A little disclaimer before you begin. Be very careful to NOT get dye in your eyes. And if your hands touch the dye or the dye bath, wash them before you thouch anything, or eat.
*Flightsuit and any other materials you need grey
*RIT Dye (Pearl Grey)
*1 Cup Table Salt
*Laundry soap/detergent (bleach free)
*Fabric Softener Sheets
Here is how I did mine, I wanted as close to film accurate as possible, without too much grey, so I stopped when I did and got it as close as I could to the movie.
First, take your flightsuit and remove the nametag velcro, and any other badging velcro or patches on the uniform itself.
Next set your washing machine on a small load and wash your flightsuit with detergent. Run it through a wash rinse, and spin. DO NOT USE BLEACH.
Then take it and put it in the dryer, be sure to add a bunch of fabric softener sheets. Im not exaggerating, I put in near 10. What this does is removes the flame retardant coating on the suit, making it accept the dye much better.
Next take and open all the pockets and zippers and loosten up the suit, so to speak. Make sure it is free of twists and is as spread out as possible.
Now what you want to do is fill your washing machine with HOT water. I set mine to a medium size load, I suggest the same, as it allows the suit to move freely, but wont dilute the dye.
Now take a large container you dont mind destroying. If you have one, use a large mason/canning jar, I found that works pretty well. Dump in 2 packets of the RIT Pearl Grey powder dye. Then the 1 CUP of TABLE SALT. Fill the jar with HOT water and mix until the salt and dye are disolved. If it all wont disolve, dont worry about it, you can rinse it out in the next few steps.
Empty the jar of DYE, and SALT into the washer. If the jar still has some dye or salt left in it when you dump it out, just put some more water in there and swirl it around to mix it and dump it in as well. At this time you will also add 1 Tablespoon of LIQUID DETERGENT, NO BLEACH EVER! Your dye bath is now ready, keep the lid shut as much as possible to keep the water as hot as possible. Hot water with make the dye etch in better. Set the machine to agitate a little and make sure the soap foams at the top a bit.
Now take your flightsuit and wet it in the sink or tub, saturate it. Make sure every part of it is wet, you dont want streaks or large blotches.
Now submerge the suit into the dye bath, make sure you push out all the air bubbles that form in the pockets, thats why you unzipped them all earlier. Add your elbow pads, pistol belt, and any other material you need grey. Once this is done you can set a timer, or make a mental note of the time, and plan to be around in about 2-3 hours. I took mine out at the 2 Hour 30 Minute mark.
Check the progress every now and again, wet clothes look darker than dry ones, so keep that in mind. Once your suit is a satisfactory color, you can move to the next step. If you arent sure, dont leave it in. You can always run another cycle with more dye later.
Now set the machine to a normal cycle again, with a wash, rinse and spin. BUT DO NOT ADD ANYTHING ELSE TO THE BATH. Run the cycle
With the suit and other garments spun dry, take them to the dryer and put them in, along with about 10 more fabric softener sheets. This will make certain the suit is free of the flame retardant chemical, in case you have to dye it again. Plus it makes the suit softer and more pliable. Set the dryer to low heat and run it through.
Once the dryer is done you can remove your suit and take a look. If you are happy with it, add your patches and hose connector and your done. If not, repeat the dye bath proceedure with more dye. There is no exact science to it since all washers are different, but you can guess pretty close.
I recommend taking a photo using natural and artificial light of the suit before AND after to compare, you may not think you did very much, but checking the photos will help you see what the suit looked like before and then you can go from there.
Well basically thats it. Thats how I did mine, and Im a fricken perfectionist, and very picky. Use common sense and good judgement.
Here is BEFORE, notice the highlights and lowlights
And here is AFTER, look at the highlights and lowlights.
Looking at the screen grabs and the suit in my hands, they match very close. Im glad I did the mix like I did and got it right the first time.
GOOD LUCK GUYS!