Crocodile Crochet Stitch Tutorial

Crocodile stitch is a crochet stitch that looks like reptile scales, fish scales, or even bird feathers. Its unique texture comes from working a row of foundation double crochet stitches followed by double crochet stitches that form the scales. The stitches aren't difficult, but they are different because you work with your crochet turned in different directions. Once you make a few scales, it feels natural. This stitch's frilled look makes it ideal for fantasy items inspired by dragons and mermaids, but it's even fun for textured pillow covers, sweater yokes, and bags!

Notes

  • These instructions use U.S. crochet terms and show the right-handed method. For left-handed crocheters, work the opposite direction across the rows.
  • You can work this stitch with most types of yarn. Be sure to use the suggested hook for the yarn you choose.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Crochet hook

Materials

  • Yarn

Instructions

  1. Work the First Foundation Row

    1. First, chain a multiple of 6 + 3 chain stitches. For this example, the chain is 33 stitches. The 3 chains form the first double crochet.
    2. Double crochet into the third chain from the hook. 
    3. *Chain 2 and skip 2 chains.
    4. Work 2 double crochets in the next chain. 
    5. Repeat from * to the end of the row. 

    You should end with a set of two double crochets. These pairs of double crochets and chain spaces form the foundation for the first row of crocodile stitch scales. The next step is to work the scales onto the double crochet "posts" from this row.

    Foundation row of a crocodile stitch
    Mollie Johanson
  2. Form Half of a Double Crochet Scale

    Pivot the foundation row so the top is now on your right. 

    1. Chain 3. This counts as the first double crochet.
    2. Work four double crochet stitches on the first post of the foundation row.
    DC Onto the First Post
    Mollie Johanson
  3. Finish the First Double Crochet Scale

    Pivot the foundation row, so the top is now on your left. 

    1. Chain 1.  
    2. Work 5 double crochet stitches on the second post of the foundation row.

    Tip

    It may help to fold the first part of the stitch back so you can access the post more easily. This helps as you crochet each scale.

    DC on the Second Post From the Other Dierection
    Mollie Johanson
  4. Crochet More Scales

    Pivot the foundation row, so the top is now on your right. 

    1. Chain 1. Skip the next set of posts, which is partially obscured by the first scale.
    2. Work five double crochet stitches on the first double crochet of the next set of posts.
    3. Chain 1. Pivot the foundation row.
    4. Work five double crochet stitches on the second double crochet of this set of posts.

    Repeat this process across the row, working a crocodile stitch scale on every other set of posts.

    Skip a Set of Posts and Work the Second Scale
    Mollie Johanson
  5. Work Another Foundation Row

    When you complete the first row of scales, work the next foundation row of double crochet posts and chain stitch spaces. 

    1. Chain 3. This counts as the first double crochet.
    2. Double crochet into the center of the last crocodile stitch scale.
    Work the Next Crocodile Foundation Row
    Mollie Johanson
  6. Work Double Crochet Posts Between Stitches

    1. *Chain 2. 
    2. Work two double crochets between the two crocodile stitch scales, working between the two double crochet posts from the first foundation row. 
    3. Chain 2. 
    4. Work two double crochets into the center of the next crocodile stitch scale.
    5. Repeat from * to the end of the row. 
    Work DC Posts Between the Scales
    Mollie Johanson
  7. Work Another Scale Row

    To stagger the scale stitches in this row, work each scale on the set of posts between the scales from the first row. Pivot the foundation row, so the top is now on your right. 

    1. *Chain 1. Skip the first set of double crochet posts.
    2. Work five double crochet stitches on the first double crochet of the next set of posts.
    3. Chain 1. Pivot the foundation row.
    4. Work five double crochet stitches on the second double crochet of this set of posts.

    Repeat this process across the row, working a crocodile stitch scale on every other set of posts.

    Stagger the Scales by Working in the Second Set of Posts
    Mollie Johanson
  8. Repeat the Foundation and Scale Rows

    At the end of the row, you should have a set of double crochet posts. 

    1. Slip stitch between the two posts. 
    2. Chain 3. This counts as the first double crochet.
    3. Double crochet between the two posts from the previous row. 
    4. Chain 2.
    5. Work two double crochets into the center of the next crocodile stitch scale. 

    Continue working across the row. This forms the next foundation row, which is the same as the first foundation row. 

    Repeat the Crocodile Stitch Pattern
    Mollie Johanson
  9. Crocheting Rows of Crocodile Stitch

    Continue adding rows of foundation double crochet posts and rows of crocodile stitch scales. This is technically a four-row repeat, but it results in two rows of crocodile stitch. You can work every row in the same color or switch colors every set of foundation and scale rows.

    To block crocodile stitch, steam or spray the piece and press the scales into place. If you want to wet block your work, pin each scale so they hold in shape.

    How to Work the Crocodile Stitch in Crochet
    Mollie Johanson

The Back of Crocodile Stitch

From the back of the stitch, you can see the construction a little better, giving you an idea of how the rows build. The sets of double crochet posts look like the V-stitch, but unlike V-stitch, there isn't a chain between the sets of double crochet. Instead, working the stacked foundation rows split those double crochets into looking like a V.

Back of Crocodile Stitch
Mollie Johanson

Ideas for Working With Crocodile Stitch

Use this stitch in projects that call for crocodile stitch, which often includes hats, bags, toys, scarves, and more. It's also perfect for making a mermaid tail blanket. You can also crochet a simple square of crocodile stitch and a matching square of single crochet, then join them together for a pillow cover.

Crocheting Crocodile Stitch Scales
Mollie Johanson