Once I’d made the tail, the other key half of the costume is the bra. I found a bra that was the right color – and bought a camisole that was close to the bra. Then I went to the craft store and bought a ton of sequins and green mardi gras beads and stick on gems. I also found a bunch of pearl-edged trim at the thrift shop – and solicited a bag of seashells from friends.
I tried to make the two cups of the bra symmetrical. I failed. But I think that by trying to make them alike, I ensured that each side had the same amount and distribution of texture, and color. So even though they are not perfectly matched, one side isn’t more encrusted than the other. One doesn’t have more pearls while the other side has more shells.
When I finally tried it on, I liked how it looked, but realized that I would feel uncomfortable wearing underwear (basically) as a top. I took the camisole and hemmed it up so that it fit underneath the bra. This way, I had a solid back rather than a strap, and it felt more like a cropped shirt than a brassier. Also, it (almost) kept the stitches on the inside of the bra from poking me when I wore it.
An important lesson learned: I bought a second bra (as a back up bra) that was not quite the right color, but the same fabric as the other, better bra. This ended up being my “test it out” bra. Everything that I glued onto the “real” bra got glued onto the practice bra first. This got me comfortable with how the hot glue worked with the fabric and the pearls. I was able to experiment before potentially messing up the actual costume. I also mocked EVERYTHING up first. I pinned the strands of pearls where I wanted them. Then stitched them into place. I laid out the shells on the bra before gluing them on.