Sophie Kingo Blogs

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


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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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New girls’ dresses and fabrics

I’ve had a few orders for girls’ dresses recently, so just thought I’d share some of them with you:

Ages 1, 3 and 5 years - available to buy

Ages 1, 3 and 5 years – available to buy

Age 1 year, custom order for Hamburg, Germany

Age 1 year, custom order for Hamburg, Germany


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How to wear a Sophie Kingo African print dress

Here’s a three point lesson from two gorgeous recipients of a Sophie Kingo African print dress.
  1. Look cute
  2. Look proud
  3. Strike a pose
And here they are showing off their dresses.
And if your little girl has a Sophie Kingo African print dress, please share a photo with us and receive 15% off your next order. Email: contactus@sophiekingo.co.uk or visit the Sophie Kingo website to order yours.


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Two new dresses

Adwoa, age 2 and Abena, age 2

Here are another two Sophie Kingo African print girls’ dresses. One for a colleague of mine and one for a colleague of the husband’s. Both for two-year-olds. I just hope the sun comes out for long enough for then to enjoy them.

Remember – if you want one for a little girl in your life, visit the new Sophie Kingo website.

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A kente girl’s dress

This morning I made a new dress – an order from my neighbour for her lovely little 16-month-old daughter.

Kara and her daughter came round on Wednesday to discuss options. Kara was interested in the colours and feel of the fabric and which colours complemented her little girl’s skintone, while her daughter was more interested in the zebra mask lurking in the ‘blue room’ – our storage-cum-music-cum-fabric room.

Kara opted for the printed kente – a gorgeous bright print – which I think deserves an explanation and history lesson.

A history of kente

Kente cloth is a Ghanaian royal and sacred woven cloth (or nwentoma), traditionally worn by the Asante people of Ghana in times of extreme importance. Kente is still highly regarded across Ghana today and is often worn for special occasions such as traditional Ghanaian weddings.

Asante kente can be identified by its dazzling, multi-coloured geometric shapes and bold designs and each design has an individual meaning. The cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the warp threads and different colours hold different meanings (see here).

The dress

This kente design (sadly not woven kente which is very expensive, but instead printed) uses gold, ping, green and blue, conveying:

  • wealth, royalty, high status, glory and spiritual purity (gold);
  • femininity (pink);
  • vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal (green); and
  • peacefulness, harmony and love (blue)

And here it is:

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New Fabrics

When I posted the blog on my new skirt, my workmates Nina and Catherine decided they each fancy one. So, on Saturday, Jeffrey and I took a trip to Brixton to meet up with Nina to pick out some fabric so that she can join me and make her second item of clothing.

Of course, I couldn’t leave Nina to buy some fabric on her own; I had to buy some for a skirt or dress for me, and to offer for the African print girls’ dresses.

Here they are. You can also see them on the available fabrics page should you wish to buy a girl’s dress in one of these beauties:

photo (2) photo (1)

And this Saturday I plan on using some of them. But before then, I will be making a dress in printed kente for my neighbour’s gorgeous little 16 month old daughter. And I’m taking orders, so if you would like a dress for a little girl near you, please check out details in the ‘shop and drop me a line.


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A new tween girl’s African print dress

When I first set out making African print girls’ dresses in March, my boss loved them. She bought herself an African print dress from a shop in Camberwell last year, and when she saw my girls’ dresses she had to have one for each of her daughters.

Green and pink dress, age 12

The girls are aged 10 and six and they are gorgeous. In March I had already made an age 6 dress which my boss loved, but she didn’t want matching dresses for the girls. The 10-year-old also asked for something slightly more grown up but still in a style that allows her to run around and play.

So, I  altered a girls’ shift type dress pattern to have tab shoulders like the other girls’ dresses and used some lovely green and pink African print fabric that my boss had bought in African Queen in Brixton. As you can see, the dress is much less a-line than those I make for ages 6-months to 6-years, but just as lovely.

And if you’re wondering why I made an age 12 dress for a 10-year-old, she is very tall for her age.

Here are the some pictures of the girls’ dresses:

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Two new African print girls’ dresses

The last batch of African print girls’ dresses I blogged about was six weeks ago now. And those five dresses have since winged their way to their recipients, who I believe (and hope) are very happy with their new dresses.

For a few weeks my brain has been focused on a few presents and a couple of dresses for me. Having completed my Liberty dress for two May weddings – the Wyman-Bratley and Hough-Learmonth weddings – yesterday I picked up my girls’ dress pattern and made a start on two new dresses. Both are for friends or family of two of my colleagues.

But here they are – the 13th and 14th additions to the Sophie Kingo range of African print girls’ dresses. The red, age 9-12 months, the turquoise and pink age 6 months. I’ve kept the buyers waiting a little while, but I hope it’s worth the wait. They are, after all, both beautiful… if you ask me!

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Five more African print girls’ dresses

Hemming is my least favourite part of dressmaking, meaning I frequently get a pile of dresses to the stage of hemming before putting them aside and starting another. This isn’t wise as it then means I need to sit and hem dress after dress.

New dresses

Last weeked I made this lovely dress for my neighbour (I hemmed it on Tuesday), along with two other red dresses. The latter two I didn’t hem, and left aside while this weekend I started on another three dresses. After generating a pile of five unhemmed dresses by yesterday afternoon, I sat down to hem while watching The Voice and Take Me Out. By this morning my left index finger has had enough of being pricked and grazed, and I am done with hemming this weekend.

So, it’s on to knitting for me this afternoon.

But first here are the five beautiful (even if I do say so myself) Sophie Kingo African print girls’ dresses I made or completed this weekend. All taken and all from orders. The largest of the blue and pink dresses is for my friend Vikki’s lovely little 3 year old Charlotte. The blue and pink dress with turquoise hem (left) is for my friend Aimee’s friend’s newborn and the other blue and pink dress is for a colleague’s niece. The two red circles dresses are for two of Jeffrey’s colleague Lucy’s friends who are new(ish) mothers. So, it’s up to Hull with two, while the others stay in London.

These Sophie Kingo dresses are turning out quite the international collection; this one (on the left) has already made its way to the USA, two are winging their way to Hull and the blue and pink 6m dress in this post (right) will also be going to the USA (or Canada, I can’t quite remember which).

Still to make – three dresses for colleagues. One for the 10 year old sister of the owner of this beauty and two for two newborns. But they’ll have to wait a couple of weeks.

These dresses are proving popular.

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African print girl’s dress number 7

It’s been just over two weeks since I last blogged.  Just after telling you about the last dress it was my husband‘s 30th birthday, which signalled the arrival of my parents from Hull and a weekend of family and birthday celebrations. This meant I didn’t get the time to even just look at drawing up a pattern for a 6 month dress till last weekend, never mind get to Brixton to buy some new fabric.

Eventually when I got to Brixton at the weekend, I wasn’t that impressed with the fabric on offer in my two favourite Brixton fabric shops – African Queen and Freeman Textiles. But after rooting around I picked out two lovely fabrics – one dark red with black, white and yellow flowers, the other turquoise with bright pink and blue flowers (left).

Jeffrey was away in Newquay on a stag do at the weekend, so i ceased the opportunity to get working with few interruptions on the eight dress orders I have picked up. I got the bulk of four age 6 month dresses made, in between housework, baking, seeing friends and battling two headaches. All that is left is to hem them, which it seems particularly hard to find the time for this week. But I managed to complete one last night, which our neighbour collected tonight. And she really liked it. In her words: “it’s nice to not get the normal pink dress.”

So, this lovely specimen below is winging its way to the lucky little daughter of a couple who recently spent a year travelling around Africa. Here’s hoping they like it and it reminds them of their travels.

More to come later this week.

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