「帯締め管理」How to restore obijime tassels

I usually buy only vintage or antique obijime (kimono chord) and most of you are probably familiar with the sometimes pretty beat up tassels.

私は少し怠け者でそんなに気にしないけど、「Naomi no kimono asobi」が帯締めの管理やタッセルのリメークについて分かりやすい説明を発表しました。

As a rather lazy person I tend to not care much, but the other day I stumbled upon this instruction by “Naomi no kimono asobi” about how to restore those ugly tassels.
Since its such a great tutorial, I really wanted to share it with you and Naomi gave me her blessing.

She states: “Unfortunately, more often than not with antique obijime – the tassels at the end are an absolute knotted, matted, torn mess when I receive them. Having the tassels like this can make what used to be a lovely obijime look tacky and exceptionally sloppy and unattractive when worn.”

To tackle this she created step by step instructions on how to make them look splendid again.


So here we go.

Naomi no kimono asobi’s
How to restore obijime tassels


Project Obijime - Original Storage

What you need:

Project Obijime - Work Space

– Paper scissors (紙用ハサミ)
– Trimming scissors (トリム用ハサミ)
– Embroidery scissors (刺繍用ハサミ)
– unused boxwood comb(未使用の櫛)
– scotch tape (テープ)
– lint roller (コロコロ)
– paper tissues (acid free if possible) (ティッシュペーパー)
– iron with steam function or a water kettle (アイロンかスチーマー)

Before & after

Project Obijime - Case Study One

Step 1 – Comb (ステップ1:梳る)

Project Obijime - Case Study One

Make sure the teeth on the comb you use are not too fine (but also, not to wide).
Also make sure it’s clean and hasn’t been used on your hair – you don’t want to distribute all the hair dirt and oils on the end.


Project Obijime - Case Study One

The goal of combing the tassels is to eventually be able to pull your comb smoothly through from bottom to ends ensuring all knots have been removed.
To do this – treat the tassel as though it is knotted hair. You DON’T want to start combing from the bottom! You’ll only make the knots worse!


Project Obijime - Case Study One

Start combing from the very ends. Make sure (like you would with human hair) that you hold onto the base securely while combing out the knots. This will help prevent you from accidentally pulling out any of the tassels.

Once you get the knots out from the very end…move down the tassel a little and continue combing. Keep repeating bit by bit until you reach the base and are able to pull the comb through the entire tassel smoothly.


Project Obijime - Case Study One

Already much better.

Step 2 – Steam (ステップ2:スチーム)

Project Obijime - Case Study One

IMPORTANT NOTE!: Do you know what material your obijime is made of? If not – I STRONGLY recommend doing a burn test before starting any sort of steaming or ironing:

Please do the burn test – that way – if your obijime turns out to be synthetic, you won’t accidentally melt it!

注意:帯締めの素材分かりますか?? 「燃やすテスト」をしてから進んだ方がオススメです。

Now it is steam time! スチームタイム☆

Here – we want to start softening the threads – so burst it with steam until you can see the threads becoming more relaxed.

PLEASE USE COMMON SENSE AND SAFETY! Steam burns are nasty! So make sure you keep your hands far enough away from your iron/kettle/steamer.


Step 3 – Comb again Steam again (ステップ3:繰り返し梳るとスチーム)

Project Obijime - Case Study One

While your tassels are still warm from the steam – run your comb gently through to smooth out any knots.
Doing this while it is still warm helps straighten the threads out. Make sure you hold onto the base firmly while doing so!


Project Obijime - Case Study One

Project Obijime - Case Study One

Steam again

Project Obijime - Case Study One

Using the back of the comb while the threads are still warm to smooth the silk threads and to help them set straight.

Step 4 – Iron press (ステップ4:アイロンプレッス)

Project Obijime - Case Study One

BEFORE YOU START! Did you do your burn test like mentioned before??

My obijime is silk – so I felt comfortable enough to use the iron directly on the tassel to steam press it further. Doing this on the tassel did not damage the tassels – if anything, it seemed to rejuvenate.

However, if you are nervous about using direct heat – use a pressing cloth.

If your obijime is synthetic – you will want to use both a pressing cloth – and a much lower temperature so you don’t accidentally melt it!


Project Obijime - Case Study One

After ironing.

Step 5 – Cutting (ステップ5:切る)

Project Obijime - Case Study One

Line up your obijime evenly. Take your clippers and clip a straight line. Working bit by bit will more likely ensure a nice straight line than one big clip! Slow and steady for the best results.


Project Obijime - Case Study One

Using my embroidery scissors – I did some fine trimming of the ends. You can see I’m holding onto the base firmly while pulling the tassel taunt with my fingers.


Project Obijime - Case Study One

After snipping away – line them up side by side to make sure they are nice and even.


Project Obijime - Case Study One

Yay! All done! So much nicer than before.

Step 6 – Wrapping (ステップ6:ラッピング)

Project Obijime - Case Study One

Now, it’s time to wrap those lovely smooth tassels up to keep them in good condition!
Grab some tissue paper and place your obijime on it like so. Fold the top part down onto the tassel.

Project Obijime - Case Study One

Fold the bottom part of the paper over onto the top of the tassel and other paper fold.

Project Obijime - Case Study One

I wrapped the rest of the paper around the obijime and secured with tape.

Step 7 – Folding (ステップ7:畳む)

Project Obijime - Case Study One

Fold the obijime in half, then thirds. Wrap some tissue paper around the middle and secure with tape – and voila! Done! One very neatly bundled obijime!


Project Obijime - Case Study One

☆ 完成 ☆

Naomi also restored other types of obijime and these are the before / after results:

Project Obijime - Case Study Two

Project Obijime - Case Study Four

Project Obijime - Finished Obijime!

At the moment Naomis page is under construction but you can give her a follow on Facebook and her homepage later, once its live again.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiKimonoAsobi/
Homepage: https://www.kimonoasobi.com/ (currently down)

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