Lisa Woolfork 0:17
Hello sitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast. With more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. This is part of our special series on sewing spaces. I knew when I started this series on sewing spaces that there was one person I absolutely had to talk to. And that was Miss Kris Branton of the Black Girls Social Club, as well as newly of Kraft Bar, KB for her initials. Because I was convinced that Kris Branton had, must have had a sewing room the size of an NFL football field, if not the stadium itself, because every time I looked up, Kris was buying something else to go in the sewing room. She's got the sewing machines and the serger. She studied fashion and design. She had a whole career of skirt making. So there was dress forms for that. But then she also pivot to papercrafting and Cricuting, and I think she might even have a Silhouette Cameo still in the box. And I think I see a bit of a heat press back there on the left side. So Kris Branson was someone I had to talk to, because her sewing room sounded to me, just like a treasure trove of craft, and sewing materials. I'm so grateful to be with you today, Kris. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thanks for joining. I am so excited too I am so looking forward to this. This is so much fun. I tease Kris all the time if y'all ever been on a live when we've been on together or a clubhouse, when we've been on together. I am going to talk about Kris and her omni-crafting life. She seems to be a lover of all crafts, and she likes to be prepared by having the requisite equipment for such crafts. And why would you not? So y'all as you know, the Sewing Spaces Series is a series of interviews recorded on Zoom. And there are videos of the episodes that are available only to Patreon supporters. So if you support the Patreon, you will get to see what I am talking about. It's not that much to join. It's like $2 a month. Surely you have couch cushion money that you could give to Black Women Stitch for $2 a month. And then you can see all of a sudden way see it. But if you aren't able to do that I totally understand and respect. You may enjoy the podcast and we are very glad to have you here. So Kris, welcome. Welcome. This is so much fun. So Kris, tell me what your sewing space means to you. What do you think are essential things you have to have? Well, when
Well, when, I walk into my space, I kind of feel accomplished. My sewing space does not look like the rest of my house. The only thing we have in common is the gray walls. Me and my husband, we painted these walls, and we put up this the wallpaper kind of like the middle of a hurricane. And we were in the middle of one of those storms. And I decided that during the break, I wanted to change my sewing room up and that is what we came up with. I don't have everything out like most people, but when I walk in here, it gives me some type of space and some type of peace. Because this also during the day is my office. I work from home when I'm not traveling. What you see behind me is my sewing room. In front of me is my office. So when I'm on Zoom for work, people are always like messaging me like is that a sewing machine? Like what are you doing? And I'm just like, "Yep." So it makes me really really happy. I craft for self care and you know, my mental health. So to walk into this craft room after years and years of accumulation of stuff, I feel accomplished at this point.
Lisa Woolfork 4:19
That is something about which to be very proud. Many of us like well, I can't speak for everyone. But speaking for myself, I started sewing on a kitchen table in a three room graduate student apartment with my husband and a little baby. That's what I started with. And I over the years got and accumulated things and when I got a chance to have a room of my own. I just went ham. Was that process similar for you? Where did you start? What did your original sewing space look like, your very first sewing space.
It was my mom's dining room table. My husband lived in a different state. We'd got promotions on the same day. So we chose to take promotions, and that put us in two different areas. I moved back in with my mom, and she has like a two bedroom house at the time. It was three but she had somebody in other rooms, those two bedrooms and she had this living room and her dining room. I decided I want to learn how to sew. My boss was the one who told me to pick a hobby, and I picked sewing. I would come out and put on my stuff on her dining room table. And my mother does not like anything on her dining room table like, oh my gosh, she will put it in the trash. And I will come and put my sewing machine she bought for me. She bought me a sewing machine and a Cricut on Fae Day. I got to $200 I got two machines. And I would come and put my stuff out, and she would look at me. And she would be like, "if you don't put that stuff back when I'm when you're done is going in the trash." She was very supportive of my hobby, but her love for her clear table was a whole lot more. So that's how I started. I literally had a sewing machine bag, my $100 sewing machine from Walmart- and this is $100 including tax. It was like $89 from Walmart. At the time I lived in Miami so you can go to the fabric district, and I didn't know what I was buying. So I was buying all kinds of stuff. If I should tell you I thought you put on for real. But I brought it out, and I was sewing. I didn't know nothing about no patterns. I ain't know that about nothing. I just said I was go sew. That's how I started. So look, don't think this room is just 'she woke up one morning and just walked into this.' No, this has been a journey.
Lisa Woolfork 6:12
Sewing room number three. Okay, and so if you could think about what is the similarity between sewing room number one, sewing room number two, and sewing room number three, what is one thing that connects those spaces? Is there one thing that you felt like, 'this is essential? This is what I have to have?' Is it like you need to always have a comfortable chair. I gotta make sure I have a space for my water next to me always. So I gotta make sure I can reach my pin cushion or whatever. Like, is there some setup that doesn't change regardless of how the configuration is?
No, it depend on the room. Honestly, they all got IKEA table.
Lisa Woolfork 6:51
There you go, see IKEA tables, common denominator.
Like sewing room number two, it did not have an IKEA table. In the beginning I bought, I moved to Georgia and bought a fancy desk. And then when we moved back into this house, the desk broke and I went right back to my IKEA tables. This is an IKEA table. I actually have a video on this table.
Lisa Woolfork 7:10
We'll link that.
They changed the name of it. It used to be the LINNMON table. Now it's something else. But it's an IKEA table with the most sturdy thing. You always have to have something sturdy to sew on. All my sewing rooms, except for my mom house, I've all had a man-made cutting table that I've never used. Very honest with it. There is a Pinterest thing that tells you to go get an Ikea tabletop for like $15 or $29 and $16 bookcases from Walmart, and I have this same setup. I've had it at all three places. And I cut on the floor. For layout I had like- I guess it's supposed to be a cutting board. I got it from Joann- as much as I say 'I like this table. I'm gonna cut on the table.' Nope, I get on the floor. So the floor is the most essential part of sewing.
Lisa Woolfork 7:56
The floor...having a good floor. Okay, so I want to go back really quickly. You said that you had a video on your IKEA table. What was it called, your IKEA table?
I think it's called like, 'My New Sewing Table.' These are a different types of sewing legs. And I must stress the importance of having a good sewing base. Like you can have whatever tabletop you want, but if it moves, then it's not good. And I have a whole tutorial on putting together these nice fancy legs, and it just didn't work out for my sewing. It would move. Like there was no way to connect the top to the bottom. It was just annoying. So now I just have the regular. It's called Adil, A-D-I-L. I have those table legs, and it works a million things. So you can see both of them on there. If I haven't put up the other one yet, cuz I have to do some editing, in the picture it's like cool because I was like versus type versa. But there is the definitely one with the um its black legs. It was beautiful. It was so pretty, and I thought I was gonna save it. But just everything that's beautiful, sometimes you just have to be simple. You know, you don't have to have much. I promise this table, the legs are $4 and the tabletop is 19.
Lisa Woolfork 8:58
My goodness, and it's sturdy and stable, and it does what you need.
It does what I need.
Lisa Woolfork 9:03
I am so curious about you having a cutting table set up, but choosing to cut on the floor.
Yeah, I'm gonna move my computer so you can see it here you go. Y'all, see fabric? Boom. Y'all see the Cameo that Lisa always talkin' about me and then my Cricut.
Lisa Woolfork 9:17
Yes, there it is. You know her decorative Cameo. Hello decorative Cameo!
Is very cute. And then you see fabric, and honestly, there's three of them. So $16 time three, and then the tabletop. And as you see I got my sewing books. I got the whole cutting board thing.
Lisa Woolfork 9:34
Why don't you cut there
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Why don't you cut there?
Maybe it's too tall for me. Maybe it's like I have a little torso. I don't know what it is. It's just not as comfortable as the floor. But my roots is on in my mama house on the dining room table. So maybe because I started cutting down the floor, I can't let go. You know you can't like you could take the girl out, you could give the girl a cutting table, but you can't take the cutting table out the girl.
Lisa Woolfork 10:57
That's right. It's like, 'Look I started as a floor cutter and I'm gonna end as a floor cutter.' Yeah, I think you just need to adjust the table height, sis.
You know I have I'm gettin' little older and that back don't work already.
Lisa Woolfork 11:07
No, listen, you got them young knees still. My knees hit 49 or 50. I was like, 'oh, no, I don't enjoy this anymore.' And I do not want I'm not gonna be heading into my 60s crawling around on the floor behind some sewing. Maybe one day if I have grandkids, that I would enjoy, but not crawling behind me trying to cut.
Better me! I wish I had a thing on the floor, and I move it every single time and I put it in a different room because I don't want to roll over it. But yeah, I'm on that floor like cutting.
Lisa Woolfork 11:37
So wait, you put your big cutting mat on the floor and cut?
Lisa Woolfork 11:40
You do not use a rotary cutter on the floor.
Yeah, on the mat. Look, I'm gonna record a video just for you. I'm gonna send it to Lisa that I literally lay it out, even when I tape the patterns together because I take patterns together my hotel room.
Lisa Woolfork 11:52
Profane. Profane. On the floor. Yeah, I would do mine on the floor so I can roll all it, sweep it all into the trash because I cannot tape a pattern. And this is a well documented condition by now, because I've told everyone...about my medical condition. That's not, it defies science apparently, because it's not in any even medical journal. It's that rare.
I think you passed it on to me because I cut my ginger jeans out too short in Nikki's class. I had to reprint one. I already had one from PDF plotting. And I had to print it myself. And I was like, "Nikki, I think I got what Lisa got. I can't do this."
Yeah, you can't do it, because you shouldn't have to because it's terrible.
Right. Right. So scientifically it has been proven that there is a disease that...
Lisa Woolfork 12:30
Yeah, I agree. I'm just waiting for the study, you know what, I might just have to write it myself. That's fine. I'm a pioneer. I don't mind. I don't mind. And so I really love this notion that for you, it's about the room. It starts with the room. And the room helps to guide your process in how you build things. And also that it's ergonomic in a way. And by ergonomic, I mean, you are used to having your body sew and move in certain ways. And you've made sure that you can keep that up wherever you go. And so while some people consider like a cutting table, something that you graduate to or you get later or whatever. For you, that's not a big deal for you, you don't have to have a cutting table, because you have been getting good results from working on the floor. And that's that and it's done. And then you can put your mat away and then come right back.
Right. I love the floor. If you notice, I'm sitting in the chair, but there goes another chair. So it's not even the type, you know how somebody move around the office, I literally have to get up and go sew or get up and, and you know what, as I think about it now because I have a pinched nerve in this shoulder, is it helps to move around, keep your body flowing because you know if you sit there and sew all day and then you turn around and iron and then after a while you can get kind of stiff. So I'm kind of glad that I get on my floor.
Lisa Woolfork 13:49
Yes, yes. It's kind of like sewing yoga,
Right. Because it is. One minute you sitting, the next minute you stretched out and then you always lose something while on the floor. We could cutting yoga.
Lisa Woolfork 13:59
Cutting yoga. That's right. That's what we'll be calling it. She has invented cutting yoga. That's another one of your innovations is that you've innovated cutting yoga.
And we gonna put it with a "K," "kutting yoga."
Lisa Woolfork 14:11
Alright you know I just changed that "c" to a "k" just for you. So now you have your sewing room setup. You have things all the way you want them, and then you say, 'my name is Kris Branton and I like to craft things." So I need more than just a sewing machine and a serger. I need other things that are going to help complement my broader interest in craft. You get a Cameo you get a Cricut you get a Cameo. And then you get heat press. What do those things bring to your crafting?
So I got the first Cricut. I am a old school Cricut person. I had a Cricut Mini back in a day.
Lisa Woolfork 14:48
They brought the Cricut Mini back. Now it's a Cricut Joy?
Yeah, but the Cricut Joy is smaller than the Mini. The Mini was a little bigger and it didn't. It was the first person who had craft room. It didn't have the whole computer thing, and it was made so that you didn't you can get on the computer and people don't even remember the Cricut Mini. I can say that because I bought it from my daughter's fifth birthday to make her invitations.
Lisa Woolfork 15:10
She is now 13. So I've been on this Cricut game for a long time. And then I bought the Cricut Explore when I moved to Georgia, but my computer wasn't compatible. It was horrible. So it sat there. It was Explore Air and it sat there for a year. And then I finally got it to work. And I started making shirts, because I didn't want to make travel shirts for our family. I didn't want to pay for 'em. You know, a true crafter- if you can make it we not paying for it.
Lisa Woolfork 15:35
It's so true. Whether it's cheaper, or not cheaper. It's like you know what, I'm not gonna buy that because I can spend $900 on craft supplies and make it myself. I'm not paying that lady $30 a shirt, when I can go spend $1,000 on supplies.
And that's what I tell people, especially because vinyl's expensive. Yeah, so I bought the Cricut Explore Air for that. And it worked. Because there's four of us. We go on vacation four days, boom, you know how much money you save after that? And then they came out with the Maker. And I was so against it. All my friends now, like I'm not buying it because the Maker don't do nothing that this Explore Air don't do. They even tried to say it cut wood. Well, I'm not a wood cutter. I'm like I'm not doing this. And then their one year anniversary, they had a sale and it was $100 off. And I don't know, maybe I was sleepwalking or sleep buying. And I pressed "pay." And it came to my house, and it was beautiful. She was amazing. She's pink. And I've used her- I don't even know what happened to my Explorer Air. It's probably an attic somewhere. I don't even use it no more. I just forgot all about her. And I was using her forever. But I was using an iron. And if you use an iron after a while that vinyl starts to lift. So I bought my husband, a PS4. And with the PS4, you got a $50 gift card to Amazon. So that's how I ended up with her, cause I use my $50 Amazon gift card, and I paid an extra $100 and here go my baby. And I don't even use her like that. I don't do for other people. Like I don't make sure it's fun-and I probably could. I could probably have an entire... I have a Joann, Hobby Lobby or Michael's in this house. So I just started using it for myself. Like I have a business now. I made all my shirts. I make everybody else shirts. I like to make onesies and that heat press is what happens. Now my heat press- let me see if I could show y'all-is sitting on something. This is a $5 file cabinet that I got from an old school that shut down and it was so ugly and dingy. So I use white contact paper.
Lisa Woolfork 17:32
Oh, that's great. And that's way better than trying to paint the cabinet. But like it's so much stronger. And those old file cabinets... You know, we have a the university has a surplus store where they send their old equipment to, and we got like a $30 or $20 gorgeous wooden side file cabinet that must weigh like 150 pounds. But it is sturdy. And it's not like the stuff we got at Staples. We buy those little flimsy ones and you put files in it and the top drawer collapses to the bottom drawer and then you gotta mess... those things to buy like the heavy, good quality ones. They are expensive. That's money you can use to buy more supplies. So why would you do that?
And my husband is the son of a seamstress. So he already know, so he's already looking at his wife like you bet not. You know I gotta say hey, when I bring in the new you know, that's my old ring light. When I'm bringing a new one I gotta say hey, this how much this one cost. Because he's gonna be like, 'what you needed it for the other one works.' So when I tell him about this $5 one he was like, 'Alright, go get as long as you say go be safe and go get it,' cuz it was in the country somewhere. And honestly, that's one thing about craft rooms is it doesn't I gotta tell everyone how much the stuff cost in here. It is not expensive. It is not. This wallpaper, I think I got it from Amazon because Walmart didn't have the one I got, and me and my husband did it. It's a lot of work. I'm not gonna lie.
Lisa Woolfork 18:57
It's beautiful, though. It's so beautiful. And I bet you could use it as a backdrop for photographs and stuff like that. And that's really nice.
I film my YouTube right there. I be like, "Hey!..."
Lisa Woolfork 19:06
Yes, yes, yes. It's a beautiful setting.
It doesn't cost a lot. I've told you how I got that one- he got to give I gotta gift.
Lisa Woolfork 19:14
Yes. There you go.
And then this is my, where my patterns are held. This console holds my television.
Lisa Woolfork 19:21
Is that an IKEA as well?
No that's Dollar General.
Lisa Woolfork 19:26
Yes, girl, Dollar General. They don't have the white ones right now. So I'm kind of struggling. And I had to get the other one from Walmart. But I have three of them. They came not from Target. They're at what Dollar General. And they're like $10 for the three things. And I put them together. And that's where my patterns are.
Lisa Woolfork 19:42
Are you serious? You got that cabinet. Wait, explain. Turn the computer, because I'm looking at these really cute cubes and they are stacked up. There's six of them and they're pink and blue. And they're adorable.
Amazon is where I got the cube from and the actual thing is two sets. There's one right here also next to my desk. But and that's where I put all my patterns. And you see a little white thing like this.
Lisa Woolfork 20:07
It used to say like Simplicity and McCall's, and I would just, but ever since I started shopping, and you know, when you try to -look wives, I know, I know when you sneak stuff into the house- that time to file it away. So I just started throwing stuff in there. But when I tell you, this stuff in my room, like I have a whole camera because I do YouTube, I got it on QVC and I did flex pay for the first time in my life. Didn't spend that much on it. The ring lights you got to catch when they have those Amazon deals. So if you want a craft room, because I know Lisa's showing you everybody's craft room, and you know people are gonna be like, well, she has all this. And she has all that. But I'm here to tell you, I ain't spending all my money. I'm not. I used to have another wooden chair in here that I got off of Marketplace. It used to be blue, but now I got my other tripod there so it had to move. And I bought it, and it was old and I washed it down, and I spray painted that bad boy. That's my thing. I'm not going to spend too much because stuff happens.
Lisa Woolfork 21:02
Also, I think you can definitely be strategic. You can use IKEA because IKEA I love. I have a lot of IKEA products in my sewing space. It's just hard to beat those deals. They allow me to kind of have the look that I want for customization. Like I want this to be four this way two, up and down and that kind of thing. But you can also be creative and look at overstock stores. If you have a university or a city depot. They do have auctions for cities where they auction off property, or they'll have like a little a store, or like they'll do auctions and stuff. And so that's another place to get stuff. And then think creatively. Like I have this whole gorgeous wall of where all my notions are organized in separate individual plastic lidded shoe boxes with labels in alphabetical order, starting with B for buttons down to Z for zippers. I think I have like 25 of those 25 different boxes with different notions, like elastic- one inch, elastic- less than an inch, elastic- more than an inch. And I got every one of those boxes at the Dollar Tree.
Yeah, you know, I didn't think about that. I got mine from Kroger but that's how my shoes are in my closet. They're all in those boxes. Because, you know as women, we think that we're going to do it but we have more shoes than we have boxes. But you got to think outside the box. Especially if you're a crafter, you already think outside the box, because one day you're gonna need something for this. Like I know when I get rid of this sewing table, I'm gonna use the tabletop for something else. It might be a tabletop for- I don't want to say a Cameo for y'all. It's not on my heart. Cricut came out with a Maker 3 other day. It's not on my heart, y'all. But you never know. I might need it.
Lisa Woolfork 22:46
And also you're prepared for anything. Y'all Kris is so amazing. She is wearing this gorgeous shirt that says "Kraft Bar" on it. And this is because she now offers mobile craft parties, where she will come to your house, bring all the stuff you need for craft party and have a craft party with you. There's cocktails. There's all sorts of fun stuff. And so her Kraft Bar is a wonderful combination of crafting and socializing and cocktails. You was telling about your motivation. And the way that I saw it was she started the business so she could use some of the stuff she had. Because she has so many toys. She's like, you know what you said you can have a Michael's or Joann or whatever. And it's like, you really do have that. You get to now bring that to the people. Tell me more about how basically you're taking your craft room on the road.
I truly am. I do have a craft store. If I wanted this closet, I can't show y'all because it's full of fabric and it's full of everything. And so what I decided was I know a lot of craft and but I don't want to sell you a craft. I don't want to make something I don't want to make you a painting. But let's learn to make this painting. Let's sip wine and paint a clutch. Let's sip some wine and paint a pottery. Let's sip some some wine and paint a canvas. And what it is, is I come to your house. I have everything. You can provide the wine or let me know what you want. And we go I set up everything. You bring all your friends in. I teach you the craft. You go home with your craft or, you know you and your friend's day party. Say party, whatcha to you, girl like a party. At the end of the day, you learn the skill because nine times out of 10, once you do one craft, you're gonna want to do it again. You had fun with your friends. And then you don't have to worry about leaving your home or being in a place where you're uncomfortable. Especially right now with a lot of people aren't really comfortable about going out. That's where I came up with the idea of Kraft Bar. And if you think about a bar, a bar has like different drinks that you can have, but I have different crafts that you can do. So your party would have one craft but I have an assortment of crafts that you can choose from. And then of course the -K- came from my name is Krystal with the K, and I just had to run with it because literally my initials is KB, and I just cool that I came up with it. But I think it's awesome.
Lisa Woolfork 24:56
Kris Branton his Kraft Bar, and what I love about it is that Kris had a craft bar before she even knew she had a craft bar. She already had the craft bar, because she is Krystal Branton. She likes to collect things and to be prepared for a variety of craft situations. So we are looking at and talking with Kris today, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I just love your space. It's photogenic. It's lovely. It makes a beautiful backdrop for your YouTube videos. It shows us that you don't have to break the bank to build a space you're proud of.
Saving money is important, because if you save money to buy more fabric.
Lisa Woolfork 25:37
I love that strategy. As we start to wrap up, Kris, tell us what's next for you? Where can people find you on the socials? What should we be looking for you to be doing next? Like how can we keep our eyes on, also and how can we support you? How can we support what you are currently doing?
Well, I sent the damn email. If you're in Clubhouse know what that is. So this month I was in Sew Magazine. And I got to thank Lisa cuz Lisa used to be like, "You gonna use your Cameo?" "You gonna use this? You gonna use that? You're gonna send the damn email?" And I did and it worked. Like it truly worked. Like if y'all don't have a Lisa on your team, you don't know what you're doing like. But you can't my... But you can find me on everything. Like I have Kraft Bar. If you live in the middle Georgia area, then I can come to you and we can has Kraft Bar. It is Kraft Bar LLC, on Instagram, but you can find Kris @sewmekrisb on Instagram. Sewmekrisb on YouTube. And then I have a group called Black Girl Social Club on Facebook. Come on and join a social party. We got some plans. Me and Lisa was talking about some things. We got some plans on getting us more social. When I say sewscial s-e-w-c-i-a-l and we're just trying to get us more content creation and supporting our sisters because we like to see us and these realms. We like to see us in these industries. And when I tell you we're so talented, and we're so gifted, but sometimes we're not shown. And that's my ultimate goal is so everybody can see us and so everybody can eat. There's a lot of pros, to being on social media and you know, being on these content creators. And we have to show ourselves that we're not just the content creators and you know, hair and makeup, which is amazing, because I love to do it. But we can create crafts and our crafts are AMAZING. I just want all us to eat. I want all us to shine. I want all this to be exemplified, because that's what we are as Black women. We are a culture.
Lisa Woolfork 27:33
And I could not agree more. And so with that, Kris,thank you so much for this conversation. It was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your space with us. And we look forward to your continued success and growth in everything that you're doing. Thank you.
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