Today we have a guest writer helping us shade some light on the wonderfull art of rescuing a gi-- armour falling apart. we basically grab a Gi... DYEING IT!!!
Some do it for fun, some for uniqueness, some trully do it because a gi needs restoration. All I can say is "it is fun"!
Today we have Michael Czapczynski helping us out with some insight on how he has done some really cool dying jobs, as well as myself contribuiting while sharing my experience on a Gi that needed some "stains" removed. As always chime in, comment and let us know what you think, what we missed, how do you dye gis and your reasons why.
There is nothing better than a fresh white gi, but with long training sessions it starts to creep in slowly; that unpreventable mat sweat staining. BELIEVE ME I am not complaining. I am happy to own kimonos that are durable enough to allow for the time necessary for this phenomenon to occur, but for me it was my impetus to dye my first gi.
It was a Redstar brand model white stamp. A really nice clean gi that I purchased very close to the start of my bjj journey. It was simple with red stitching and red taping, but after a while the undeniable results of hard training started to become visible.
It is said that "sometimes you are the hammer, and sometimes you are the nail". Well after months of being the nail and only occasionally being the hammer, my gi was no longer that crisp clean white. No matter the process I went about cleaning it the days of white as snow linen perfection were gone. The gi itself was now an off-white and the collar was turning a distinctive grayish hue.
Obviously what's a guy to do? My first option, fill my closet with white shoyoroll illest kimonos, was out of the question. I've heard rumors of people having to drill berimbolos upwards of 10,000 times during a monsoon, without getting hit by a single drop of water JUST to be considered for buying one on the secondary aftermarket. SO I did the next most sensible thing, and decided to dye my beloved white gi. Because why couldn't my beloved white gi become my beloved navy gi?
So first I found this awesome blog about dying kimonos. http://www.stevebjj.com/2012/01/18/how-to-dye-a-gia-step-by-step-guide/
I strongly suggest you follow these directions I have now used them on a few gis and I have been very successful. Also Stevebjj has a lot of examples of his work on the blog. I found this very helpful in picking colors because it gave me a little context as to how the dye will look once it has finished the chemical process of dying the cotton.
You will need to get a fiber reactive procion dyes. This kind of dye will adhere to organic matter like cotton and be chemically bound. As a result after you wash your newly dyed gi a few times to wash off excess dye, you should not experience any additional dye bleeding. I also strongly recommend using dye from http://www.dharmatrading.com/dyes/dharma-fiber-reactive-procion-dyes.html?lnav=dyes.html
A couple things to definitely consider:
- DO THIS IN A BIG TUPPERWARE IN YOUR TUB!!!
- Don't rush. Take your time and keep that gi moving. Have some music or a podcast playing in the background to keep you entertained. You will be busy upwards of 3 hours.
- Do things slowly and make sure all the chemicals you are working with are fully dissolved before you add them to the dye vat. The shaker bottle described in the stevebjj blog was indispensible. I used it to mix the dye and urea as described. I used another one to help prepare the soda ash.
- There is some pretty cool chemistry going on during this process. Basically (no pun intended) the soda ash increases the pH and acts as a catalyst allowing the dye to covalently bond to the hydroxyl group of cellulose (plant fiber that cotton is made out of). This means the dye can interact with any plant based fiber (cotton, hemp, linen, rayon), but leaves the non-plant based parts of the gi unaffected! So in the case of my redstar gi, the gi itself was dyed, but the sexy red stitching and taping was left red!
- I've also had success dying a Fuji gi a gun metal grey, and a VHTS G1 an awesome Emergency room baby blue. Full disclosure I ended up shrinking my VHTS gi in the process be very careful and If you think your gi can shrink don't use water that is even partially warm. It will slow the process of dying, but who wants an awesome dyed gi that you can't wear! Luckily I was able to pass it along to a friend that it fit perfectly.
VHTS thanks Michael Czapczynski for his post and remembers fans to check out Michael's facebook page facebook.com/whshbrand
Basically I did the same thing as Michael, I had a hard time deciding on the color to use. Once you go into Dharma Trading's website you can see there are A LOT of colors, besides you can use more or less dye so you can have a darker o lighter color.
When you start of a dyeing project you basically know what color you want, or at least what type of color. Black, Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, Pink. But sometimes when you start looking at the color palets you go a whole other direction! "well... red is cool but orange would be better", "I wanted blue but this shade of deep blue will look awesome", "black is MY color, but a really deep purple would have a better contrast", "I wanted a pink gi, but a brown gi will match my belt" etc.. etc.. etc..
With so many colors to choose from you can literally go nuts, I went literally nuts... well BRAZILIAN NUT at least.
I won't go over the method I used. I basically followed STEVEBJJ's blog and the instructions that DHARMA TRADING offer, if you follow them to the letter it will turn out great!.
The reasons why I dyed my gi was to cover up stains and color that bled on my knew Gi after a few washes. The Stains where a dark tone so I couldn't use a light dye I had to go for a darker tone otherwise it wouldn't have covered the stains. I was thinking about a blue tone but there are so many blue tones that I just could't decide. I decided I wanted a kaki/brown color and after much thinking and comparing swatches to other gis and other colors I decided on the BRAZILNUT*. If you check closely the BRAZILNUT has a small (*) on the right, this means to get the color really dark you must use twice as much dye.
At the end of my proces I was 70% happy with the result and 30% unhappy with the result. The reason? well.. it came out TOO DARK lol. I've read a lot of different reviews on gi dyeing and everyone says it's a pain to do dark tones so I did it the other way around and it was just too dark.
the main reasons for this were the following:
- I used enough dye for a 4lbs. gi, while my gi was around 2.4lbs (so almost double the amount I needed).
- I had a large bucket but... didn't fit all the water that was needed so I used about 25% less water therefore the dye was more concentrated.
- I used a bit more CALCIUM CARBONATE than I needed (the fixing agent) so more color fixed on to the gi.
All and all I'm happy with the result (although for my next dye, If I do make one) I'll try to fix this first issue. It's an original Gi that's for sure and I found out customizing a gi and getting a cool color isn't all that hassle. You just need the right ingredients and about 2.5 hours.
You can see the color came out really dark and strong, I'm happy with that and the fact that is was not full of patches, light dye stains or anything. But it is way darker that I intended. These dyes are perfect when you like the patche son your gi or other elements as they will only dye cotton fibers not polyester (like most patches are).
So how about you? have you dyed a gi before? would you like to? comment and let us know!