Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mo Ionar

This is the progress of my ionar, a piece of outerwear from the 7th-9th cen CE in Ireland. I'm trying to construct a full ensemble for my SCA persona, a 850-900 CE Irish woman living outside the Viking colonized areas. Some of the information that follows may be overkill; it's a rough draft for documentation when/if I submit this for a SCA arts & sciences event.

I have had this fabric for a while, and knew I wanted to do something dramatic and fairly extravagant with it. It's woven, wool & silk, and has great color, but the weave is lightweight enough to suit Gleann Abhann's weather. I believe I either got it from or

[background rough documentation ensues, feel free to skip ahead: The evidence for the ionar is sparse at best, but it is mentioned in both of the best-regarded sources for early period Irish clothing research. When also compared with the Kentish woman's overdress (in cloth and Clothing of Anglo-Saxon England), the open-fronted overdress of Anglo-Saxon women (as mentioned in Early Dress of Anglo-Saxon England), and the portrait of Mary in the Book of Kells, it seemed appropriate to make the Ionar na Mná (woman's ionar) as an open-fronted overdress. This also seemed ideal when considering the fabric chosen, as it the materials and colors would have been a display of visible wealth, and therefore reserved for occasions for display.]

After reading Finnacan Dub's guide, I also consulted the SCA-Garb list, as to whether I should include all the gores used in constructing t-tunics the "period way." Given their advice, I initially constructed it with just the side gores. That proved not to give me the (for lack of a better word) "swing" needed to go over the full skirts of the leine. So, after I looked at the construction pictures of Rebecca Mörk's Viking coat (site not in English), I decided that a back center gore was in order.
Mo Ionar

So, I narrowed the side gores, and, using the "waste not, want not" principal of period fabric use, decided to use that reclaimed fabric as my center gore. While frustrating, I think this was a great "in-period" exercise, because garments must have been altered and repaired in similar fashion.
Mo Ionar

Here it is after the main construction. I machine basted everything, but all of the exterior is finished by hand. The bottom hem is currently unfinished, as are the sleeves. I actually plan to narrow the sleeves once I try it on over my other garb to see how wide they need to be. There will be edging embroidery and an appliqué band.
Mo Ionar

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