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By Jairus
#42143
NOTE: This recipe will ONLY work on cotton suits or poly/cotton blends. It will NOT work on Nomex. RIT Dye requires natural fibers like cotton, and doesn't work well on synthetic fibers. Nomex is synthetic. It will NOT significantly lighten OR take RIT dye. Ever.

I'm providing my dye recipes for the two varieties of flightsuits I've successfully used it on: Tru-Spec and Rothco.

Rothco suits are made with a higher cotton content material and are therefore easier to color strip and dye, yet suffer from thin material, ugly tailoring, cheap construction, and ugly poly zippers.

Tru-Spec suits are made from heavier material with better and more accurate tailoring, higher quality construction, and brass zippers; however, they have a higher polyester content and are therefore more difficult to color strip and dye.

Use whichever suit meets your requirement in regard to budget, ease of modification, appearance, and overall quality.


Tru-Spec Recipe:
This recipe gives you the option of washer dyeing (easier) or sink dyeing (uses less dye and water).

My Tru-Spec suit started as a black poly/cotton flightsuit purchased in 2008 from the Atlanco (Tru-Spec) outlet in Atlanta, GA, though these suits are available all over the Internet, usually at about $40.

Washer
1.) Wash suit twice with 1 cup of bleach each time, hot/cold cotton cycle. Machine Dry with a Fabric Softener sheet both times. (This is to knock a little of the sheen out of the fabric and agitate the fibers to be more receptive to dye.)
2.) Wash again, hot/cold cotton cycle, with 2 cups bleach.
3.) Wash again, hot/cold cotton cycle, with 1/2 bottle Kelly Green liquid RIT and 1/2 cup salt. Do not dry; leave the suit damp.
4.) Wash again, hot/cold cotton cycle, with 1 bottle Royal Blue liquid RIT and 1 cup salt.
5.) Wash on warm/cold cycle with normal detergent. Use the extra rinse cycle option if available. Machine Dry normally, with or without fabric softener.

Sink
1.) Wash suit with 2 packets RIT color remover, hot/cold cotton cycle. Machine Dry with a Fabric Softener sheet. (This is to knock a little of the sheen out of the fabric, lighten it, and agitate the fibers to be more receptive to dye.)
2.) Wash suit with 1 cup bleach, hot/cold cotton cycle. Machine Dry with a Fabric Softener sheet.
3.) Wash again, hot/cold cotton cycle, with 2 cups bleach. Do not dry; leave the suit damp.
4.) Dye with 1 cup (237 mL) Royal Blue liquid RIT, 1/4 cup (59 mL) Kelly Green liquid RIT, and 1 cup (237 mL) salt in a sink full of hot water for 10 minutes.
5.) Pull out, rinse until the water runs clear.
6.) Add a little more hot water to the dye bath, and let the suit soak for another 10 minutes.
7.) Pull out, rinse well until the water runs clear. Machine Dry with or without fabric softener.

Rothco Recipe:

My Rothco suit started as a black poly/cotton flightsuit, purchased in 2003 from Outinstyle.com. You can find these all over the place, and they are very similar to Fox brand flightsuits (though I cannot confirm that this dye recipe will work verbatim). Both can be found for around $30.
1.) Wash suit twice, hot/cold cotton cycle. Machine Dry with a Fabric Softener sheet both times. (This is to knock a little of the sheen out of the fabric and agitate the fibers to be more receptive to dye.)
2.) Wash again, hot/cold cotton cycle, with 1 cup bleach. Do not dry; leave the suit damp.
3.) Dye with 3/4 cup (177 mL) Navy Blue liquid RIT and 1/4 cup (59 mL) salt in a sink full of hot water for 10 minutes.
4.) Pull out, rinse until the water runs clear.
5.) Add a little more hot water to the dye bath, and let the suit soak for another 10 minutes.
6.) Pull out, rinse well until the water runs clear. Machine Dry with a Fabric Softener sheet.
All steps are important to the finished results, including the preliminary washing. Be sure to use water as hot as you can physically get it. Use your black uniform gloves if you have to, to be able to stand the heat, but the hotter the water, the better the suit take the dye.

The liquid dye seems, to me, to take effect much more quickly than the powdered dye, and is easier to measure and work with.

The suit should be good to go for a few wearings and washings. It will eventually start to lighten, however, and the remedy for this is simple. Just fill up the washing machine with hot water, pour about 1/4 cup of liquid Navy Blue RIT and some salt into the water, and add the pre-soaked suit. Put it through the wash and rinse cycle, and the color should be refreshed.


Photos:

Tru-Spec

Image
Natural Light


Rothco

Image
Low Light

Image
Natural Light
Last edited by Jairus on August 3rd, 2018, 2:05 pm, edited 16 times in total.
By thor2015
#49004
Here's mine using your recipe, Jairus

Image

However my recipe was a bit different. Here's what I did:

NOTE: All wash cycles are done HOT/COLD.

I took two black Rothco uniforms and put them in the washer with detergent.

Removed suits from washer, ran them through a full load of water with 1 cup bleach. After wash cycle completed, I wasn't happy with the color (not enough appeared to be removed) so I put them in again with 2 cups of bleach and let them soak for about 30 minutes and then restarted the washer. After the wash cycle had completed, I put the suits in the dryer. They were a dark grey color with white specks.

I filled the washer with hot water, added 1 cup of salt and 2 bottles of Navy Blue Rit dye. While washer was agitating, I ran the suits under hot tap water. Noticed brown water was dripping off the suits. I stopped the washer and put the suits in a bathtub half full of hot water and sloshed them around until no more brown dripped out. I put the sopping wet suits in the dye bath, started the washer and allowed it to run through the "heavy" cycle.

I then ran the suits through a complete hot wash cycle with detergent and put them in the dryer. The suits were pretty good but had too much blue tint to them. I put them back in the washer and filled it half full of hot water. I then stirred the suits around by hand for a few minutes,drained and repeated this until the water did not show any signs of bleeding dye. I put the suits back in the dryer and this is the result I ended up with. Probably not the most economical as far as dye jobs go but I'm glad I didn't do both suits individually. I'm happy with the color. Outdoor lighting reveals a mostly grey tone which is what I was going for. I know the dye is still in the suit as the white specks it had prior to dyeing are no longer there. The suit appears to be one solid color which is good.
By thor2015
#49067
Mars,
Go here:

http://www.ritdye.com/Create+Custom+Color.9.lasso

This saved my butt when doing some other costume dyeing. Their colors are pretty much spot on.

You'll see the recipe for charcoal grey is equal parts blue and black. I'm thinking a really weak black solution would MAYBE turn your suit charcoal grey. If it turns out too dark, wash repeatedly until you get the color you were looking for or the dye stops bleeding out Charcoal grey will look black when wet so keep that in mind. Best of luck to you!
By thor2015
#49098
I removed the nametag velcro but not the belt or wrist velcro. Sorry for not specifying that earlier. During the entire dye process the velcro remained black and really doesn't detract much from the suit IMHO.
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By Marsupial
#49099
thanks Thor.

From that site, it states it might be impossible to dye a fabric that has more then 50% polyester... my blue flightsuit has 65% polyester, so I get it might be close to impossible to perform such a transformation :(



On the velcro matter... if you remove the velcro, it will end up being unchanged (black) and if you leave it, it seems to stay black as well. I understand taking off the nametag velcro (needs to be removed anyway) but I wouldn't touch the rest.
By Rayban
#55642
I used your recipe and here is how mine came out:
Image

Just a few minor (or major?) differences:
After I washed and dried I washed again with 1 cup bleach. It didn't seem to take any color off so I did it again with 2 cups and it came out to a really dark brown, so I died it like you said but I forgot the salt so I dipped it a 3rd time but I added salt to the dye bath. Pulled out dried and so on and that's out it turned out. I'm disappointed it didn't come out to be more of a gray, it seems maroonish. Did the lack of salt do that or something else?
It's good enough for me but would have liked it more greyish...
By thor2015
#55708
What brand of suit did you use? Your results sound similar to slimershomie who used a Tru-Spec suit instead of a Rothco and got the dark brown color instead of the gray that Teliwhy and I ended up with.
By thor2015
#55785
I know the bleaching probably took all the information off the tag, but is there any other info you could give to help us out? Such as where it was purchased from, what model number suit, etc.? This is not only to help me try to figure out what happened but to help others out when purchasing a Rothco suit. Maybe it will be an "at your own risk" kind of a thing but I'd like to know if there is anything else we can find out about the suit. In the meantime, I'll write Rothco and see if their black flight suits have different fabrics or dye processes.

Thanks for the heads up, RayBan and like I said if you could post anything else about the suit I'd appreciate it.
By Rayban
#55794
I bought it from this guy on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/BLACK-FLIGHT-SUIT-A ... dZViewItem

If I remember correctly is was 55% cotton and 45% polyester. But don't quote me on that. I do know it has more cotton than polyester.
In person the suit is much darker than the pic I posted. It has a REALLY slight tint of brown. I'll be posting more pics soon.
By thor2015
#55825
Thanks, RayBan
I sent a letter to Rothco asking if there was any change in the dyeing process with their black flight suits. I doubt I will get specifics from them but it is worth a shot. When I dyed mine I noted that in between the 30 minute soak in the 2 cups of bleach and the pre-soak for the dyeing that I had a lot of brown water running off the suit even though it appeared to be grey when dryed. I rinsed the suits under hot water until I had all of the brown bled out before putting them in the dye bath. It could be that this is the brown that remained in your suit but I could be wrong. In either case I guess I just got lucky with mine but I'd hate to think that Rothco uniforms are not consistent as this would make the dye recipe a bit riskier. I'll let you know if I discover anything else that might lead to a definitive answer.
One other question- how long did the suit soak in the 2 cups of bleach when you bleached it the second time?
By Rayban
#55826
I didn't let the suit soak in the bleach either time. I just poured the bleach into the washer as it was filling up then I put the suit in and let it do its business. The suit was still a pretty dark brown when I started to dye.
By thor2015
#55861
I'm wondering if the problem was that the suit went through the bleach so quickly. With mine I let the second bleaching soak for about 30 minutes and then of course I rinsed mine thoroughly. I still don't remember the suits looking brown in between bleachings but of course as I said there was definitely something brown in the suits when I rinsed them prior to dyeing so my guess is not enough of the brown got taken out.
By thor2015
#56873
I e-mailed Rothco and got no definitive answer from them.

Right now my wife and I are in the process of purchasing a house so a lot of our stuff is getting boxed up and ready to move. I should be settled in at the beginning of August and at that time if nothing else is found out, I will order another Rothco uniform and bleach it twice without letting it soak and see what color I get. I saw the pictures of your uniform, Dan and I think that these photos coupled with the experience I had leads me to believe that the reddish brown color I saw washing out of my suits did not completely come out of yours and this is what is making the uniform appear brown. I think if just a tad more brown had come out of the suit you would get the grey that Teliwhy and I did with our suits.

On the bright side, this may be a good way to get a brown RGB suit.

Any new developments on your end?
By Rayban
#57023
I e-mailed Rothco and got no definitive answer from them.

Right now my wife and I are in the process of purchasing a house so a lot of our stuff is getting boxed up and ready to move. I should be settled in at the beginning of August and at that time if nothing else is found out, I will order another Rothco uniform and bleach it twice without letting it soak and see what color I get. I saw the pictures of your uniform, Dan and I think that these photos coupled with the experience I had leads me to believe that the reddish brown color I saw washing out of my suits did not completely come out of yours and this is what is making the uniform appear brown. I think if just a tad more brown had come out of the suit you would get the grey that Teliwhy and I did with our suits.

On the bright side, this may be a good way to get a brown RGB suit.

Any new developments on your end?
Yeah if I would have bleached it better It would have come out more grey. But in person it looks like all the promo photos from GB2. (Like the cover of the movie/soundtrack)
For me it's good enough but maybe at a later date I'll get another black suit and have another go.
Oh and I added more photos of me wearing the suit: http://www.gbfans.com/fans/props/uniforms/1348/
By Rayban
#58119
Well this is the best I can do:
About what it looks like in person (indoors)
Image
Maybe what it looks like in sunlight?:
Image

It's still not as accurate as I would like. I ended up using RIT color remover AND bleach in a bucket and let it soak for about 30 mins and didn't seem to remove any color! So I washed it twice in about a cup of bleach and let it soak for 15 min each run and finally got it to a dark grey with white specks. I then washed with detergent and dried. Then I dyed with half bottle of RIT navy blue liquid dye with a touch of black dye and 1/4 cup salt. After the dye I washed again with detergent and dried.
By Rayban
#58126
The grey with white specks was where I was after bleaching and I simply used the navy blue Rit dye, and then did a couple of wash cycles to take some of the excess blue out. Looks good!
What temp of water did you wash it in? With detergent? Maybe I'll wash my suit again... To me it seems too dark. Maybe a few washes will lighten it up?
By thor2015
#58145
I put plain hot water in the washer and agitated the suits by hand (wearing rubber gloves of course). The first time I did this, the water got very dark. After sloshing them around for a few minutes I drained the washer, refilled and repeated the process until the water appeared clear after agitation.

I really think the suit looks good and even if you got a tad lighter with it I think it would be just fine. I'm glad you were able to get rid of the brown in the suit. If I can be of any further help, let me know.
By Rayban
#58158
I put plain hot water in the washer and agitated the suits by hand (wearing rubber gloves of course). The first time I did this, the water got very dark. After sloshing them around for a few minutes I drained the washer, refilled and repeated the process until the water appeared clear after agitation.

I really think the suit looks good and even if you got a tad lighter with it I think it would be just fine. I'm glad you were able to get rid of the brown in the suit. If I can be of any further help, let me know.
OK. I think I'm going to wash them one more time with hot water and call it done. It does look a lot better without the brown tint. Thanks for all of your help! :cool:
And I ordered a GB2 logo with a Stantz tag. I'll save the other I have for a khaki suit.
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By DarkSpectre
#71425
My brother and I have been discussing this. He's getting my Navy uniform and is really jonesing for a charcoal uniform. We were thinking about using the following:

- 1 box of Color Stripper
- 1 box of Black RIT Powder

We're assuming that 1 box of stripper will lighten the navy enough that when mixed with the black powder dye bath, that it will come out Charcoal.

We'll post some pics after Halloween. I've forbid him to dye the uniform until Halloween is over just in case he, well, destroys it in the process.

More to come...
By thor2015
#71703
Have you thought about using a charcoal gray or some other color to mix with the blue? The only thing I am concerned with is that while mixing black and blue can yield charcoal gray, the black dye can very quickly override the original fabric color. I know you probably plan on doing small amounts at a time, but as I said- be careful as the black dye is pretty good at doing its job.

http://www.ritdye.com/Create+Custom+Color.9.lasso

This is a link to a custom color chart using different quantities of Rit dye mixed together. It's worked pretty well for me so far.
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By Jairus
#118506
Forgive the thread necro, but I have an update.

After a few years and a few washings, my suit had lightened a bit. I redyed in the sink with about a half cup of navy blue liquid RIT with a splash of black added to get it back to its original color. This is after a washing or two, so you should be safe to put it through the washing machine once or twice before having to redye.

Dry cleaning at home is still your best bet between wearings, but after so much sweat and grime, you've just got to put it through the washer.

If the suit lightens, just hit it with a small amount of navy and black liquid RIT mixed. Sink or stove-top with scalding water, as always. The results I've had from those are way better than the washer
Last edited by Jairus on June 29th, 2009, 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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