OLFA interview – Marcia Spencer


Check out Marcia's Wildflower Halter project, here. 



Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What is your community like?


I was born and raised in North Carolina by my mom who was a elementary school teacher. Although, I was raised in a single parent home I have a large family on both my moms side and fathers side, including four 1/2 siblings. I've always been creative and always was a little more adventurous when it came to fashion, even when I was a child.


How did you become interested in garment making? Do you have any advice for anyone just beginning?


I caught the sewing bug from my mother at a very young age but essentially the passion for fashion was in my DNA all along. My mother would sew garments and I would gather the scraps and make clothing for my dolls and all sorts of little projects until I was able to sew on her machine and read the patterns. Mom taught me the basics and I picked up a lot more tricks and skills a long the way.



What type of fabric do you like to sew with best – or does that vary by season?


My favorite fabrics will vary throughout the seasons. I gravitate towards poplins and lightweight cotton blends during the Spring/Summer. During the Fall/Winter I create more with more knits and stretchy fabrics. I also love denim and Viscose year round.



Is there a season that is your favorite to sew for?


I love sewing in the Spring and Summer. Its the most fun! The colors and fashion seem to hit me a different way during the warmer seasons. I believe I'm inspired to create more in the warmer seasons and I'm at more most creative then.



How do you manage to incorporate a mix of fabric designs and colors so that they work well together?


I enjoy playing with color and especially prints whenever I get a chance. I love bold solid colors and they are great to coordinate with just about any print. However, sometimes I notice two print designs and they compliment each other in such a beautiful way that I have to bring them together. Ultimately, the prints share some sort of color story together and easily bring out the best of each other. Print mixing is like an art in this way and I love it!



Is there a color you won’t (or don’t like) to use?


I can’t say there is a color I won’t use because I strongly believe each color family has a hue that I like and will compliment my skin tone. However, there are certain colors I don’t like to create much of out of preference of building a brighter wardrobe, and that's BLACK! There is always a moment for black and I DO wear black, but lately I have been so enamored with bold color and bright prints that I have made a conscious effort to choose more color in my wardrobe because like I mentioned, there are so many colors in the rainbow to be stuck on black.



Which comes first – the garment of the accessories?


I have built garments around accessories and vice versa. I don’t really take a preference to which one comes first. Mood comes first for me and if I’m in the mood to wear a certain accessories, I will build a look around it. As well  as if I was in the mood for a particular garment, I will accessorize it.



Are there some current style trends you love – and others you wish would go away?


There are quite a few trends that I have taken to recently and hope they don’t go away. I have shown my love for puff sleeves and bustiers.  These are two of my favs that I love to create. I can’t say there is a trend I would like to go away. Usually, I would just avoid the trend if it doesn’t suit me or re-create in a way that does suit me. That is the joy of being able to create your own clothing. If its not quite right for you, you can tweak it and style rock it!



You make many structured garments, such as corsets. What supplies do you think garment makers should have on hand when they try making them? Any tips?


If you are into creating corsets or more structured garments you definitely want to have boning and interfacings on hand. These will be some of the main materials in creating structure in your garments. More structured garments are going to accent and accentuate so I try to keep this in mind when I create. If I don’t want to accentuate a certain part of my body I try to accentuate other parts to take the attention away from the other, if that makes sense.


What are some tips for sewing swimwear, and especially, how do you work with those types of fabric?


Although, I made my first swimsuit over 20 years ago. I still have a lot to learn about swimwear because I don’t make it much.  I do approach each project with attention on fabric choice and making sure I choose a fabric that will do what I intend it to do. Knowing the stretch and how that fabric will move and wear is important, especially with swimwear.


What’s it like to shop at MOOD in New York City?


Unfortunately, I have not yet made an in person trip to Mood Fabrics in New York City but I am planning a trip and look forward to documenting it because I know the selection is much bigger in person than it is online.



Fill in the blank: Tools that are always within reach on my work table are ________.


Tools that are always in reach on my work table definitely would have to be my OLFA 45mm  Rotary Cutter, OLFA 7inch stainless steel scissors and my ceramic seam ripper.