Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Colored BJJ gis-- dyeing gis-- pictures and results

Tired of white gis and wishing there were more affordable options out there for colored ones, I decided to dye them myself. I bought Procion MX, a fiber reactive dye far superior to grocery-store Rit dye (because you don't have to do it in hot water) from Dharma Trading Company online. I also bought all the other stuff you need-- urea (nitrogen) to make the powder dye paste up (dissolve) better, calsolene oil (lowers surface tension of the water, reduces streaking), soda ash (fixative), etc etc. They also sold textile detergent that keeps the dye from resettling on other colored areas (like in tie-dyes, or on the rubber gaskets in the washer) and an industrial-strength fabric softener since the dyeing process stiffens the fabric a bit. For you BJJers out there I highly recommend this fabric softener, it turned my Gameness gi into silk :)




The dyeing process was remarkably quick and simple. It took about 12 cups of non-iodized salt per gi, in a big rubbermaid storage tub... rubber gloves... about 20 minutes dyeing time and another 30 of fixing, then a trip through the washer. Both the blue ("baby blue") and yellow ("citrus yellow") came out stronger and brighter than I hoped/expected. Actually, I followed the instructions on the blue to the letter, except put 4 ounces of dye powder in instead of 3.2 oz... when I did the yellow gi, I saw in the first couple 2-3 minutes that it was waaaaay brighter/darker than I wanted, so I immediately mixed up some fixative to stop the process. Instead of dyeing the yellow for 20 minutes it was only 4... but the fixative made it appear even darker for a minute (think high school chemistry titration reaction) so I only put in about 1/5 the amount of fixative and basically stopped fixing it after about 5 minutes. I was hoping it would "relax" the intensity of the color, but as you can see, not so much.







None of the Gameness patches were cotton, so they didn't take the color, fortunately. The other gi was an off-brand with cotton embroidery, and the white took on the yellow. The red trim still looks good though.

I still have sage green, peach, and Chinese red dyes to try out. I shamefacedly admit I will probably buy another one or two cheapie gis so I can experiment with tie-dyeing a gi. :)

31 comments:

Robert said...

If you make a tie-die gi I will be impressed.

Elyse said...

Oh I LOVE it!
How did you keep the dye off of the patches?
Also, IBJJF rules specify "all white, all blue, or all black" but they never say /which/ shade of blue! You could probably get away with wearing this one :)
Then again, I wouldn't show up without a spare one just in case!

Georgette said...

Yeah, I checked the rules and no one anywhere says what shade of blue. I am keeping my Atama Mundial #7 as a white gi-- though most regional comps like NAGA etc could care less about gi color. Koral advertises its navy gi as competition legal so...... :) :)

Junior Familia said...

definitely something cool!

manbeater said...

way too cool! i'm sure it would look great on the mat :)

Dan said...

Just phenomenal G...I'm excited to see your tie dye...

Georgette said...

FYI my Gameness (blue) is now one of my favorites because that industrial-strength fabric softener from Dharma Trading Co (called Milsoft) is amazing! The gi feels like SILK now! Except the collar is still very firm. Yay.

Steve said...

Hey, Georgette, how are these holding up? You ever do a tie dye?

Georgette said...

UPDATE:

All the gis I dyed myself are holding up very well, color-wise. I haven't had any bleeding problems when washed with white stuff, which is good. I faded the coral pink gi a bit because I rolled with someone so stinky, I felt compelled to put some bleach in the wash that night. As a result, the collar is a tad frayed-- though I have bleached other gis of mine, even more than once, and haven't noticed any negative effects on the fabric. (The one that did fray is a Keiko Raca if that matters.)

I haven't tie-dyed a gi yet. Been busy training 6-7 days a week :)

I do notice that my pink Golden Tiger gi and the green Hsu gi, neither of which I dyed, have faded a fair bit. They still look great though.

And last, my Gameness gi is only silky soft when I use that industrial fabric softener-- the rest of the time it's cardboard, and the Gameness logo trim down the pant legs is fraying like crazy.

Adam Adshead said...

I'm inspired! :)

Great post :)

Schrammbo said...

Hey Georgette instead of bleaching your gi you can use vinegar and borax to not only keep the color but take care of your gi anytime you roll with someone that is "particularly stinky"

Georgette said...

I've tried borax, an old-timey laundry supplement, and vinegar, but not together. Thanks for the suggestion!

Also, update: Tie dyed gis from HappyKimonos.com! Or fight shorts, if cotton (rare) or gi pants.... tshirts of course. I'm happy to be sponsored by them and when I receive my gi, you know I'll post pics!

Helen said...

I am very impressed/ I am looking to dye a gi purple. Was thinking of maybe buying a cheap Gi in South Africa and trying it out. I am also keen to buy myself a white Atama gi. Do you know how those dye?

Georgette said...

I have not died any of my Atamas actually-- I have a hot pink Kyra one, a white female-fit, and a white Mundial #7 (male fit). However, I just bought an Atama Mundial #9 female fit and sent it off to be tiedyed. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't dye just as well as the others, it's 100% cotton. I will keep you posted! Please do blog about your dyeing experiences, if you don't mind, and let me know where to look!

Georgette said...

Can't believe I just typed "died." Should be "dyed."

John said...

Hey Georgette, thank you for this write up. I do have one question if you dont mind, I am going to dye an Atama gi, should I buy the bleached white gi or the unbleached gi. Which would take to the dye better? Thank you for your time.

Georgette said...

That's a great question. I think they will both take the dye equally well assuming both are 100% cotton. The two questions I think of are, how dark a beige/tan is the unbleached one, and what color will you be dyeing it?

I got an unbleached HCK gi, sent back because it was waaaaay huge, but I did think it might affect the outcome if the dye was light in color. However, if the unbleached color is less tan and more ivory, that would probably work just fine even with a lighter color dye. Also, I would imagine the darker dye colors would cover any shade of unbleached cotton.

I do plan on re-dyeing my "peach" Keiko kids' gi with a chocolate brown color. Letcha know how it goes.

John said...

Hey Georgette! Thanks for your quick response. Sounds like I should get the bleached gi just in case I decide to dye it a lighter color. I would be very interested in seeing pictures of the chocolate brown you are going to do. Thanks again for your help!

Georgette said...

No prob! Dyeing the gi probably won't be for a little while, got a lot on my plate the next several weekends and then we get into holiday time. I encourage you to also post some pics (here or wherever) as I want to see how other peoples' turn out. How long have you been training and where? have a blog? :)

Georgette said...

John-- post your email, I will reject the comment so it stays private :)

Georgette said...

Update: the blue faded perfectly to a lovely baby blue and has stayed that consistent shade ever since. The yellow toned down a tiny bit but is still pretty much stoplight yellow. No dye transfers in the wash either. I'm really happy.

Dory Bele said...

Tried and failed with fabric store dye. Then found your wonderful blog. My son and daughter love the yellow with the red trim. What brand is that? Have never seen a trim before. Also was thinking of buying these Adair ($30) gi or Honor ( 75) off eBay for the initial run with the Dharma ink before I sacrifice a Atama. Have you ever heard of these brands? Thanks for the knowledge.

Ny Buddah

Georgette said...

@Dory/Ny: That gi with the red trim was a forced-on-me purchase when I trained kajukenbo, because as part of our jiu jitsu curriculum, Helio Soneca (a Gracie cousin) was coming to teach. It was "his" brand, though I have never seen it sold on the internet, his website, or anywhere else. I removed the big Helio patches when I came to my current school. I will note that if either of your kids wears an A1, and if they like yellow, I'll happily sell it to you. I did have it altered a little-- shortened the skirt a bit-- but it's still a good A1.

I've never heard of those gis. You can get a decent bjj gi for $60, but I am pretty confident in the Dharma dyes and process (my first was a Gameness Pearl weave.) Also, I did a much longer post on this subject recently: http://georgetteoden.blogspot.com/2010/04/guide-to-dyeing-your-own-gi.html

Let me know how it goes! :)

Dory said...

did you ever do this"I still have sage green and emerald to try out. I also want to try dip-dyeing a gi... dangle the ends of the legs in a dark blue and let the color creep up... then fix it, wash it. Then, dip the shoulders only in a green, and let the color creep... with white in the middle... maybe I'm carrying this too far?? "

PS you can never go too far.

Georgette said...

Nope, I haven't had time lately to dye gis... between being sick and now getting ready for Mundials, the experiments in dyeing will have to wait for mid-June.

dirtywhitegi said...

those look cool... what would you recommend if i just wanted to re-dye a faded gi?

i have a black atama gi and the colour kind of faded from being in the sun i think... so i was thinking of soaking it in some black dye just to get the colour back... i'm also worry if the dye will sink into the embroidary or not

Georgette said...

Hey Dirtywhitegi...

I would definitely check out my blog post here:

http://georgetteoden.blogspot.com/2010/04/guide-to-dyeing-your-own-gi.html

I think Steve also recently posted about dyeing a gi black here:

http://www.stevebjj.com/2010/08/gi-dye-jet-black-actually-more-of-a-dark-blue-lucky-gi/

Then I'd also read the instructions on the www.DharmaTrading.com website.. but I don't think you have to worry about the embroidery, because usually that thread is nylon, so it doesn't take the dye.

Post some pictures! Let us see the results! :)

MMA Mama said...

Hi Georgette! Sent you a msg through the BJJ forum with pics of Timberly in her dyed gi with her new orange belt, but they never showed as attached on my end. Not sure how to add pics on here either.

Still very happy with the dye job and so thankful for your great instructions. Headed to NAGA in Riverdale, GA this coming weekend and she is FULL of confidence! LOL

Georgette said...

Hi Mama! Please comment again with a link if the pictures are posted somewhere else ... or alternatively you can email them to me at georgetteoden at yahoo dot com.

Thanks! Tell her break a leg and we want a post afterwards with her thoughts and reflections!

MLmusic said...

Hi Georgette,
Just got a few questions. I am planning to dye a superlight summer gi and was wondering 2oz would be enough? Secondly have you had any experience with using glaubers salt? I bought the robin eggs blie and dharma suggest the use of this salt. Do you think it's needed?
Thanks
Michael

Georgette said...

As for calculating the amount of dye to use, I would rely on the Dharma website which has a calculator for fabric weight vs amount of dye, I have no idea how much your gi weighs and it's been a while since I've dyed a gi, so I really don't remember what they advocate. Second, make sure your gi is a natural fiber, pure cotton, no polyester in the mix or the dye won't take. Last, none of my dye colors called for Glaubers so I just used regular salt. If that's what the website says, do it, and please send me pictures afterwards :-)