08-04-2007, 06:28 PM
How To; Sew Milspec Molle
How to apply milspec molle webbing to your gear the easy way.
I needed to add some Molle (Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment) connection points to my tactical vest to mount a tank pouch and thought it may be an opportunity to share the research I did and a basic “How To” for anyone out there wishing to do something similar. It will be my first attempt at a “How To” thread and may need to be edited/revised as I get feedback and questions from you. I obtained most of this info from 3 main sources, online at DIY tactical, army experience (FM name elludes me), and good old fashioned trial and error.
Last year I bought a Blackhawk Tactical Urban Assault Vest off Ebay for a phenomenally low price. Love the vest but it had one problem that I had “overlooked” until I bought a new HPA tank…No Molle or any other attachment technology anywhere on the vest. I had been using the vests integral rear mounted radio pouch to fit my 20oz Co2 tank but my new tank was a bit bigger. To fix this I started by doing research on military specs, materials, and how best to sew the Molle attachment “strips” onto a vest or any other material.
The skill-sets you that will be needed are; Reading a measuring tape, some math skills, some sewing or sewing machine experience (how to thread the needle, and/or operate your particular machine), and some patience (rushing thru this wont make it work or look any better...relax, and take your time (I watched TV)).
To start you will need the following:
Durable thread (color matched) or any thread designed for you machine will do.
1” Denier Nylon webbing Mil Spec 17337 (NOT ELASTIC! and color matched to suit your needs) I purchased mine at: DIY Tactical, Tactical Gear Making Supplies
Measuring tape (Measure twice, cut once!)
Low temp glue gun (I don’t know what High temp will do to nylon, don’t risk it!)
Sewing kit or Sewing machine (recommended!)
First you will need to decide where you wish to apply the molle webbing. I needed to apply mine to the right rear of my vest to attach a tank pouch that allow as much slack as I could for my remote (I am right handed).
Then you will need to measure out the area to ensure you get the correct amount of molle "loops". The area for mine was about 6".
The following schematic is Milspec standard for Molle: 1" Denier Nylon webbing (green) is the standard here! , Loop length is 1.5", and distance between webbing strips is 1". Please take note that this is the standard milspec configuration and to do it correctly you will need to apply all strips then sew them all at once including the 1" gap between strips (see more info on this below).
With my six inch area I calculated 6 divided by 1.5 equals 4, so each 6" strip will have 4 loops. So measured and I cut three, six inch strips and measured and marked every 1.5 inches with pencil then when everything seemed kosher I marked them with sharpie (to see them easier under the sewing machine).
After cutting your webbing you will need to use the lighter to carefully melt the ends of the webbing so it will not fray.
Then it is a good idea to lay out your webbing where it will go and use another piece of 1" webbing as a guide between the molle strips...go ahead and plug in your glue gun while doing this to get it warmed up.
Next you will apply the low temp glue to temporarily "tack" the webbing in place to aid you in sewing. So, after your glue gun is warmed up carefully lift one edge of your first webbing strip and place a SMALL bead of glue between the webbing and the material...be sure to put the bead in-between the marks you have made with the sharpie otherwise you will be sewing thru the glue (not good!). Sandwich the glue and repeat this process until the webbing is secured but with breaks for the sewing lines. Remember to use a single small bead per loop as you will be removing the glue later and the smaller it is the easier this will be.
Next you will sew the webbing on using your needle and thread or sewing machine. Denier nylon is thick so I chose a sewing machine to go faster and save my fingers from abuse. A simple stitch is whats called for here but I believe that overlaying your simple stitch with a zig-zag stitch will make the connection stronger although it wont look as clean.
Stitches I used first the top one, then the bottom over the top. The sewing machine will do this much cleaner than I drew them.
After sewing the first strip it looked like this:
Repeat the these glueing and sewing steps until you have the desired amount of strips applied...I needed three strips. The Milspec standard here is to sew all of your molle strips at once. Using the main molle standard diagram above. I chose to sew just on the webbing and not across the 1" gap between strips.
After all sewing is complete and you have snipped all the loose threads, you will need to go through and pull the loops apart to unstick and remove the glue "boogers" that were tacking the webbing down. Dont fret if you cannot get all the glue it will not effect much, just try to get any of the visible glue cleaned up.
That should conclude your project although you may want to take your lighter and CAREFULLY (!) burn down the loose thread ends (without burning your securing threads!)
Here is a pic of my vest with its new patch of molle webbing attachment points.
**Edit** Because the webbing I used was a different color I went ahead and altered the color by taping the webbing off and painting them with Krylon Camo (Dark Green) paint (Great paint for most tactical projects).
Masking and paint used
Final result...still isnt the same color as the webbing used in the construction of the vest but it "pops" much less (Flash seemed to brighten them more than my eye did so I went without flash)
I welcome any questions or comments.
Cheers and thanks for looking!
06-23-2008, 12:45 AM
Re: How To; Sew Milspec Molle
An old post yes, but I'm raising this one from the dead to give it a thumbs up! I modded a harness 6 years ago that I still use today. Great post Tbird!
01-09-2011, 07:51 AM
Re: How To; Sew Milspec Molle
Awsome Post. I am working on making a tactical vest right now and this is very useful in my design and construction.
Warriors do not bend or break their code to suit there needs. They continue to fight reguardless of the circumstances.