How to care for your kimono: Folding and Storage
A little extra time invested in caring for your garments will give you years of extended pleasure.
(quote from John Marshall of John's Attic)
Folding the HakamaA real challenge with those ropes.
The original Japanese page where these images came from can be found at http://kimono.boy.jp/knowhow10.php [ 男だって、着物がきたい ] (website not found anymore)
Folding a KoshihimoEven the koshi-himo can be folded in a neat way.
The original page where these images came from can be found at Immortal Geisha
For Tomesode (An expensive formal dress worn by married women) and Michiyuki (travel coat. Most michiyuki, even the darker, plainer ones, are made for women) folding instructions, please visit John's Attic. For Furisode (the most formal style of kimono worn by unmarried women in Japan.) instructions check the above section for Kosode.
Folding a susoyokeYou wouldn't expect that folding a rectangular piece of cloth couldn't be any easier but if you want to fold it right please watch the video below :)
Flat Haori himo, how to fold and store
The original Japanese page where these images came from can be found at 風流子
3) Wrap the Kimono in washi paper (Tatoushi)Never use plastic bags to store your silks. These can trap moisture and cause spotting. (an exception is the half plastic bag shown on a photo below)
Kimono are wrapped in a large piece of washi paper when storing kimono. This paper is called “tatoushi”. It has an excellent ventilation capability and absorbs and releases excess moisture from the kimono. So it is said to prevent kimono from getting moldy. Papers other than washi are poor in ventilation capability and may contain acid, so it is not suitable for wrapping kimono.
On the other hand, some suggest that kimono can be easily infested with bugs when they are wrapped with tatoushi. So there are people who claim it is better not to wrap kimono with tatoushi if you are keeping kimono in a chest made of paulownia wood which is great in humidity control. However, it is easier when kimono are wrapped in tatoushi considering the trouble of taking kimono in and out of the chest.
There are wrappers for Kimono and heko-Obi, though finding the right (western) size wrapper for your kimono can be a challenge.
There is a good chance, when buying a new kimono or send kimono for washing or treatment, these kimono will be returned wrapped in a new tatoushi. Another possibility that i have encountered recently is a bag with one side plastic and the other side a breathing fabric. Maybe only good for short storage or transporting purposes ?
4) Before putting that wrapped kimono into a drawer ...In some countries there are insects that love silk and wool clothing, in those cases you may want to use something to keep these bugs away. Mothballs do work well, but are poisonous and have a lingering odor, something you don't want while standing close to others attending a wedding or party. An inexpensive alternative would be using camphor cubes (shounou). They are inexpensive and have a moderately pleasant smell and the aroma dissipates quickly once the garment is hung to air.
3 examples that will keep the bugs away:
More expensive but with a very good aroma would be Bochu-Koh Kyoto Incense. These packets are used to protect the garments from moths or other insects. They are made from real Kyoto Incense of a special type that repels bugs. They have a wonderful scent and will not leave you kimono smelling like Moth-Balls! For best use, they should be used along with washi-paper (Tatoushi) Kimono envelopes as they should never be in direct contact with silk.
Whatever you pick, just don't forget to wrap the cubes in breathing paper so that it does not come in contact with any clothing, otherwise it may cause discoloration. Don't forget to replace the insect repellent once a year or by the instructions written on the package.
5) Storing the KimonoIf you are the proud owner of a tansu you already know where to put these wrapped kimono's in.
If this is not an option for like say... cost wis, a dresser width wide drawers will work; camphor and cedar hope chests, as well as map drawers or cabinets all offer a wonderful options for storing and viewing.