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Last year I took this photo of Master Leith in his Ionar and Leine at Kingdom Bardic and A&S Championship.


(On that page are some other sources)

His clothes excited me because I had recently taken what I call the “Finnecan PDF” to heart- (http://coblaith.net/EarlyGaelicDress/EarlyGaelicDress12bw.pdf), and his outfit nailed it. So I went and made a leine (this one). Actually, while I ordered the fabric, cut out the fabric, pinned the fabric- that’s when I discovered that the cat had peed all over the inside of the sewing machine. SO I had a non-sca seamstress sew it up (and boy howdy was she worried about the project). It’s easily my favorite tunic, but I shouldn’t wear it every day. Because I’m a slob.

This spring, I finally got around to cutting out and putting together my own Ionar (Inar). Basically, we have an undertunic / overtunic setup again, I’m just trying to use the Irish words.

Here’s what I wanted:
1. square construction.
2. round neck hole.
3. “within a handsbreadth of the knee”
4. “shorter sleeved” — to the elbows.

I cut the pieces out, and laid them down. It was pretty straightforward to cut a hole and sew out the neckhole. Svava’s advice to “aim small” was spot-on. I don’t want a much bigger neckhole than this one. When I cut it out and hand-stitched the neckline, it stood up funny, which I blamed on the wool and my weird tension in the hand sewing. Then I laid out the gores and the arm pieces. But the arm pieces seemed a little narrow so I cut off the ends of the gores (the widest parts) and used them for little gussets in the arms (I don’t have any more of this fabric- I had to use every little piece). Then I pinned the gores down (my gores were five-sided. Triangles with the tips cut off because I was worried about chest size so I didn’t go on the diagonal, and then the part cut off I used for the gussets). I sewed the arms and the gores and discovered my first “learning moment.” Then I sewed the sides together.

Because of the straight lines I created on the ends to make up the gussets in the arm pits, I got to the straight part and stopped. This gives me a flapping piece in the front and back. I’ve had a tunic in the past where I followed the triangle-then-rectangle path with the seam and it just didn’t hang right. I figured if I did this, it’d be fine.

And last, I threw it in the washer to “soften it up” around the neck and “start the fray” along the edges (I was really aiming at the fraying like Master Leith and Eulalia have.) That’s when I discovered my second “learning moment” — which you can probably guess from here.

2015-06-05 06.58.35

Well. It actually looks pretty good. It’s tied with one of Erennach’s cardweavings. The two lessons I’ve learned- first, the gores should come to a point. There’s some major weirdness with how it’s stitched together in the armpit. Basically, I went down the arm, turned a pretty tight turn, went down the side. Which left an opening at the top. So, my handling of that is awkward. Make sure these gores are real triangles 😉

Second learning moment– I didn’t wash it before I sewed it. Generally, I wash all the fabric as if it’s clothes I just brought home from a muddy event. Warm and cold in the washing machine. I do that before it gets stores. I made the assumption that it was pre-washed, and then I threw it in the washer “like you do.” I actually put it in the dryer too, but the wife made me get it back out. I lost about three inches in length and about an inch in width. It still looks ok, but it’s not superb. (It needs some trimming too, because one of the gores is oddly long).