Sophie Kingo Blogs

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


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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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A New Sophie Kingo Website

It’s that time, ladies and gentlemen, to release on the world the new Sophie Kingo website.

I decided a couple of weeks ago to explore how much my own domain name would cost and look at developing a great website showcasing my African print girls’ dresses that continue to grow in popularity.

One thing led to another, and by the end of my lunch hour I was in possession of a domain name and web hosting service. Fast forward a couple of weeks, several nights web developing (with some much needed development support from a techie friend), and testing by a few friends and family and it’s ready.

You can find information on how to order your own Sophie Kingo African print girls’ dress and where to buy Sophie Kingo Afro-Scandinavian inspired jewellery, along with information on available fabrics and testimonials.

More will be added over time – including, I hope, a gallery of Sophie Kingo dresses in use by the lovely little trend setters who are lucky owners.

This blog will still be in action to showcase all that I am making whether it’s for me or for others, but please do share the new website with your friends and family. You can find it at http://sophiekingo.co.uk.


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Jewellery for sale

Well, there are only 35 and a half shopping days left till Christmas. This is somewhat filling me with dread as I realise I’m struggling to work out what to give people as gifts. Making gifts for people every birthday and Christmas means I’m constantly feeling like I have to think of something new to make. And this year I’m struggling.

But, for those who buy gifts for their friends and want to buy one of a kind items, where do they shop? I’m getting seriously fed up of the cheap mass-produced poor quality throwaway items you see for sale on the high street and think others must too.

So, I’ve created a new Facebook group – Sophie Kingo Handmade Gifts and Jewellery – to show you, and hopefully sell you, some of my one of a kind items.

Here’s a taster of what you can buy. Click on the group and on the relevant photo albums for more information and cost.

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2010 – the year of craft

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking of what I’ve made in the past year. No wonder I at times thought I was developing RSI in my right hand. I was knitting like crazy. Here’s what I’ve knitted/crocheted/sewn/beaded between December 2009 and January 2011 (a total of 13 months), complete with links to the relevant posts:

And, that’s about as much as I can recall right now. But I think that may do for 13 months of knitting, sewing, crocheting and beading – at the very least 100 individual items. If I remember anything else, or if you think I’ve missed something off, let me know. But I’m rather proud of that!

Here are a few pictures:


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Ghanaian Chic

Projectbrownman has been an avid follower of The Sartorialist for some time now and can often be found swooning over some of the outfits featured. In more recent months PBM stumbled upon Street Etiquette, my favourite of the two.

The owners of Street Etiquette “provide the vision [of menswear] from an urban perspective and look to connect with individuals worldwide.” The guys, Joshua and Travis, are apparently influenced by a variety of boundaries and eras. So it’s probably inevitable that PBM should enjoy poring over what the (rather handsome) boys of Street Etiquette offer us on the style front. As, to me, a similar style is evident in PBM’s wardrobe. He is a recently self-confessed slight dandy.  He has always enjoyed a good hat or two and has in the past year added a variety of silk handkerchiefs to his wardrobe which consists of beauties such as Uniqlo moleskin skinny trousers, TM Lewin skinny shirts, a plethora of ties from the heady heights of Tom Ford and Kenzo down to Pierre Cardin, second-hand Greenwich Market waistcoats, Topman tweed jackets, Zara blazers, Muji trench coats, Sophie Kingo scarves and Fred Perry shoes. In the summer PBM had also commented that he needed more accessories and elements of his background in his wardrobe and asked me to make a bracelet from him from leather thong and wooden beads. I did.

In November PBM started reminding me how much he’d like a quilted jacket. No wonder. He’d seen the boys of Street Etiquette looking fly in Ralph Lauren. So I made it my mission to buy him a quilted jacket for Christmas. But Barbour just couldn’t deliver, and my budget wouldn’t stretch to £400 for RL Polo. However, on the same blog post I came across a wicked idea for one of PBM’s Christmas presents, which also happened to fit with his desire to have more accessories and links to his Ghanaian heritage. And this is the photo that spurred it:

The present idea – watch with a Ghanaian cloth strap and beads. Not fallen leaves.

For the bracelets I already had the wooden beads from my jewellery making stash, and just had to order some elastic. However, for the watch I had absolutely zilch of what was required. This required some thought. eBay was the most obvious choice for a watch face as I couldn’t be doing with a December trip down Portobello Road. Buying a watch off eBay wasn’t too easy – many of the watches were either seriously nice and pricey vintage watches, brand new H Samuel types, or metal bracelet watches. I came across a few suitable specimens but kept either missing the boat or being massively outbid. Nice looking gold plated watches which wouldn’t break the bank were apparently not so easy to come by. I had managed to beg some proper woven kente cloth for the strap from Ma Mary, PBM’s Mum, but was massively failing on the watch face front. Eventually, a week or so before Christmas I got lucky and won a gold USSR Sekonda from an eBay seller in Hessle, East Yorkshire. I received just in time to cut off the new black leather strap and replace with the kente strip. And here’s the outcome, below. PBM likes it.


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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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My first commission sale

So PBM‘s mate, Miguel Juan Tuvera to you, came round today to make some new tracks. He and PBM got started on recording several weeks ago, and he features on the excellent Just a Mixtape that PBM has released for free download HERE. Maybe the song featuring him – Scratch Real Good, recorded last summer – isn’t excellent. There are a few bum notes in there and, well, you can’t really take on Take That and beat them with that one can you? But it’s a good laugh and worth checking out, along with many of the other tracks on the Mixtape.

My personal faves? Drive and Yes. The latter for obvious reasons perhaps. And the first too come to think of it. PBM’s first trip up to Hull, one week after we met, to visit me in November 2007, involved a cold walk around Spurn Point. If you don’t know Spurn Point then you’re missing out. It’s probably the only reason I could think of to drive all the way east along the M62, through Hull, out the other end, through Weeton, Skeffling and Kilnsea, and right to the edge of East Yorkshire, of the World, to the only place that matters when you’re there. It’s beautiful. Cold in November. But evidently beautiful, as the photo below shows.

That day, after having to bust out the earmuffs to withstand a biting north easterly (I easily suffer from earache) we took refuge with fish and chips in The Crown and Anchor pub where “track after track of Fleetwood Mac” were playing on the radio. If you’ve downloaded the Mixtape you’ll see what I did there.

And, just to indulge myself in my little trip down memory lane, here’s a photo taken that very day. It’s pretty hideous, but worth including nonetheless.

Anyway, I seriously digress. Back to Mike’s visit today. I’m not sure what the order of the day was for the blue room, but I believe PBM was trying to play some R-Patz (that’s Robert Pattinson for those of you not in the know). Mike had made up some new words to one of his songs apparently. I’m not sure how it went but maybe one day you’ll be blessed enough to hear it.

And back to the blog title. My first commission sale. A few weeks ago, via the Sophie Kingo Facebook page, Mike asked me to make him up a necklace. He described something that, for some reason, I just couldn’t picture. To be precise:

I have an idea for a commission! Long neclace that looks like it’s two… Beadie bits sporadic but more to one side so it hangs off the neck like a Jesus piece is weighing it down. I’ll leave the artistic flair to you. I’ll leave the artistic flair to you, nothing too feminine, though I could probably pull it off and make it look like something the kids would want to wear.

He went on to describe it some more to PBM over the phone, but PBM just couldn’t get past the jesus piece aspect. So today, when Mike got to ours he drew up a sketch of his idea. And, while they were busy making whatever it was they were making, I got to making his necklace. I used:

  • Mzuribeads/ Acholi beads – recycled paper beads handmade by a cooperative of women in Uganda
  • recycled vinyl beads made in by a cooperative in Ghana
  • stone beads made with bauxite
  • wooden beads
  • brass beads
  • coconut shell beads
  • glass foil beads

And here’s the finished piece. Modelled by Mike himself. Hope you approve.