Sophie Kingo Blogs

Insight into Sophie Kingo's Afro-Scandinavian inspired clothing and accessories


1 Comment

New home: Sewing/spare room

Sewing has taken the backseat somewhat after the last Sophie Kingo market stall at Brixton Market in October 2013. But, fear not, I’m hoping to start up again thanks to a new and dedicated sewing space.

For the past four years, sewing has been confined to the dining table in the cosy living space of our one-bedroom Highbury Stadium Square home. But in December, four years and one week after moving into Highbury, the hubby and I waved goodbye to our first home together and ventured 4.9 miles north east to Walthamstow. To a house. With stairs. Three bedrooms. And a garden. And this means room for my very own sewing area. Score!

I will be blogging our home renovation progress – and heck, is there some work to be done?! – as we go. We will be knocking down a few walls, upgrading the extension, re-configuring and replacing the kitchen, refurbishing the sash windows, replacing the bathroom and decorating every room.

First stop, and complete two months after moving in – the room with the least work to do. The loft.

BeforeOn the left you can see the loft in the hands of a 21 year-old guy who lived in the house with his parents before we moved in. The walls – like most of the walls in this house – were a mucky beige, the floor was covered with dark brown lacquered cork tiles and the staircase was lacquered wood. Overall, the room was nicotine stained, smelled of stale smoke and had years worth of paint painted over everything.

It had to go.

 

 

 

 

 

Our plan: to create a fresh, cosy and practical spare room cum sewing room cum office space. 

With a bit of elbow grease (read several days of painting walls and woodwork), a lick of paint (read three coats of pure white matt emulsion on the walls, three coats of eggshell on the bannister and three coats of floor paint on the stairs), a few minor electrical jobs (thanks to the hubby’s ever expanding DIY skills) and a dash of inspiration (collated on a Pinterest board) we created a spare room that is bright, clean and cosy, with space to relax, sew and admire the views of the top of the Shard, the Gherkin and the BT Tower. And, of course, in the on trend colours of grey, yellow and white.

loftWe bought most of the furniture from Ikea – bed, bedside unit, desk, picture shelf and storage unit, and painted the Ikea chest of drawers the seller left with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey. 

In my many hours on Pinterest I stumbled upon the wonderful world of pegboards for housing all things craft. Feeling inspired by Slugs on the Lettuce’s home made pegboard, the hubby and I went on the hunt for materials. Unfortunately, it seems pegboards are confined to the shops of the yesteryear, with many now preferring to use slatboard or just plain shelving over pegboard. We couldn’t find any in any of the East London DIY shops. But my Dad wouldn’t have it, so took over the hunt up in Hull. Failing to find anywhere that would supply him with less than an inordinate amount, he set about making his own, marking out and drilling holes every inch along a piece of plywood before attaching it to a frame and painting it submarine yellow on my orders.

Add a few embroidery hoops of West African print fabrics and a flash or two of kente, a simple mirror, an Anja Jane yellow and grey owl print and the screen print of our wedding date my sister did at my hen do to the walls, and yellow Ikea bedding, a grey hare cushion from Habitat and my almost 30-year-old Popple to the bed, et voila. Our perfect sewing/spare/office room is ready to go. Now, while we wait for the builders to get on with downstairs, I’m going to set to sewing.

Pegboard and picture shelf Sewing table

P1100131

P1100125

P1100136P1100132 P1100119P1100128


4 Comments

African print tote bags

In the run up to my inaugural market stall, my Mum made a few items to sell, including two lovely tote bags that sold in no time. So when my husband suggested she make more, she jumped at the chance and made no fewer than nine lovely tote bags/shoppers. None of them the same, all of them beautiful.

And tonight they hit the Sophie Kingo Folksy shop. Check them out and let me (and my mum) know what you think. And, of course, if you want to buy one, you know what to do!


2 Comments

African print autumn accessories

Last weekend I decided to experiment with sewing autumn accessories. I’d been admiring “infinity scarves” or “cowls” for a while now and decided to try making five up from my lovely African print fabric stash. Two use a lovely mustard, royal blue and grass green kente print fabric and have contrast yellow or green lining and one uses a lovely brown, green and black wax print fabric. Two others are made with a beautiful leaf print fabric – one pink and blue, the other orange, green and blue.

And the best thing? They’re not just for the ladies. As wonderfully demonstrated by my husband and me on a rainy London day, they are unisex. So men and women alike can bring a bit of bright Ghanaian colour to these miserable British autumn days. Oh, and they’re reversible. Bonus!

I’m thinking of making up many more to sell in my Folksy store, so do let me know your thoughts. And keep an eye out for another take on these I have in mind.

African wax print cowl

African wax print cowl

Kente print cowl with green contrast lining

Kente print cowl with green contrast lining

African wax print cowl

African wax print cowl

African wax print cowl

African wax print cowl


1 Comment

The inaugural Sophie Kingo market stall

Before Saturday, I’d only ever sold online or through friends. That all changed on Saturday, when I set up shop (read market stall) for the first time ever.

I gave the honour of popping my market stall cherry to Brixton Market. Every second Saturday of the month Brixton hosts the Makers Market where you will find local hand made fashion, art, crafts, furniture and gifts. Undoubtedly the perfect place to test out the Sophie Kingo range of African-Scandinavian design.

What a day. It was the hottest day of the year so far – hitting 30 degrees Celsius – and a long one to boot. My husband, J, and I were on the go for 12 hours, busily setting up, chatting to buyers and battling the heat.  But it was worth it. The vibe was great, with so many friendly fellow stall holders, endless varieties of reggae blasting out across the market and a great crowd browsing and buying. Not to mention the friends and family that popped along to wish us well. And we made some sales to boost!

So what next? Well, I’m planning on attending the September Brixton Makers Market. But in the meantime I have an African print newborn dress to make and the items that didn’t sell on Saturday to add to my website/Folksy shop. Then I need to get making more bags, oyster card holders, ladies’ clothing and more. Right after this hot spell has wound down a bit and I’ve mended my pesky broken overlocker needle…

Me and the hubby selling on the inaugural Sophie Kingo market stall

Me and the hubby selling on the inaugural Sophie Kingo market stall

Some of the things for sale

Some of the things for sale


Leave a comment

Baby Elspeth and new fabrics

I’ve been making and selling girls’ dresses for a little while now. It doesn’t really supplement my salary from my full-time ‘proper’ job a great deal, but it’s a nice way of keeping up my dressmaking hobby without just expensively giving away dress after dress to family and friends or ending up with hundreds of dresses for me. Basically, I like to sew so I thought I might as well try to sell some of what I make.

Anyway, I’ve had a website- sophiekingo.co.uk – up and running since last year and have seen a few orders from people I don’t know – notably from Fuerth and Hamburg in Germany and Taunton in Somerset – via my Folksy shop. The mother in Somerset recently shared this picture of her lovely daughter Elspeth sporting a Sophie Kingo special with plenty of room to grow. Doesn’t she look gorgeous?

Elspeth in Pia

Elspeth in Pia with Malene trim

It’s so nice receiving images of girls in the dresses I make. I don’t have children of my own, so I often don’t get to see my creations being worn. But luckily, a few parents have shared pictures with me, and you can see the lovely Georgie, Matilda, Hannah and Romey enjoying their dresses on my website.

I have a couple of other orders to get on with this weekend – another for Hamburg and one for a friend’s niece in London – but had run seriously low on stock. So the hubby and I took a trip to Brixton yesterday to pick up some new fabrics. There wasn’t a great selection available and sadly one of the shops I regularly used – Freeman Textiles – has closed down. It’s the sad result of the gentrification of Brixton Village from a West Indian/African hodgepodge market into an arcade of trendy eateries and boutiques. But I managed to find some printed kente and a couple of other wax prints from African Queen that will look lovely when made up into dresses – either for me or for girls…

So, anyone wanting to buy their own Sophie Kingo creation for their little girl – or even just one they know – can now take their pick from 12 lovely colourful West African print fabrics. Summer is just around the corner – I promise – so why not get your order in while you can enjoy it?!

 


2 Comments

A new dress (not a shift)

Back in July last year I made a new dress using a new pattern. I love it, so thought I’d make another.

This time it was a lot less hassle. I mean, I completed the zip first time. No fifth time lucky this time. I added contrasting fabric for the waistband, neckband and pockets to break it up a little. Et voila:

Dress Feb 2013

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.