How to crochet shell stitch

This pretty crochet shell stitch pattern gives a fairly firm fabric but still lets the light through.


Shell stitch crochet is a fun and versatile stitch that can be used in many different ways. It’s great for adding a nice stitch effect to your crochet fabric or finishing off a project as a pretty edging. Crochet shell stitches not only look pretty, but they can add a nice subtle textural detail too, and made a fabulous edging stitch to finish off your projects.

Shell stitches are usually made up of multiple treble stitches worked into chain spaces to create an arching effect. The amount of trebles can differ to create different styles of shells, and different stitches can be used instead of trebles – for example, lager stitches to create a more open lacy effect. As a general rule crochet shell stitch patterns are made up of a repeat of 2 or 4 rows, but there are subtle differences that can all make a difference to the pattern – such as where your crochet starts in the shell pattern or if there are half shells being used.

Once you’ve mastered how to crochet shell stitch, you’ll easily be able to hook up one of these simple free patterns!

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We’ll show you the basics of how to crochet shell stitch to get you started, and then we’ll also take a look at combining crochet shell stitch with V-stitches to create a beautiful lacy fabric.

How to crochet shell stitch

How to crochet shell stitch

You Will Need

  • Yarn
  • Crochet hook

Step 1

The shell stitch crochet pattern is worked over a multiple of 6 sts plus 5 (plus one for the turning ch).
So for this tutorial we’re going to use 6 x 3 = 18 + 5 = 23 +1 for turning ch = 24ch


Step 2

Row 1 Dc in second ch from hook and in each ch to end, turn. [23sts]


Step 3

Row 2 Ch1 (does not count as st), dc in first st, *ch3, skip 3 sts, dc in each of next 3 sts; rep from * working only 1dc at end of last repeat, turn.


Step 4

Row 3 Ch1 (does not count as st), dc in first dc, *5tr in next ch-3 sp, skip next dc, dc in next dc (central dc of 3); repeat from * to end, working last dc in final st, turn.


Step 5

Row 4 Ch3, skip dc and next tr, dc in each of next 3 tr, *ch3, skip next (tr, dc, tr), dc in each of next 3 tr (central 3 tr of 5-tr group); rep from * until dc have been worked in final 5-tr group, ch2, dc in last dc, turn.


Step 6

Row 5 Ch3, 2tr in ch-2 sp, skip next dc, dc in next dc (central dc of 3), *5tr in ch-3 sp, skip next dc, dc in next dc; repeat from * until dc has been worked in final 3-dc group, 3tr in ch-3 sp. Fasten off.


Now you know how to crochet shell stitch – If you want to carry on with your crochet shell stitch, just keep repeating rows 2 – 5


How to crochet shell stitch with other stitches

If you’re looking for a fun stitch to try out with your shell stitch crochet, then you’ll love this combination of crochet shell stitch and v-stitches. It may look complicated at first, but once you get in the groove you’ll find it’s surprisingly easy!


Start by making a foundation chain in multiple of 8 sts plus 3. (Try 43 ch sts.)

Row1 (RS) Miss 2 ch (count as 1 tr), 2 tr into next ch, *miss 3 ch, work a V-st of (1 tr, 1 ch, 1 tr) into next ch, miss 3 ch **5 tr into next ch; rep from * ending last rep at **, 3 tr into last ch, turn.

Row 2 Ch3 (count as 1 tr), 1 tr into first st, *5 tr into sp at centre of next V-st**, V-st into 3rd of next 5 tr; rep from * ending last rep at **, 2 tr into top of t-ch, turn.

Rep row 2 to form pattern.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this shell stitch crochet tutorial, don’t forget if you need any help with your crochet stitches you can always check out our crochet for beginners guide. And if you’re looking to treat yourself, check out our list of the best crochet hooks and the best crochet kits for beginners.