Wrinkles are a reality for all textiles, and they can really be an eyesore. All the same, wrinkles happen, and we all need a way to address them.
- Beware of any steamer that creates water drops, or leaves them on textiles. You do not want water drops on your silk. Water drops will turn into stains on your kimono.
- Steamers come in a wide variety of styles and looks, find what works for you. I use a handheld steamer.
- Steamers can use tap or distilled water. Be aware of what kind of water your steamer uses. I prefer to use a handheld steamer that can use tap water.
- Look for a steamer that has an interchangeable head, which includes a lint brush velvet cover. I use the lint brush style and love it. As you steam you are also helping to brush away any subtle loose fibers on the surface.
- If you have never steamed clothing before, practice on some clothing like a cotton shirt.
- Organics and synthetic materials will behave differently, in my experience organic fibers respond well to steaming.
- Seams that need to be reset will benefit from careful ironing to reset and press the seam into its more crisp structure. I have found that steams is not good for creating clean sharp pressed seams and creases in garments.
- When in doubt, google something. There is a lot of well-researched and written information online about the care of different kinds of textiles. Japanese kimono are no different than any other garment, they too need cleaning and care.
- Steam is hot, handle with care. Handle your steamer with care to avoid burning yourself or others.
First off, below is the hand-held steamer I use. I am not sponsored or paid to show this steamer. This is not a formal endorsement, this is just the steamer I use and have had success with. This is a generic steamer, and it uses tap water. I prefer using tap water so I don't have to buy distilled water. There are advantages to using distilled water steamers, and you can find in-depth write-ups about the differences between tap water versus distilled water steamers. My steamer can be ordered online from many places, here is one such place: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N1QE5ME/
Step 1 - hang your item. For this tutorial, I am going to use a silk haori. I find a kimono hanger is best for kimono and haori steaming. These kinds of hangers will let you best work with the overall surface area. Nice straight and clean seams will help you with your steaming work. I find hanging your textiles is better than laying them on a hard surface like a floor.
Step 2 - Prime and set up your steamer. Make certain that the item is in good working order, and that it is clean. As always work in clean safe working conditions. When you are steaming or ironing textiles, be aware that heat treating a stain will set it. If there is a stain you want to try and fix you do NOT want to iron or steam the stain because it will set the stain.
Step 3 - Time to steam. In the photo below you can see a rather deeply creased wrinkle in the sleeve of this vintage haori. What I was taught was to first gently steam the general area WITHOUT touching the textile, the objective is to just gently warm up the area and get the fibers to begin to relax. I usually will gently steam the area for a few seconds, moving in a circular fashion.
Then I start at the top of the wrinkle and begin gently 'petting' the wrinkle downward. I do not apply hard pressure, but rather gently coax the wrinkle out. I start at the top and work my way down to work with the follow of gravity. One of the things I am careful to AVOID is pressing hard and creasing or additional wrinkles in the fabric.
Here is the starting wrinkle. Below is the finished results. With just a few seconds worth of work, I was able to completely release the wrinkle.
There you have it. It's a fairly straightforward process and is a beginner-friendly process that is fairly straightforward. There are all very the internet much more advanced guides dedicated to steaming different kinds of textiles, and provide additional more advanced insight.
Word Of Caution - water drops on silk will create stains. When using a steamer beware of moisture condensation, and water droplets that can form. I let my steamer build up a lot of water drops. Be certain to watch your steamer and clean it off asap if you see water. Beware the heat, and do not burn yourself. When cleaning your steamer it should not be on, and not hot. STEAM WILL BURN YOU. Do not let moisture accumulate on your steamer, it will transfer to your textiles.
There we have it, I hope you found this simple tutorial helpful. Happy kimono wearing <3