Sophie Kingo Blogs

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


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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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