The Lady Erupts



Leora Wambach


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

My wonderful mother in law, who stood in the freezing cold to take these pictures.

Outline the story …

When the theme was announced, it was my husband actually, who suggested a volcano. He said I wanted to do something unique that would stand out amongst such a broad and colorful theme. It took months to come up with the idea of how I wanted to do it, and what I wanted the end product to look like. Eventually, I came to black fabric with lights, and the rest (if you'll forgive the lava pun) 'flowed' from there.

I spent a full three days studying videos of volcanos and pictures of lava before I even did my design sketch. Then I threw away four design sketches before I made one I was really happy with. The further I went, though, the more excited I got. I've always loved volcanos. There's something powerful in how frightening and destructive they are, and something inherently beautiful, to me, in a mountain that can 'light' itself. It felt, as I worked on this dress, like a sort of homage to self realization. That a woman can stand tall even as she's slowly destroying herself in the hopes of becoming something beautiful. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's ever felt like the only path toward beauty was partially tearing myself, or a project, apart. I think that's why I chose the title I did.

Outline the construction…

This was a surprisingly challenging project. I started with a self-drafted pattern of a 50's inspired design, and went from there. I went through three mockups before I found a shape I was ultimately happy with. After the mockup stage, I tore the successful mockup apart and I used that to recreate my pattern. Backwards, I know, but I needed to do it that way for it to work how I wanted.

The base layer is bridal satin. I lined only the bodice with sturdy cotton, with just a few pieces of featherlite boning between to keep the bodice up. From there, I added a later of chiffon over the base skirt and attached it to the bodice. The skirt layers are both full circles. I added embroidery to the bodice to give a layer of orange beneath the lights and then spent three straight days hand stitching on the led light string.

Once the lights were on, it was another several days of pinning and twisting tuule "just so" to create the lava eruption at the shoulder and then the trails down the volcano body. I surrounded the orange and red with black to emulate 'cooling' lava as well as rock formations.

The last step was going through and stitching down the tuule one pin-point at a time, which (of course) took much longer than I had anticipated. The end result, though, is a piece I am really proud of.




  1. Avatar Cindy Cation Designs on May 8, 2023 at 6:40 am

    I seriously love this whole concept and look so much! The lava flowing with the lights on that dark background…*chef’s kiss*

  2. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 9, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    Love the contrast of the snow and the dress. Such a stunning creation !!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.