thank you all for the wonderful replies--i'm definitely inspired to create more!
violet jayne--yours is wonderful! thanks for pointing it out. i love the sailboat fabric and the net on the bottom
arcadian green-- the pirate fabric is from joanns last summer, the print is really small (the skulls are less than an inch) so i liked that. they might still have it on their website.
tattered spider-- i didn't plan to wear it inside out, but it did work fine. it isn't tight on me, so the shells weren't noticeable at all, maybe because they are all fairly rounded? i was kind of surprised, but it is definitely comfortable both ways.
azuzuinatree-- it only took a few days to sew the corset, it has three parts-the brocade(which is lined with iron-on interfacing), the lining, and the boning (which is on the lining seams using seam tape for guides). I kept the pieces separate and embroidered, patched, beaded, etc. the brocade over a couple of months here and there. I think it would take a few weeks of afternoons if I worked on it everyday.
Lil Dead Girl--yes on the shells fragility! i didn't intend this for hooping, it just happened and it's the only action photo i have! the shells didn't break, but they did come loose a bit. I hope you have great fun at burning man this year too. i can't confess to how much time i spend daydreaming about it!
cocomoo--thanks... we can credit my boyfriend for making me look good in the photo...
fervidfemme, Kymy-- i'm not sure which pattern I used, but I'll find it. I did reshape the edges and refit the seams to my own measurements, but it was a good beginning, so worth using anyway.