Galentines Day 2021

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!

Party Day

Post a picture of you living your best pink and red life on February the 13th. Simples.

Prizes 

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!

Finally

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,

Meg

x

2020 Pigeonwishes year review

 

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!

Elizabeth has an Etsy where she sells her prints and tea towels. I would also highly recommend following her on Instagram for some serious print gorgeousness.

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.

My makes 

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.

The Community

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 Narrative

 

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.

The Business

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.

 

Buttons By Pigeon Wishes, The Speckled Collection

Hello Makers!

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.

Vlogging Solo, August Plans

If you’re like me, in the past few months you’ve been discovered and started binge watching sewing vloggers on youtube… for me, like blogging I’ve been watching, crushing and enjoying vlogs so much, I thought…let me give this a try.

If you’re thinking of starting a vlog, go for it! You don’t need a new camera or to invest loads of money on equipment. You just need to be comfortable talking to yourself out load :p

I literally made my video with a iphone propped up with some books and a random box. I edited it on a apple computer with imovie, again my computer is 5 years old and is on it’s last legs…apple products lifespan is not 20 years stong!!

I love blogging and think blogs will never die but videos are such a great medium and another way to connect with other sewing enthusiasts. I hope you watch and enjoy 🙂

Meg