we’re hoping to change that and make choosing the right buttons just as exciting as choosing the right fabric!
We have once again relaunched our Etsy shop to sell directly to customers our collection of buttons, The Speckled Collection. You will see a certain familiarity in each button as certain colours and textures run through each button, they reflect the beauty of unpredictability and texture. I love how sewists are moving towards bold, solid fabrics and these buttons were sourced to compliment that.
The conception of all this came from Ana (cocowawa) a truly inspirational maker and pattern designer and even more specifically her pattern the Maple dress. I bought this pattern as soon as it came out, I had seen Ana wearing a sample a few weeks before and fell in love! The only cause to pause…..buttons. The pattern requires four prominent front closure buttons and while a million fabric ideas rolled through my head the lack of buttons to compliment was disappointing!
Amidst this I was starting a Fabric Wholesale business and while sourcing fabrics I couldn’t help but to look out for buttons, purely for myself and this pattern. The buttons I ended up finding were beautiful and the more I sourced, the more I wanted to make all I found available to everyone!
While setting up my wholesale business everything button related was put on hold. Being a wholesaler I was a bit conflicted/unsure of how to sell the buttons, it wasn’t viable to make them a wholesale product in the beginning, a bit of time (and brainstorming) was a blessing and lead me to launching the buttons as a Pigeon Wishes product.
I worked with an incredible illustrator, Georgina Baker, to bring the product to life with these beautiful backing cards. As a vintage lover I wanted the buttons to have a touch of keepsake specialness and to be easily displayable within your sewing area.
Putting a product (and really yourself) out into the public is scary. Self doubt always (ALWAYS) creeps in. The sewing community is known for being highly supportive of indie businesses and I’m very thankful to be on the receiving end of such encouragement.