Aug 152010

Griff asked me to dye a gi for him.  Griff is a purple belt who trains up in Ballard at Ballard BJJ, a Gracie Barra affiliate run by black belt Micah Reyes.  He had a white Lucky brand gi that he wanted black and, after the requisite disclaimers like, “Dude, I might really screw it up… are you okay with that?” I told him I’d take a stab at it.

I’ve been reluctant to try black for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s a relatively common color for BJJ gis anyway.  Second, it’s a tough color to dye.  While you might think that black is just really dark gray, it’s not quite that simple.  In fact, most “black” dyes are actually more of a dark blue or purple than a gray.  Ultimately, my fears were justified.  I’ve still got some work to do on the black.  It’s not bad.  In fact, I think it looks pretty cool.  It’s just… not black.

The dye I used is a Procion MX Fiber Reactive dye purchased from Dharma Trading Company.  Specifically, I used 8 oz of Jet Black dye (PR250), and doubled the amount of salt I used, too.  Overall, I’m happy with the color in that it looks good (in my opinion), and I think it would pass muster at an IBJJF event, although I might not bet money on it.  I’m not happy with the quality of the black, but that’s half the fun of this stuff for me is seeing how the different colors work out, what they do and what they look like in real life.  Nothing beats experience.

The only other thing I’m not happy about is that there was something on the pants.  I wash all of the gis I get with this industrial detergent, but any kind of oils, fabric softener or stains in the fabric can make it hard for the gi to take the dye.  Not sure what was on the pants, but there’s just one spot.  It shows up actually way better in the photo than in real life, but it’s noticeable.  Overall, it’s a hand dyed gi, so some stuff like that is to be expected, but again, I’m kind of a perfectionist and it irritates me that it isn’t exactly what I wanted.

Oh, and one last thing. Griff’s a big guy.  This is an A6, so… yeah… I put the top on for a few quick pictures and it’s huge on me.  I didn’t even bother getting a belt out.  It’s just huge.


 Posted by at 7:26 pm

  11 Responses to “Gi Dye: Jet Black (actually more of a dark blue) Lucky Gi”

Comments (10) Pingbacks (1)

    Dude, that looks cool! It sort of reminds me of a well-broken-in blue gi, sort of like that one Howard combat that James has.


      Sweet! You’re the guy that matters here, Griff, so I’m glad you like it. We’ll work out a time this week to get together… and yes, my MAC is still in need of some TLC. I’d love it if you could look at it!


    Wow. I must say, looks nothing like black (and this disturbs me because I wanted to redye a black gi that I bleached a bit too effectively, rendering it greyish)… but I TOTALLY dig this shade of blue!

    How much did his gi weigh? and was 8oz of dye their recommended amount?

    Thanks for posting :)


      It’s about right, Georgette. It’s an A6 Lucky Gi and weighs around 5 lbs. If you figure 2 oz is about right for a 4 to 5 lbs gi using typical colors, this should have been right on at 4x the usual amount per the website recommendations.

      Someday, I’ll have enough experience with these colors to be able to predict with some degree of accuracy what it will look like after I’m done! :)


      Oh, regarding the color, it really looks to me like the indigo color of an aikido or kendo uniform. I used a flash on these pics, so it looks a lot brighter here than it actually is in real life.

      Of course, I don’t train in either of these styles, so I haven’t seen these in person.


    I tried to dye some white 100%-cotton tai fisherman’s pants black a while back. I used RIT black, and left them in the dye for about eight days (much longer than the instructions directed). They turned out tye-dye purple. They look cool- just not black. You’re right- black is hard.


    Hey, you guys appear to be the resident internet experts on Gi-dying (a google search always turns up you and Georgette).

    I’m looking to dye a Gi the traditional BJJ blue color. Which one should I go with?



    I got an old white bjj gi kicking around i think i’m going to give this a shot and see what happens. i’m going for lime green

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