Sophie Kingo Blogs

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


13 dresses and 4 skirts

Homemade dress and cardigan

My latest shift dress and home knitted cardigan

For Christmas 2008 my husband (then boyfriend) gave me two lengths of Liberty fabric and told me I was going to make myself a couple of dresses. Since then, I’ve made 13 dresses and four skirts, for myself alone:

  • 2 wrap dresses
  • 6 shift dresses
  • 1 maxi dress
  • 3 empire line dresses
  • 1 waisted dress with pockets
  • 2 high waisted skirts
  • 2 a-line skirts

My skills have definitely improved since my first wrap dress. And the latest shift dress (left) is my best yet.

Here’s each dress and skirt in order, starting with my first ever (with one skirt missing along the way).

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Another new item for me

One of the things I love about sewing is deciding on a Saturday evening that I want/NEED a new skirt, and then being able to wear it on the Sunday.

And that happened to me this weekend.

Yesterday evening, after a productive morning sorting out our joint wardrobe, creating 4 bags of clothes/shoes and delivering it to the charity shop, followed by lunch and finishing my book in our communal garden (the book was The Knife of Never Letting Go – the first installment in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy teen fiction), cooking enchiladas and watching the Voice, I decided a new skirt was much needed.

Marie Claire June edition

I think I touched on it in a recent post – with my two new dresses I made – but the high street and I aren’t particularly compatible lately. Of course, Burberry Prorsum (which featured on the front of Marie Claire this month – who highlighted it first?!) and I are highly compatible. In the taste stakes, of course, sadly not in the finance stakes.

So, after realising I won’t find a skirt I want at a price I can afford, I pulled out some African print fabric (of course) from my stash, got a zip and a-line skirt pattern and knocked this out while listening to Eurovision (don’t judge me). The sizings were skew-whiff again (turns out when this particular pattern maker believes I’m a medium, I’m actually an extra small) so it took me slightly longer to make than it should. But I’m very happy with it and am going to bust it out on this gloriously sunny day for a trip to a family first holy communion and party. This happens to be the first holy communion I’ve ever seen, but I’m promised I’ll see a spectacle. So here’s to wearing my new African print skirt on our day trip to Brixton.

p.s. thanks to Nina for highlighted June’s Marie Claire – the copy cats.


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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New skirt

Several weeks ago I bought the 2413 Misses skirt pattern from Project Runway. My first attempt at making this skirt can be seen here in a past blog. That time, I made the skirt to a size 10 but slimmed down the pleats somewhat. I’ve never been completely satisfied with that attempt (though I will be busting it out now and again) and so decided to make another, this time slightly bigger.

Back in June my friend and colleague Nina and I went to African Queen in Brixton Market to buy some fabric for her to attempt to make a dress with my help. This was the time I bought the geometric print fabric with which I made my second wrap dress. Anyway, the problem is that when you buy fabric from African Queen Fabrics or Freeman Textile Ltd in Brixton you have to buy 5.5m at a time. OK, so it is at a bargain price, but there are only so many dresses you want in the same fabric, and I don’t think Nina was going to rush to use her remnant for other crafts. So, I split the fabric with Nina and saved 2.75m for myself. Of course, I couldn’t make a dress in the same fabric either as I didn’t want to run the risk of us both turning up for work one day in almost identical dresses. How would we venture to the park for lunch in that instance?! But I thought we might get away with it if mine’s a skirt. So, I made this:

And, I must say, I’m very happy with it. OK, so I have to wiggle my hips to get it on and to hitch it up. And I can’t stride out as much as I would normally. Which is frankly alright apart from when I’m battling the strong head wind while walking up the slopes in Arsenal tube. But it’s no disaster. I can live with it. The only thing I’d recommend is maybe widening the bottom very slightly (like, a centimetre of so) and using a longer zip. The pattern recommends a 9″ zip, but an extra inch wouldn’t go amiss.  And who needs to make the matching belt the pattern requests? I think it’s grand with a leather belt (this one’s from Gap several months ago), but I also plan to team it with a wide brown leather belt I bought a year and a bit ago from a lovely old woman at Greenwich Market.

And the first outing – a surprise trip (/date) to the theatre last night to see Ghost Stories at the Duke of York theatre. My verdict on that? 4 ghouls.

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I made a skirt today

It was a scorcher in London today. But I’ve been wanting to get sewing for a while now, and having had 5 days in East Yorkshire at the beginning of my week off I hadn’t had any chance to do any all week. I postponed sewing yesterday for a couple of hours in the sunshine in the communal garden reading, so today was the day to make a skirt in fabric I had only ever intended for cushions. Like the dress I made in April (the red one here) it’s in Ghanaian print cotton fabric, bought from Brixton Market in March.

When in Ghana in August last year we went to Obuasi Market to buy fabric with which I intended to make dresses. Unfortunately I didn’t buy enough so had to make do with making cushions for the settee from that fabric (though I may have enough left over for a skirt, thinking about it).  I’d like to point out that this was long before the likes of Asos came up with African print dresses for 2010.

So, here’s the skirt I made today. It’s made using the Misses Skirt pattern from Simplicity’s Project Runway. As always, I ignored the sizings on the back of the envelope. You can never quite trust them and I have made dresses in size 8 and still had to take them in in the past, so decided to go for a size 10 in this pattern, even though, according to Simplicity, I was a size 12-14. I had to slim down the pleats slightly as when I had tacked them in the correct location I couldn’t get the skirt over my hips. But this was the right move. Had I made the skirt in a 12 it would have been far too big.