Crochet Pattern: Basic Shell Edging

By Rachel Choi – 24 Comments

Crocheted edgings are very pretty, whether they are on blankets, skirts, bags, or anything you can thing of! The item you add a crocheted edging to doesn’t even have to be crocheted. In fact, here is a very simple edging pattern that you can sew onto the border of your items. Sometimes it’s difficult for beginners to crochet evenly around an item, so this method of creating an edging and sewing it on, can simplify the process.

crochet basic shell edging

Skill Level: beginner crochet skill level

Note: it may be tricky for beginners to keep track of all the stitches if your foundation chain is long. Be careful counting your stitches!

Finished Size: each shell is 3/4″ (2 cm) tall, but edging can be as long as you want it to be
Use the instructions at the beginning of the pattern to make the edging fit your item.

Materials: (the following are materials used to create the edging in photo, other yarn weights and hook sizes may be used as well to create variations of this border):
Medium Weight Yarn
Crochet Hook H (5.00 mm)
crochet yarn size 4

Gauge: not that important for this pattern. Use the directions in the pattern to obtain the proper size edging.

Need help understanding the abbreviations? Check out the crochet abbreviation chart.

Crochet Pattern: Basic Shell Edging
Start by making a foundation chain as long as you want your edging. Your edging should fit snugly around the item you are creating it for. Using a measuring tape to measure your item may help. The number of chains in your foundation must be a multiple of 6 (for example, the numbers 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, 42 … are multiples of 6).

Row 1: 5 dc in third ch from hook, skip 2 ch, sc in next ch, *skip 2 ch, 5 dc in next ch, skip 2 ch, sc in next ch, repeat from * across, finish off.

When you’re done your edging, sew it onto your item. Be careful not to stretch or bunch the edging as you sew it on.

Need help? Just let me know!

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  1. Alison says:

    Great tutorial– this is one of my favorite stitches!

  2. Helena West says:

    Wow this is great! I like crocheting but I haven’t tried this pattern. I wanna try one if it easy to make. Thanks for this post. Looking forward to learn more from you.

  3. Dawn says:

    This is great!! I will probably try it in thread to use on cards and other scrapbooking projects. TFS!

  4. frillfriend says:

    If I use a separate ball of yarn for my foundation chain, then I can make the edging as long as necessary without worrying that my measurements are not exact. I find that almost everything I do needs a little “fudge factor” or “breathing room” to have it fit better and be less stressful.
    Sometimes, a little extra can make a nice flower … it’s always nice to have the freedom to play around or change my mind .

  5. Kate says:

    I love shell stitch! Great tutorial 🙂

  6. Lillian says:


    what perfect timing for the shell edging – I needed tiebacks for my new curtains & tried out the shell edging – a piece of velcro keeps the tieback tied back and have received many compliments ! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hi, I am going to use this edging for a baby blanket. I see that I make the edging first, then sew it onto the blanket. How do I sew it on? Sorry, I am very new to this. Thank you.

  8. Erin Lea says:

    Rebecca, you can also do a single crochet all the way around the blanket (doing about 3-4 in the corners so they don’t pucker) and then do this edging right onto the blanket so you don’t have to worry about the extra step of stitching it on, or making it too short (which is probably something I would do, even if I measured!).

  9. Lori says:

    Love this pattern! I’m going to use it on the throw I made for my husband!

  10. heather says:

    I’m crocheting this edge onto a blanket. How would you do the corners?

  11. Erin Lea says:

    Heather, if you are doing a foundation row I would suggest putting 3-4 sc stitches in each corner, and then do the shells as normal and you should be fine. 🙂

  12. heather says:

    Erin Lea, Thank you! I finished the blanket and it was so easy. Thank you for your help.

  13. Angela says:

    Why do you have to sew it on? Why can’t I do this stitch around my finished blanket?

  14. Jennie says:

    Thank you – just what I was looking for – easy and pretty.

  15. Robin says:

    Hey there! This seems like a nice and simple edging. I’m undertaking a little project for a friend – I’m making a small filet crochet that I was thinking of attaching to a pillow. The filet is already rectangular – is there a way of doing this into the open boxes of the filet pattern without having to make the entire border first?

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Robin, sure you can crochet the border evenly around your item. So instead of making the border into a foundation chain you’ll use the same instructions and make it into the side of your item.

  16. naama says:

    Hey! I am using this pattern to edge a very big blanket, but the corners seem too tight. Any chance I need to add DC to the corners to make it flow? thanx, naama

  17. Eileen says:

    This is the perfect edging for a Prayer Shawl since a “shell” signifies Baptism.

  18. Heather says:

    Just discovered this edging. Using it to finish an afghan I designed and I love it! Thank you

  19. Karen Slack says:

    HELP!!! How do I print out a free pattern??


    Karen Slack

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Karen!
      All the pages on the website are coded to be printer friendly. So you should be able to use the print function in your internet browser. Each browser is slightly different, both for most you can either use your keyboard shortcut to print or go to your menu bar “file” then “print”.

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