The Decrease Crochet Tricks Every Crocheter Needs to Know

Ready to graduate from crocheting basic rectangles? Learning how to decrease in crochet properly is a must if you are making home decor or crochet garments that require shaping. In this post, we'll provide instructions for a single crochet decrease, half double crochet decrease and double crochet decrease with no holes or gaps.

Learn how to decrease in crochet stitches like a pro

Learn to decrease crochet stitches like a pro and produce seamless shaping every time.

Single crochet decrease

The single crochet stitch is one of the easiest to decrease. The basic pattern is:

Insert hook into the next stitch; YO, pull up a loop (2 loops on hook).  Insert hook into the next stitch; YO, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook). YO, pull through all three loops on hook.

Don't worry, we'll walk through it more slowly below.

Before you start to decrease your single crochets in a project, practice on a gauge swatch. For this swatch, I made 20 starting chains and then completed six rows of single crochets. That's what I'll use for this tutorial.

Single crochet before crochet decrease starting point

Step 1:

Single crochet decrease first step

Insert your hook into the first sc stitch as you would when completing a normal sc stitch. Yarn over your hook and pull through, leaving two loops on the hook.

Step 2: 

Step 2 for Single Crochet Decrease

Now things get different. Instead of completing the stitch, leave the two loops on your hook. Insert the hook into the next stitch. Yarn over and pull up a loop so you have three loops on your hook.

Step 3:

Single crochet decrease last step

Draw your yarn around your hook again and then pull it through all three loops on your hook. You've now combined two stitches into one. Easy!

Complete remaining sc stitches in the row and take a look. You'll find it quite hard to see where the crochet decrease was made. The decrease crochet stitch is exactly the same height and blends in well.

Can you spot the crochet decrease and reveal

Half double crochet decrease 

The standard method to decrease half-double crochet stitches mirrors the single crochet method: You make a normal stitch until you have three loops on the hook. Then, you yarn over, insert into the next stitch, yarn over the hook again and pull through all five loops on the hook.

BUT having so many loops together does create a bit of an obvious crochet decrease. You can see the standard decrease on the left and my own technique on the right.

Standard hdc decrease compared new technique marked

The alternative method, on the right, is hardly noticeable. Here's how it's done:

YO, insert hook in the next stitch, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook). YO and pull through 2 loops (2 loops on hook). YO, insert hook in the next stitch, pull up a loop (4 loops on hook). YO and pull through all four loops on hook.

As before, try this out with a small swatch. Notice how the individual hdc stitches feel and look and prepare to decrease by working into the next two stitches of the previous row.

Half double crochet stitches before the crochet decrease

Step 1:

Hdc crochet decrease step 1

Start as you would when working an ordinary hdc: Yarn over your hook and insert the hook through the first hdc stitch.

Hdc crochet decrease step 2

Yarn over the hook again, and pull up a loop. You will have three loops on your hook.

Step 2:

half double crochet crochet decrease step 3

Yarn around the hook again and pull the yarn through the first two loops on your hook. This will leave you with two loops on your hook.

Step 3:

half double crochet crochet decrease step 4

Yarn over and insert your hook into the next stitch. Yarn over again, pull up a loop, leaving four loops on your hook.

half double crochet crochet decrease step 5

Then yarn over the hook again and pull through all four loops.

Finished half double crochet decrease crochet stitch

When you continue the row, you'll find that the lower part of the second stitch disappears completely, giving you a seamless crochet decrease! The only thing you might notice is the slightly wider top loop to the stitch that forms the decrease.

Double crochet decrease

If you've tried out the first two techniques to decrease crochet stitches, you will probably be able to work out how to decrease when working the dc. It's very similar to my alternative technique for the hdc. Here's the quick formula:

YO, insert into the next stitch and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook). YO, pull through two loops (2 loops on hook). YO, insert into the next stitch and pull up a loop (4 loops on hook). YO and pull through all four loops on hook.

As before, make a small swatch to practice. You will again work two stitches into one.

Double crochet decrease ready to start

Step 1:

Double crochet decrease step 1

Start as if you're crocheting an individual dc stitch: Yarn over and insert into the first dc. Yarn over the hook again and pull through the stitch.

Double crochet decrease step 2

You will have three loops on your hook. Yarn around your hook again and pull through two loops. This will leave two loops on your hook.

Step 2:

Double crochet decrease step 3

Yarn over and insert the hook into the second dc stitch. Yarn around the hook again and pull up a loop so that you have four loops on your hook.

Step 3:

Yarn around the hook once more and then pull through all four loops on your hook.

Double crochet decrease final step

Making use of your decrease crochet stitches

Individual patterns for garments will tell you when to decrease to achieve the shape that you need. You can also use decreases to make cool appliqués and embellishments, such as letters and numbers. Or, why not practice your seamless decreasing and make triangles? Crochet bunting makes an excellent homeware decoration and looks perfect in a living space, a bedroom or out on a deck or veranda.

Crochet pennant and flower bunting

 

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