Sophie Kingo Blogs

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


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Knitted dress – Rowan Tammie

Back in late summer 2013 I treated myself to some Rowan Lima yarn. And it was a treat by the price it cost! I wanted to knit the Tammie “ribbed sweater” from Rowan Studio Issue 28, but knew there was no way I could knit it in the required Kid Classic as I can’t tolerate wearing lambswool or mohair – I find them far too itchy. So I chose the Lima, a soft and lightweight baby alpaca and merino wool yarn, instead. The gauge is pretty similar and I just made sure I did a gauge swatch to get the right tension.

I also knew I wanted to make some changes to the Tammie. For a start, the version on the model – being a “sweater” – was too short as a dress, even thought they styled it as one. Secondly, I didn’t like the sleeves. So I bought enough of the main colour to lengthen it by several centimetres and decided to end with the second colour as cap sleeves.

But I took too long to get the Tammie dress going, and by spring was no where near half way through the second side. So I put it away and waited for autumn to come round again. By this September I was 10 weeks pregnant and worried that I wouldn’t fit into the dress anymore, but I decided to continue to make it anyway and see how it went. It was, after all ribbed which would stretch over a growing bump. But then I picked up my crochet hook and started crocheting a baby blanket – more on that later – and the Tammie dress got sidelined again.

However, come November I was back onto the dress (which, being dark purple and a plaited yarn was quite tricky to work with on a cosy evening in Walthamstow with the nights drawing in) and finally completed it just after Christmas. Here it is. Complete with 26 week bump.

Knitted dress 2 Knitted dress

knitted dress 3


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New clothes for me

The last time I blogged about anything I made for myself, was way back in April 2013 when I shared this new dress.

Since then I have done a few bits of sewing – mostly girls’ dresses, tote bags, infinity scarves and zip pouches (which, consequently I haven’t shared on here – d’oh). But this year I found a renewed desire to get making for myself.

So here are three things I’ve made for myself:

A little African print jacket

I love this fabric, so decided to make a simple little item using just three sections and some navy cotton facing. I rustled this up in under 2 hours.

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Another shift dress

Perhaps no surprises here. Yes, it’s another shift dress.

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A maxi

What’s that? Another purple and turquoise dress? Who’d have thought it?

This time it’s a maxi which I made specifically for two occasions: 1) the April Mouse-X premier which the hubby and I helped crowdfund, and 2) my lovely friend Emma’s wedding to Stephane in Grasse on the Côte d’Azur in May. I made this using my wonderful 30th birthday present from my husband – a Supafit dress form (best dress making accessory ever!)

maxi

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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


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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


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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?!

 


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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