Sophie Kingo Blogs

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

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Up and away wall chart

imageI have regularly browsed Pinterest for inspiration for our home, sewing, knitting and crochet. But since Finlay has become more engaged in the world (and I’ve managed to acquire more freedom alongside) I have used Pinterest for homemade baby play and development ideas.

First up, a wall chart to measure Finlay against now that he’s steady on his feet.

I asked my dad to buy the timber for us; his estate car is a better size for a length of timber than our car. He had to get it in two pieces in the end and decided to round the top – I think he quite fancied a project, though that’s where his project ended.

We took a little while to work out a design that used the round, then plumped for a balloon rising into the sky – much like Finlay will one day when he undoubtedly grows taller than the two of us and leaves us looking up to him.

I’ll leave it there and let the pictures show the creative process.

By the way, in case you were wondering, Finlay measured 81.5cm last Monday when he was measured at a check up. But his first mark on the chart is at 80cm from last Tuesday (we’re all taller when we’re lying down).


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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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Sewing Christmas presents

As well as knitting Christmas presents for 2012, I also sewed a few.

For nieces L1 and L2 for Christmas 2009, before Ls 3 & 4 came along, I made named bunting. These have been hanging in their room ever since. But L3 and L4 have been missing theirs. So 2012 was the year. I gathered together a range of fabrics and tasked Jeffrey to draw the letters while I cut out the flags.

Here they are in progress and complete:

Making buntingBunting








I also wanted to sew something for my Mum for Christmas and had been meaning to sew myself a knitting needle roll for some time, so thought my Mum could also do with one. I browsed the internet for inspiration and amalgamated a few I came across to come up with these. Each one is made using a range of African print fabrics and has two different height pockets – a taller line of pockets for straight pins and a shorter line for circulars, haberdashery needles, stitch holders, scissors, etc.:

Knitting needle roll for me

Knitting needle roll for me

Knitting needle roll for my mum

Knitting needle roll for my mum


Patchwork footstool/ bean bag

I’m sitting on my settee, watching Saturday Kitchen with my feet up after a lovely three days off work. And this time my legs aren’t across Jeff on the settee, but instead on the new foot pouffe/ bean bag that I made this ‘half term’.

I’ve made lots of dresses and skirts from Ghanaian/ West African cloth over the past two and a half years – three shifts, two summer dresses, one wrap dress and two skirts. Mix into that four cushions and one throw. And all from different materials. Despite making a string of bunting for the hallway, and a hanging bird mobile for the living room, 20 odd oyster card holders, wedding place cards and invitations and a couple of children’s dresses (click on ‘sewing’ in the menu above to explore all of these) I’ve still been left with metres and metres of 12 different fabrics. Some from Ghana, more from Brixton. All brightly coloured.

My sister, Lisa Kingo, a few months ago suggested I make a nice patchwork throw from some of the leftovers. But when Jeffrey and I got married in August, my new In-Laws bought us three pieces of beautiful Ghanaian Kente cloth – I believe a traditional gift of three pieces for the bride (a skirt piece, top piece and hair wrap). One of these pieces lives on the settee for when I want to wrap up. So it felt like a patchwork throw was unnecessary. But I really wanted to use more of the cloth in the flat.

For Christmas, my lovely friend Lizzi gave me Cath Kidston’s Patch book, which boasts ‘exclusive Cath Kidston designs for 30 simple patchwork-inspired projects’. There are some lovely ideas in the book and I decided I’d start with the tartan beanbag (skill level 3 – i.e. the hardest) for using up some of my fabric stash.

But my word. The instructions are pretty shambolic. Some instructions are repeated, others aren’t that clear. And the number of patches it tells you to use is quite vastly overestimated. I could easily see why it was a project with skill level 3 – the sewer seems to need to have some sewing skill to realise the mistakes in the instructions, and have the experience to work out what will actually work instead.

The instructions also tell you to use velcro to secure the opening for the polystyrene beans, which should be in a liner. I saw creating a liner as a waste of time and velcro as too easy to pop open, so instead placed a zip in the base. And I’m glad I did. It feels much more secure and looks better.

So, here it is. Complete and lovely. It’s bigger than I expected (I’m not really one for measuring these things first) and in our little flat it seems to take up some room. But it’s lovely and I’m very happy with it.

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The Hostick-Boakye Home-made Wedding

Those of you that follow my wedding blog (Sophie Kingo’s Getting Married turned Sophie Kingo is Married) will know that the wedding of the Hostick-Boakyes – that’s us – on 20th August this year was a pretty hands-on affair.

The ceremony was a civil one in Hull City Hall, and the reception was a relaxed event in a marquee in the Hostick family garden in the lovely East Yorkshire. The (dreaded) ‘theme‘ was “us”, which I guess could be construed as British-cum-Danish-cum-Ghanaian. 

Those of you who regularly follow this blog will know that a few things make us “us” – music and poetry courtesy of Projectbrownman and Unseen Flirtations respectively (both the husband), while I primarily sew, knit and make jewellery (with the occasional dabbling in music).

So, I guess the (dreaded) ‘theme’ could be construed as British-cum-Danish-cum-Ghanaian home-made because naturally a fair few things were made for the wedding – notably for the marquee which, when it went up I found horribly ivory, fussy and drapey, but which, with everything my Mum, Dad, sister, husband-to-be and I had made, turned out a treat.

Here’s a list of what we made, and some photos for you to feast your eyes on:

the completed marquee

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Child’s bird mobiles (for sale)

As if I haven’t made enough fabric birds lately (my Mum and I made approximately 60 for my marriage to Jeffrey last month) I’ve gone and made more.

I first stumbled across a lovely pattern for fabric birds last year and made a grown up bird mobile out of scraps of West African cloth for my and Jeffrey’s first owned home together. For Christmas last year I made a couple of simple triple bird mobiles (one for my Mum and Dad and one for my cousin) which went down a treat.

And since then I’ve had many people admire the birds – with one neighbour asking if I can make her one for her daughter’s bedroom.

So, this weekend, having found I have twitchy hands after everything that I’ve been making for my and Jeffrey’s wedding (more on that here) I decided to buy some fabric in primary colours from a great local fabric shop on Seven Sister’s Road in Holloway, and got to making. The result? Four triple bird mobiles in red, blue and yellow with embroidered wings. Each is different with different embroidered wings and with different colour placement. Unfortunately the light was too bright and the wind too strong for me to get images sideways on, but you hopefully get the idea from the images below.

I’m hoping to sell these and will take them along to a craft fair my sister, her colleague and I will be selling at in November at Lauderdale House in Highgate. Alternatively, if you fancy one please get in touch with me and we’ll sort something out.


Gifts for Denmark

On 9 January 2010 I published the blog post D’oh where I listed all that I made for Christmas presents and mention that I forgot to take photos of them. Well, I’ve only gone and done it again this year. The problem is that I make Christmas presents and, as I don’t wear them, I forget to take photos, wrap them up, et voila it’s left to those who receive the presents to kindly take photos and send me them. Also, what with the days being short and the nights long, I complete many of the presents when it’s dark out and, as you’ll see from some of the following pictures, it’s not easy to photograph them in the dark.

This blog post lists what I made for my cousin Mie, her husband Dennis and their two daughters Ida-Maria (4) and Hannah (2) in Denmark.

  • Beige/golden bracelet for Mie, made with a selection of glass foil beads from Spoilt Rotten Beads and a variety of  stone beads
  • Striped beret for Ida-Maria, made from purple and wine merino wool yarn
  • Purple dress for Hannah made from Ghanaian wax print (here’s the grown up version)
  • Bird mobile from a mixture of Liberty and Ghanaian cotton for Mie and Dennis

I remembered to take photos of these items, though the beret is incomplete – the crocheted flower is missing – and Mie’s  bracelet was shot in the dark. But hopefully you can make them out.

And apologies to Mie and Co. if this is the first time you’ve seen these items. I posted the parcel 8 days before Christmas so I’m hoping they got to Åsum in time for Julaften.

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