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By lunchbox739
#446665
The following is a detailed idiot proof description on how I dye flight suits to a GB2 Charcoal Grey using a Black Tru Spec as the base. This guide utilizes a slightly tweaked version of Jarius's recipe and is the best way that I have found to dye a single suit the easiest using top load washing machine. (sorry you front load machine owners...I don't own one therefore I can make no guarantees as to your results)

Jarius original recipe can be found here: http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... f=4&t=5149

Step 1: Prepping the suit.

Unfold and hang the flight suit up. unzip all pockets and the front of the suit. Using a seam ripper remove all tags and the Velcro on the left chest. This can be tricky as smaller sized suits sometimes have Velcro that is sewn over other seams. you must be careful not to rip seams that are not a part of the Velcro attachment or you will be re sewing the front of the suit after its dyed. This is the seam ripper I use, it can be found at most any wal-mart, target or fabric supply store.

seam ripper: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Seam-Ripper/19757901

Step 2: Color stripping

This is by far the most time consuming part of the process and the trickiest in my opinion. The color the suit is once this step is completed WILL affect the shade of grey the end product will be. THE WATER MUST BE HOT. AS HOT AS YOU CAN STAND IT. If your machines hot water allows you to put your hand in it for an extended period it isn't hot enough. You can shut the cold water off if need be just make sure you turn it back on when it stops filling or you can damage your machine.

Cycle 1: My washing machines are top load models, using the small load size and hot cycle settings....let machine fill until the machine stops running water. Add 1 cup of bleach and stir water with a yard stick. Put the flight suit in the machine and press down with yard stick to make sure the suit is completely submerged. Let the machine run its cycle, then machine dry normal with a dryer sheet

Cycle 2: Same as Cycle 1 except this time use 2 cups of bleach

Cycle 3: Same as Cycle 1 instead of bleach use 2 packets of RIT powder color remover. Machine dry normal cycle

Once the bleach and color remover cycles are complete we will get a glimpse of what the suit looks like so far. Through the bleach cycles the suit should go brown then lighter brown. After color remover the suit should be a light tan. This light tan is the shade we want pre dye as it yields the best shades of greys.

Step 3: Dye
For a single suit the easiest way to go is using your kitchen sink, but be prepared, you will get blue dye EVERYWHERE if your not careful. I do NOT recommend using porcelain type sinks as the blue dye would be a serious bitch to clean up. For best results and easiest cleanup stainless steel is the way to go.

Remember you are putting a suit in the sink as well so leave some room for it or you will overflow the dye bath onto your countertops and floors. I also recommend putting a large pot of water on the stove to boil...you will probably need it during the dye process to keep your dye bath super hot. A plastic bin and chemical gloves are helpful as well for transporting the suit to the washing machine from the sink and back

Using a standard stainless steel 6" deep basin sink, fill with HOT water, as hot as you can stand it. Add 4oz of RIT Kelly Green liquid dye (half bottle) and 8oz of RIT Royal Blue liquid dye (whole bottle) and 1 cup of salt. Stir dye bath to ensure the dyes are mixed consistently and salt is dissolved.

Add the suit to the dye bath making sure it is fully submerged. Let the suit sit for 10 minutes agitating it frequently and pushing down air bubbles. You MUST agitate the suit frequently or the color will not be consistent.

Remove the suit from dye bath and take it to your washing machine....run the suit through a rinse cycle (shortening the time it takes manually) and let the machine go into the spin cycle to thoroughly rinse. Once complete, remove the suit from the washing machine and head back to your dye bath.

Remember that pot of water we put on to boil? use it. pour some of that water into the dye bath to make sure it is still HOT enough to scald.

Put the suit back into the dye bath for 10 minutes just like before, agitating frequently and pushing those air bubbles down. After 10 minutes pull it out and take it back to your washing machine repeating the shortened rinse and spin cycle as before.

Once the final rinse is complete, run the suit through a regular Cold cycle with your preferred detergent, then machine dry with a dryer sheet.

Once you have completed this final dry cycle...you will be the proud owner of a shiny new GB2 Charcoal Grey Flightsuit. Shades may vary slightly as the fabric of each suit reacts differently to the whole process. You may also experience some of the Velcro adjustment straps coming loose. In those cases I recommend that you take it to a consignment and alterations shop to re seam the Velcro if you cant sew yourself.

That's it folks. This is basically the same process I use when I do flightsuit runs I just do it in bulk with larger quantities of dye and water. It can be very tedious and extremely messy but you CAN do it yourself. I hope this helps someone.

For you folks without the desire and facilities to attempt this yourself look for my next run some time in the fall of 2013.

-Lunchbox739
-Ash
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User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785167
Do you have a photo of what the light tan after Cycle 3 should look like? Also, Jarius' recipe calls for 1/4 cup of Kelly Green RIT dye, but yours calls for a 1/2 cup (4 oz)... Did you find that the extra Kelly Green worked better?
User avatar
By lunchbox739
#4785174
Unfortunately photos rarely show the exact shade of the suits, they either turn out darker or lighter so I gave up on trying to get pics.

Using half a bottle of kelly green has yielded me the most consistent results when dying single suits in the kitchen sink. I have had 1 or 2 people say that in certain types of light, usually direct florescent lighting, that they can see a slight hint of green. In natural light and most other lighting its always grey though.

This tutorial is really nothing more then a combination of both his recipes, just rearranged to a process that works well for me.I took it upon myself to work out the proportions of dye to water so I could dye multiple flight suits in a 55 gallon dye bath to speed up runs of flight suits.

Typically once you run the last cycle with 2 packets of color remover the suit is either very light tan or grey with a hint of tan...the light tan is what you want before dye...but if it ends up grey with a hint of tan it still comes out pretty damn close with a slight shade of blue. I have had maybe 1 in 50 suits that didn't come out an acceptable color when color stripping was done...so if you follow this tutorial to the letter... you should get a perfect or close approximation to the charcoal grey you want.

or follow Jarius's, his method works well for him or he wouldn't have posted it, (and everything I have done here was based off his work) what I have posted here just works better for me.

Hope that helps you out
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785177
It helps, and I found this photo in a previous topic of yours, which you said is what it looked like after you used the color remover... I do notice the slight hint of tan, but like you said, unless you have perfect lighting and an expensive factory calibrated monitor, a photo will never show the exact color or representation of what it should look like...

Image

I should be getting my black Tru-Spec soon, so I should be able to try this by the end of the week... Will let you know how successful I am, but I have faith that you and Jarius know what you are both doing...
User avatar
By lunchbox739
#4785197
that's probably the best picture I took...the shades are off a little from what they were in reality and that photo is a good example of how the suits react differently to the stripping process. all those suits went through the exact same process yet clearly you can see the difference in shade there. That difference WILL affect the final color of the suit... good luck pal...lt's not a difficult task just time consuming and potentially messy.
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By pyhasanon
#4785199
LOL! Thanks! Actually looking forward to it... So far, I haven't really made anything myself for this GB uniform progress, other than the knee/elbow pads, so I'd like to add something else to the list of things "I made myself..." Just really don't have the time for it all, but I can make time for this...
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By pyhasanon
#4785266
Another question - for the second dye bath, do you add more dye to the bath to compensate for the amount of dye used in the first bath? Or is hot water the only thing we need to add for the second bath, and just using the remainder of the dye left from the first bath...?

Thanks!
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785560
Is there such thing as "over bleaching?" Like, if you used more bleach than you needed? Or ran it for an extra bleach cycle?
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785576
Giving it a try... After first two cycles, it still looks dark... The insides of the pockets are a nice brown, but the rest of the suit still looks black... I wonder if it's not hot enough... Shut off the cold water, and even poured a pot of hot water in another cycle of two cups bleach, so hopefully this turns out right...
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785587
Extra 2-cup Bleach cycle just finished with the extra pot of hot water added... Looks much better, and much browner... Just waiting for the dryer cycle to complete so I can give the RIT color remover cycle a go... Hopefully this all goes well... *crossing fingers*
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785595
Perhaps, but I think I figured it out now... we will see how the post RIT Color Remover cycle goes, but I have a good feeling I got it now...
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785607
Well, I found who the culprit was... My wife used up all of the hot water giving my kids a bath, and then taking a bath herself... So, while the water was hot as I was checking it, it would turn cold in the middle of it's "fill" stage... That's what I get for not checking the water before starting the cycle... That one cycle that turned out perfect was the one time my wife was not using the hot water... Go figure... But now, I'm out of bleach, and I'm out of RIT remover, not to mention out of hot water and probably spending a bunch on my water and electricity bill... Sigh... At least I have a clean family! LOL!
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785612
You mean if the suit is still a "dark" brown, I can still proceed with the dye process, and it will just lighten up after a couple of washes? Or should I buy more RIT color remover tomorrow and try again? This is more painful than I thought it would be... Sigh...
User avatar
By lunchbox739
#4785617
No no no...you misunderstand.....if you dye while its still dark brown...the brown WILL show through.....since you have done multiple bleaches and a color remover with water that was cold...I'd reccomend you bleach cycle with 2 cups and color remover cycle again with HOT water....if its still dark brown after that I don't know what to tell you....this recipe has never failed me...not even once. And that's with at least 30 to 40 suits under my belt....

With everything you have put it through so far the likely hood of the suit being lighter then needed after stripping is higher. Which after dye would produce a grey suit with a blue tint. If you have a blue tinted suit...regular washes will tone it down over time... that is what I was referring too above ..
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785622
Ah, got it... After the last cycle of Bleach and mildly hot water, it turned a nice light brown, so I'm giving it a shot... If it doesn't work, I'm going to buy more bleach and RIT color remover anyways, and I still have enough dye to do another batch... If it works, I don't need to spend money on more stuff, and I save another evening of work... So, either way, it doesn't hurt... Wish me luck!!! =D
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785630
I've been documenting them, but I won't be able to upload them until tomorrow evening... Gots to get some sleep for work tomorrow... Plus, the suit's in the washer still, so I won't be able to really see how it turned out till the morning after I leave it in the dryer overnight... Will keep y'all in the loop...
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785646
Well, it looks like it's black again... Sigh... Gotta go get some more bleach and RIT color remover, I guess... I think what hurts me the most out of all of this is how much water this process takes... I'm going to hate seeing my water bill for this month...
User avatar
By PssdffJay
#4785685
Start with the rit remover this time. I actually boiled the water on my stove in a big canning pot and let it simmer on medium heat while I agitated my suit on the stove. Dumped it, then did it again. After that, everything else was in the washer.
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785790
Posted my photos here... http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... =4&t=36423

I figured I'd build my own thread on my GB Uniform instead of filling up somebody else's thread with my own photos... Thanks for the help so far, Lunchbox and Jay!
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785802
Lunchbox, I'm assuming the light tan color you said it should be before the dying process is much lighter than this? Working towards a bleach tan right now once I get all the supplies...

Image
User avatar
By lunchbox739
#4785831
Yeah a fair bit lighter actually....your suit is stumping me...I've never encountered this issue before.....I'm going to ask simply because I cant think of another reason why your suit would be this ....resistant to stripping..... what are you using for bleach? I'm not trying to speak to you like your stupid or anything like that but a bottle with the words "color safe" on it might be easy to miss and as our dearly departed Dr Spengler once said...."in science we look for the most obvious explanation'

This recipe works fine...I color stripped a suit last night using the exact method described here and it came out exactly as I've described it needed too...
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4785840
I really think it's because my water isn't hot enough... and the bleach I use is Concentrated Clorox (which is unusually the only bleach available in my area) so it's actually stronger than standard bleach...

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