Jill Nielsen wrote:
When I first made my hakama, I put a stitch of white thread at each "peak" and each "Valley" at the hemline in case the pleats decided to wander off their original place- this makes it much easier to fold, or iron properly. To wash it: First spot clean any dirty spots that have appeared, then put some soap in warm water in the bathtub, and lower the hakama in unfolded, but extended, in the shape it would be if you were wearing it. Hold it by the waistband, and rub it from top to bottom a few times, flip it over and do the same. Drain the water and fill with clear water and repeat the whole process a couple times until you don't get any more soap off it. Then put it on the clothesline (remember those?) and put clothespins at the bottom of each pleat to hold it in place while it dries. Oh, yah- and get the neighbourhood cat to keep the birds away from it while it dries, or you may be doing the whole process again. Iron it once it is almost dry.
Another trick that Carol Shifflett taught me is to iron your hakama after spraying it with diluted vinegar. If it has any synthetics in it, it will hold that pleat forever. (use an ironing cloth, and be sure you get it right, or you will forever fight with it to fold it properly)
OR.... Wear it until it smells so bad that your fellow aikidoka won't play with you anymore, then get a new one.
OR.....If your community has a dry cleaner who understands the folds in a hakama, bring it there, but I have heard so many horror stories about bad ironing jobs from dry cleaners. (and who can blame them? There are a few wedge shaped pleats in there)
Watch out for the"step on your hakama face plant" move we all recognize so well from when we first wore hakama. My first one was shorter- for that reason (although, I still tripped on it a few times...doh!)
good luck, congrats.
e ya later
No offense, but wow, what a lot of work
How I wash my hakama:
1) Throw it in the washer.
2) Throw it in the dryer.
Never had any particular problems - at least no more than washing any other colored piece of cloth. A lot of people seem to worry about the folds, but I gave up on that years ago. After all, it's really just a Japanese sweatsuit - anybody iron their running shorts? If you're really worried about appearance than keep a seperate hakama aside for demonstrations.