Marcy Rylan: Fashionista

Before relocating to Los Angeles for her role as Abby Newman on YOUNG AND RESTLESS, Marcy Rylan was not only pursuing her acting career, but a career in fashion. While starring as Lizzie on GUIDING LIGHT, Rylan was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and she’s been putting what she learned into a new endeavor: designing custom-made purses.
Soap Opera Weekly: How did attending FIT come about?

Marcy Rylan: I have a really weird school history. I was a biochemistry major when I started at GL. I really wanted a college degree and I loved science, although I didn’t know how I would ever use it. I was going to school part-time and working part-time at GL. The problem is, once you reach a certain point in the degree, you have to do the labs. The labs are all day, so I had to stop. I couldn’t work and [have] this type of a major. [But] I had so much free time, I was going crazy. Everybody was knitting and crocheting on-set. I started knitting, but that takes way too long for me. I can’t wait a month for a sweater. No way! I need immediate gratification. Then my mom bought me a sewing machine. I was like, “What am I going to make?” I didn’t want to make drapes. I literally started sewing a square of leather, folding it in half, and wearing it out. Then, it became this thing. I was living with Mandy Bruno [ex-Marina] from GL and Alex Chando [ex-Maddie] from AS THE WORLD TURNS. We’d be going out at night, and I’d be making leather clutches to match our outfits. I really got into it. Someone mentioned I should try FIT. So I started doing their accessories design [program].

Weekly: Was the plan always to make purses?

Rylan: Yes. I make bags at home — leather hobo bags and totes. My friends get purses for gifts now. They get little leather clutches.

Weekly: It’s quite difficult sewing leather, isn’t it?

Rylan: Yes. But I have a semi-industrial-strength sewing machine that can sew through anything.

Weekly: Describe your purses.

Rylan: I have two [styles] that are my superspecial ones. One is made from this imprinted brown leather that looks like bamboo. It’s a tote bag. I got a leather braiding book. I made an intricate leather braid handle and edged all the leather with gold paint. That one is like my baby. Then I did a bucket bag with fringe all over it, because I love fringe. That was the most intricate one that I’ve done so far. For the summer, I also started making a blue- and cream-striped clutch. It’s a giant, oversized canvas clutch with a big, gold piece of hardware on the front. It’s a nautical look. That’s my theme of the summer. I found this amazing canvas fabric and have been making everything with that.

Weekly: You have a new baby at home. How do you find the time to do it all?

Rylan: He’s 6 months old, and I love his jumperoo. He sits in the jumperoo while I’m at the sewing machine. I haven’t [designed] any new bags in a while. I’ve just been changing the fabrics since he was born. To make a new pattern is time-consuming. But it’s easy for me to use the patterns I’ve already made, change up the fabrics and add a different piece of hardware.

Weekly: Are you planning to market the bags?

Rylan: I don’t know. It’s definitely a possibility. I’m working in that direction. You can make a bag in one afternoon, and it’s way more fun than sewing a pillow. The last year of GL, I had my sewing machine and everything in my dressing room. Everyone was joking that I was going to have factory workers in my dressing room, cranking out my handbags.

Weekly: Have you thought of a name for your purse line?

Rylan: I’m working on it. I don’t want it to be cheesy. I’m going to start a little page. It’s an amazing site. Anything homemade can go on it. People that [make] homemade stuff sell it there. It’s great. Go there, type in leather wallets, and you’ll find the most intricate, amazing stuff. It’s great for Christmas. I just started doing the online thing to get a little store set up. The great thing is, if I put a bag on there, no one can overorder. I’ve been hesitant to put something on there and get like 100 requests. Whatever bags I put on there, that’s it. They know I only have, say, eight things for sale. I’m going to start with that.