Kimono & Other Information
Wearing and Folding Women's Garments
1 About Kimonos
Kimono, jubans and haori are best kept folded for storage, rather than on a western style hanger for long periods, although this is entirely up to you. The Japanese have a specific and clever way of folding kimono that allows them to be opened up and worn without ironing every time, as the creases from the folds lie in such a way that they look smart. Folding instructions can be seen below. Haori, of course, do not have those extra front sections that give an overlapping front to a kimono, so, of course, only the narrow front edges of the haori fold back, they don't fold all the way out to the sides, as they are seen to do with kimono in the diagram below. Other than that, haori are folded the same way as kimono. See the video demonstration of kimono folding further down this page
Kimono, jubans and haori are best kept folded for storage, rather than on a western style hanger for long periods, although this is entirely up to you. The Japanese have a specific and clever way of folding kimono that allows them to be opened up and worn without ironing every time, as the creases from the folds lie in such a way that they look smart. Folding instructions can be seen below. Haori, of course, do not have those extra front sections that give an overlapping front to a kimono, so, when folding, only the narrow front edges of the haori fold back, they don't fold all the way out to the sides, as they are seen to do with kimono in the diagram below. Other than that, haori are folded the same way as kimono. See the video demonstration of kimono folding further down this page
Kimono need to be aired out at least seasonally and before and after each time they are worn. Many people have their kimono dry cleaned now and then. Traditionally they are completely taken apart to be cleaned, then hand sewn together again, but this is expensive and difficult, although still practiced, particularly for high-end garments.
The names of the various parts of a kimono can be seen in the diagram below:
Doura - upper lining on a woman's kimono
Eri - collar
Fuki - hem guard
Furi - sleeve below the armhole
Maemigoro - front main panel
Miyatsukuchi - opening under the sleeve
Okumi - front inside panel
Sode - sleeve
Sodeguchi - sleeve opening
Sodetsuke - kimono armhole
Susomawashi - lower lining
Tamoto - sleeve pouch
Tomoeri - over-collar (collar protector)
Uraeri - inner collar
Ushiromigoro - back main section
Yuki - centre seam to sleeve edge measurement
How to adjust a long kimono to the right length:
Adjusting kimono length - an easy way to cheat and save time when shortening it the traditional way - when wearing a kimono shortened to length the traditional way (see above), with a big fold tied in place at the waist, you can cheat a bit to save time by making the fold at the waist and just loosely stitching it in place with simple, very large stitches. Don't worry about the big stitches showing on the outside, the sash will cover them. This way, you can have your kimono adjusted to length the traditional way (rather than taking up a hem or losing pattern on the bottom) without having to faff about with making that length adjusting fold every time you put it on. The Japanese do this with children's kimonos (fold showing outside) and with men's ones (fold usually on the inside), although not with adult females' ones but it works just as well when done to women's kimonos.
How to do it: instructions and photos below.
Put on the kimono and, at the edge of one front, make a fold at waist level, to make the kimono the correct length (remember the sash will raise the kimono an inch or so, so make allowances for that). This fold, which shows below the obi sash, is called ohashiori. Use a couple of pins to hold the fold in place, with the pins exactly where your waist is. Repeat at the other front. Take the kimono off and pin the same amount of fold all the way round the kimono at the same level, then sew along the pin line. It doesn't have to be neatly sewn, just quick, very big stitches will do fine since they get covered by the sash. See the pictures below.
NOTE A plain kimono or one with an all-over pattern can easily be hemmed, although the Japanese never hem them. Just fold it up the required amount and loosely stitch it; you don't need to fold in the top edge, cut it or do anything complicated.
How to put on a yukata kimono and hanhaba (half breadth) obi. It is a Youtube video, in two parts below. If you only want the hanhaba obi instructions, they are in Part 2. It stops rather abruptly but the last bit would just show that she just pulls the entire obi round so that the bow sits at the centre back, then she makes sure the kimono is still lying smoothly.
Part 1 - video here
Putting on a yukata & hanhaba obi - Part 2 - video here
A video showing how to fold your kimono here
The picture below shows how Japanese geta should be worn. Geta are wooden shoes, with thong toe straps and are worn with bare feet.
Tying obi: (see Kimono Info page 10, where I have a link to an obi tying video on the page and useful obi tying links too) If the links below don't open, you may have pop-ups blocked on your PC. Try holding the Ctrl key down as you click the links.
HOW TO TIE A WOMAN'S NAGOYA OBI IN A TAIKO KNOT Click here for instructions (opens in a new window, leaving this page open too)
Here is a VIDEO OF HOW TO PRODUCE WOMAN'S NAGOYA OBI IN A TAIKO KNOT, without actually tying the knot, also showing obiage, obijime and koshi-himo holding it in place Click here for instructions (opens in a new window, leaving this page open too)
How to tie a man's kaku obi and a woman's yukata/hanhaba obi in a clam knot.Click here for instructions (opens in a new window, leaving this page open too). There is lots of info on wearing and tying a variety of men's Japanese garments on that site, it's well worth a browse through. Although in Japanese, the pictures give clear instructions.
In the rear view picture below, you can see that the obijime (the narrow, braided, silk cord) goes through the rear knot and, once tied at the front, the ends are pulled towards the back again and tucked in at the side. You can also see a white obiage (the soft silk sash at the top of the obi) coming out of the top of the big, rear taiko knot and going round to the front, where it is tied at the centre and tucked partially under the top of the sash. The obiage goes through the rear knot, covering the makura (obi bustle pad, to give the rear knot a fuller shape at the top) In the front view picture below, you see the pink obiage at the top of the obi sash, partially tucked in, and the obijime cord around the centre, tied in a knot at the front, with the ends pulled towards the back. These items keep the obi's rear knot firmly in place. The younger one is, the more of the obiage is allowed to show at the top of the obi The aim is to create an overall tube-like shape, with no womanly curves,
The traditional way to wear a kimono is with it pulled low at the back of the neck. The younger one is, the lower it may be worn. The neck is thought to be the most sensuous part of the body, so is displayed with hair up and rear neckline low. The collar/neckband is folded in half, inwards, and the neckband of the juban kimono beneath also shows at the edges of the kimono's neckband
Haori are kimono jackets, made to be worn on top of kimonos but are also excellent worn with western-world clothes, dressed down with jeans or dressed up with a skirt or dress. The picture below gives you an idea of the body length of the average haori. The sleeve length will be approximately wrist length, dependent on the length of your arms.
Below you can see examples of Japanese haoris, some worn open and some with a belt added