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Interview with Amber Welch, Lovely Rats Corsetry

Following my trip to Thailand in 2015 to design the hourglass silhouette corsets with Timeless Trends, I spent three weeks in Texas. One of those weeks was in Austin, creating some informational videos for Timeless Trends, and the other two weeks were spent in Dallas where I stayed with Amber of Lovely Rats Corsetry. Together we compared corset styles, patterns and construction techniques, we made a corset together using a custom pattern from the late Christine Wickham of Ariadne’s Thread, and she introduced me to Steven Universe (a show that changed my life).

In this interview, you’ll find Amber’s answers to the following. Feel free to skip ahead in the video to hear the answers that interest you most!

 

0:30 How did you first become interested in making corsets?

0:50 What was your first corset like and how far have you come since then?

1:15 How did you come up with the name Lovely Rats, and how does this relate to corsetry?

1:50 What has your favorite project been so far?

2:10 Who would you like to dress in the future, or what would you consider a dream project?

2:25 Tell us more about your personal aesthetic and how you’ve branded yourself.

3:01 What other brands or designers do you look up to?

3:35 What is your favorite step in the corset construction process?

4:15 What is your least favorite part about making corsets?

4:30 What are your dreams and aspirations for Lovely Rats?

4:55 What do you do when you’re not making corsets?

5:25 If you weren’t making corsets, what do you think you’d be doing?

5:45 If you had any advice for people who follow you or want to make a corset, what kind of encouragement would you give them?

Visit Amber’s Etsy Shop, or her website here!

What questions would you ask Amber if given the chance? Leave a comment below and she might answer you!

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Lovely Rats Christine Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Lovely Rats Christine Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized: Center front is about 11.5 inches high, from underbust to lap is 9 inches, and the center back is 11 inches. Conical ribcage and rounded hip. Waist in this corset is 22″, ribcage is 28″ and lower hip is 36″.
NOTE: updated standard size measurements for a size 22″: ribcage of 30″ and lower hip of 34″.
Material 3 main layers. Outer layer is a psychedelic cotton print, which is fused to twill. Black herringbone coutil as lining.
Construction 6 panel pattern, panels assembled using the sandwich method (lock-stitched 3 times so very sturdy), and double-boned on the seams, sandwiched between two layers.
Binding Hand-made bias strips of complementary gold dupioni silk, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished inside for a couture finish.
Waist tape 1 inch wide invisible waist tape – sandwiched between the layers.
Modesty panel No back lacing protector because I didn’t order one (but I did get a complimentary storage bag). Front modesty placket is made from black herringbone coutil.
Busk Heavy-duty busk (1″ wide on each side), 10 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. Some flat steels adjacent to the busk helps keep the abdomen flat.
Boning 24 bones total, 12 on each side. There are eight 1/4″ wide flats by the front, four flats by the back grommets, and the remaining bones around the side of the body are 1/4″ spirals, double boned on the seams.
Grommets 26 two-part grommets, size #00, medium flange, quite sturdy. Gold finish. Set closer together at the waistline. Large washers on the underside, most of them have rolled nicely without splitting or cracking.
Laces Double-faced satin ribbon in bright green. Too short for my uses, but following this review, Amber started including longer laces with all of her corsets.
Price $350 USD as of 2016. To upgrade to custom-fit, this starts at $450 USD.

 

The details of the fashion fabric of this particular corset. Click through to see Amber's Etsy store for more samples.
The details of the fashion fabric of this particular corset. Click through to see Amber’s Etsy store for more samples.

Amber’s corsets have a distinctive silhouette; normally conical in the ribs and rounded over the hips, stopping at mid-to-low hip. The front of her corsets are extremely rigid while the back of her corsets tend to be more flexible – a pattern she developed on her own to accommodate for her own pronounced lumbar lordosis. As such, if you have lordosis or if you have a “shelf-bum” and you need more curve over the back, Amber will know how to draft for your body.

Amber herself is a joy to work with. Her service and communication were excellent throughout this past collaboration, and she is fun yet professional. During the construction process we had an easy rapport and she asked me whether I would like regular updates on the corsets or if I preferred to be surprised. When I preferred having pictures, she shared with me without prompting. She worked quickly and efficiently, and can make a simple, standard sized underbust corset in one workday! However, her schedule fills up quickly, so if you’re keen on ordering from Lovely Rats for a special event, join her waiting list early.

Check out her website here, or if you’re lucky you might fit one of Amber’s samples in her Etsy store.

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Lovely Rats Princess Corset Review

This entry is a summary of the review video “Lovely Rats Princess Corset Review” which you can watch on YouTube here:

Fit, length This style is standard sized: Center front is about 11.5 inches high, from underbust to lap is 9 inches, and the center back is 11 inches. Conical ribcage and rounded hip. Waist in this corset is 22″, ribcage is 28″ and lower hip is 36″.
NOTE: updated standard size measurements for a size 22″: ribcage of 30″ and lower hip of 34″.
Material This style of corset has 2 main layers, and external boning channels (instead of 3 layers with sandwiched bones like her Christine Corset). Outer layer is a cotton floral fabric, which is fused to black herringbone coutil.
Construction 6 panel pattern. The fashion fabric and lining were fused, and the panels were assembled with seam allowances facing outward. External boning channels cover the seam allowances, and more external channels are distributed in the middle of the panels as well.
Binding Bias strips of black twill, machine stitched on the outside and hand-finished inside for a couture finish.
Waist tape 1 inch wide exposed waist tape. Partial: starts at the seam between panels 1-2, and goes to the back edge.
Modesty panel Back modesty panel (4 inches wide) is suspended on the laces and boned for support. Front modesty placket is made from black herringbone coutil.
Busk Heavy-duty busk (1″ wide on each side), 10 inches long. 5 loops + pins, equidistantly spaced. Some flat steels adjacent to the busk helps keep the abdomen flat.
Boning 24 bones total, 12 on each side. There are eight 1/4″ wide flats by the front, four flats by the back grommets, and the remaining bones around the side of the body are 1/4″ spirals, single boned on the seams and also in the middle of each panel.
Grommets 24 two-part grommets, size #00, medium flange, quite sturdy. Gold finish. Set closer together at the waistline. Large washers on the underside, most of them have rolled nicely without splitting or cracking.
Laces Black double-faced satin ribbon: no spring, very strong, low-profile under clothing and easy to tie.
Price $350 USD as of 2016. To upgrade to custom-fit, this starts at $450 USD.
Decorative external boning channels are another $50-75.
Flossing on each of the boning channels is an additional $100.

 

The details of the fashion fabric of this particular corset. Click through to see Amber's Etsy store for more samples.
The details of the design of the floral princess corset. Click through to see Amber’s Etsy store for more samples.

Amber’s corsets have a distinctive silhouette; normally conical in the ribs and rounded over the hips, stopping at mid-to-low hip. The front of her corsets are extremely rigid while the back of her corsets tend to be more flexible – a pattern she developed on her own to accommodate for her own pronounced lumbar lordosis. As such, if you have lordosis or if you have a “shelf-bum” and you need more curve over the back, Amber will know how to draft for your body.

Amber herself is a joy to work with. Her service and communication were excellent throughout this past collaboration, and she is fun yet professional. During the construction process we had an easy rapport and she asked me whether I would like regular updates on the corsets or if I preferred to be surprised. When I preferred having pictures, she shared with me without prompting. She worked quickly and efficiently, and can make a simple, standard sized underbust corset in one workday! However, her schedule fills up quickly, so if you’re keen on ordering from Lovely Rats for a special event, join her waiting list early.

Check out her website here, or if you’re lucky you might fit one of Amber’s samples in her Etsy store.