This week I have decided to focus on one of my favorite stitches, which also happens to be one of the first stitches I ever learnt, the shell stitch. The first thing I learnt to crochet was a couple of flowers for a knitted baby blanket, I wanted to add a border to it and after looking up a few I found the shell stitch. It was easy to do and looked really effective (unfortunately I don't have a picture of it, it was before I photographed everything I made!) I have since used the shell stitch a lot as a boarder but only once have I used it in clothing.
Last year I found a pattern for a quick and easy baby cardigan using the shell stitch and I made one in rainbow wool for my daughter this year. But as she is taller than the pattern size required, I made the sleeves and body longer (she fits the width fine) plus I also added a hood. It's made from chunky wool so I think the hood makes it more cosy for going out in colder weather. Using the shell stitch really makes this work up quickly and so I started thinking about other items I could make with it.
I had a couple of 400g balls of Aran/worsted wool in my box that I had no plans for and decided to use it for this project. I started with the skirt. I wanted the skirt to have a fairly plain waist band, as I wanted to add a cord to allow it to be adjusted allowing the skirt to last for longer! A few rows of half double crochet created a lovely waist band. The tricky bit was finding the right number of stitches that would fit Lily comfortably but also allow the shell stitch to work, 64 ended up being the perfect number. Once I had found that number the skirt worked up really quickly. I started it mid afternoon and finished it before the kids went to bed, this included nappy changes, cooking dinner and eating it and stopping for anything else the kids needed!) I actually made it a tiny bit too short as when Lily wore it the next day when her nappy was full you could see if hanging under the skirt. This was no problem, however, I had plenty of wool, I just took it off her and added a few more rows to find the perfect length.
Having finished the skirt, I loved the idea of a matching top which would create a sort of dress like look if worn together or that could be worn separately. The top took a little longer to work out the stitch counts. I knew it needed to end with 64 to start the shell stitch (I wanted the top part to be plain like the skirt waist band) for the part under the sleeves but after a lot of fiddling around I was able to make the top in an afternoon and evening (still sorting out kids in between). Once I saw Lily wearing the skirt and top I thought it might also be nice to create the two together to create a top, and I have made a note in theory of how this should be able to work. I haven't actually had time to try this yet but it should work - I definitely plan on testing this soon!
Having this made with the thicker wool makes it perfect for use most of the year. I added tights when Lily has been wearing it on spring days and I think for extra warmth it would work well with a plain long sleeved top underneath - great for autumn and spring or winter with an added coat when outside! I probably wouldn't put it on her in summer unless it was a cold day but it might work without any tights or additional tops. I have written up the pattern for the top and skirt with the optional rows to turn it into a dress, as well as notes on adjusting the pattern size. As always, if you decide to make this, I would love to see pictures of them via either the comments on the blog or any of my social media channels.
I hope you have enjoyed my shell crochet clothing this week and inspired you to try the shell stitch if you haven't already! Thank you for reading and see you next week.
This pattern is for age 2-3 but see the notes section for ways to adjust the pattern to fit other sizes. This pattern is written for a top and skirt and there is a note to combine them into a dress.
1. Materials and Resources
- Aran/Worsted Wool – 85g for the skirt and 120g for the top
- 5 mm hook
- Needle to sew in ends
- small button in matching colour to wool
- Stitch List
- sc – single crochet
- Sl st- slip stitch
- ch – chain
- hdc – half double crochet
- DC – double crochet
- sk- skip
- b/l – back loops
- V stitch – hdc ch1 hdc in same st
- Shell Stitch – *5dc in same st, sk, sc, sk* rep to end
Gauge – 13 hdc stitches and 10 rows of hdc in 10cm square
- Always remember to use the hidden stitch in the after putting a V stitch in ch1 gaps (this is the stitch from the final hdc of the V stitch) – your stitch count will be out if it is not used.
- To adjust the top size – increase or decrease the starting ch in multiples of 4 (each 4 will product 1 more shell) for every shell (4st) you increase or decrease by either increase or decrease a hdc row before row 12. You can then adjust the amount of shell rows by increasing or decreasing rows 14 and 15 to find the desired length.
- You can add more hdc rounds to the sleeves to make them longer if required.
- To adjust the skirt size – increase or decrease starting ch in multiples of 4 (each 4 will produce 1 more shell) and increase or decrease rows 8 and 9 for as long as you would like the skirt.
- Add 1 shell for each size you wish to go up and decrease 1 shell for each size you wish to go down (using the notes above)
- Top and skirt can be worn together to or separately depending on the look you would like to have, if you want to combine them to make a dress then see the note at the end of the pattern.
Shell Crochet Dress Pattern
If you want to make this into a dress first make the top, then at the end of row 31 add this row before starting the skirt;
- ch1, sc in ch1 st, *sk 1, hdc, hdc in sc, hdc, sk1, sc in middle DC of shell* rep to end and sl st in starting sc, ch1 turn (64)
- then start at row 2 of the skirt working in b/l
- you will not need to add the waist band tie for the dress unless you want it as decoration.
|1||Working all rows in B/l from this point hdc in 2nd ch from hk, 4 hdc, V st, 11 hdc, V st, 11 hdc, V st, 11 hdc, V st, 6hdc, ch1 turn||44 &, 4 V|
|2||6 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 13 hdc, V st in ch 1 sp, 13 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 13 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 7hdc, ch 1 turn||52 & 4 V|
|3||7hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 15 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 15 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 15hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 9hdc, ch1 turn (60 hdc, 4 V st)||60 & 4 V|
|4||9 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 17 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 17 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 17 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 8hdc, sl st in starting hdc to create a ring, ch1 turn||68 & 4 V|
|5||8 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 19 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 19 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 19 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 11hdc, sl st, ch1 turn||76 & 4 V|
|6||11 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 21 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 21 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 21 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 10 hdc, sl st, ch1 turn||84 & 4 V|
|7||10 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 23 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 23 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 23 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 13 hdc, sl st, ch1 turn||92 & 4 V|
|8||13 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 25 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 25 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 25 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 12 hdc, sl st, ch1 turn||100 & 4 V|
|9||12 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 27 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 27 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 27 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 15 hdc, sl st, ch1 turn||108 & 4 V|
|10||15 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 29 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 29 hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 29hdc, V st in ch1 sp, 14 hdc, sl st, ch1 turn||116 & 4 V|
|11||14 hdc, fold work so that the next 2 ch 1 gaps are on top of each other to create a sleeve, then hdc through both Ch1 gaps, 31 hdc across the back, hdc through next 2 ch1 gaps to create second sleeve (same as 1st sleeve), then 17 hdc, ch1 turn||64|
|12||hdc across, ch1 turn||64|
|13||still working in b/l sc in same st as ch1, *sk1, 5 DC in next st, sk1, sc in next st* rep to end and sl st in starting sc, ch3 (do not turn and do not work in b/l from this point forward)||16 shells|
|14-31||repeat rows 14 to 15||16 shells|
|cast off and sew in ends|
|1||start in left hand corner of the neckline and sc 48 around the neck edge, then when you reach right hand corner of neckline ch3 and sc in same st as final sc (this creates buttonhole loop)|
|2||working along the opening created in rows 1-5, 6sc down each side of the opening and sl st to starting sc of neck line then cast off and sew in ends|
|sew small button on opposite side to button loop.|
Sleeves x 2
|1||attach wool in centre of underarm and ch1, then work 32 hdc in b/l around the sleeve edge, sl st into starting hdc and ch1 and turn (32)||32|
|2||hdc around in b/l, sl st, ch1 turn||32|
|3||sc in starting ch1 st, *sk1, 5 DC in next st, sk1, sc in next st* rep to end, sl st in starting sc and cast off and sew in ends.||8 shells|
Shell Crochet Skirt Pattern
|ch 64, sl st to form a ring, ch1||64|
|1-5||hdc across in b/l, ch 1, turn||64|
|6||hdc across in b/l, ch 1, do not turn for this round or any rounds after||64|
|7||sc in same space as ch1, *sk 1, 5DC in next sc, sk1, sc* rep to end and sl st in 1st sc, ch3||16 shells|
|8||2dc in same st as ch3, sc in centre dc of shell, *5dc in sc, sc in centre dc of shell* rep to last sc and then add 2 dc in same space as starting ch3 and sl st into top of ch3 to complete shell, ch 1||16 shells|
|9-24||repeat rows 8 and 9||16 shells|
|cast off and sew in ends|
Waist band Tie – To allow the skirt to be adjustable you can make the following waits band
|1||ch 101 and sc in 2nd ch from hook and every ch to end||100|
|cast off and sew in and out of the 2nd row of hdc starting in the front centre and ending there. Tie knots in each end to prevent it from coming undone.|
© All patterns on this page belong to www.cosycrochet.co.uk You may not sell this pattern. Please feel free to sell the items you make using this pattern, however please acknowledge me in your listing.