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Stacked Shell Stitch Free Crochet Tutorial

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Learn how to crochet the stacked shell stitch with this easy and free written tutorial. I will walk you through every step needed to create this gorgeous lace stitch that’s great for late spring and summer garments and accessories.

This is not only a fun stitch to work on, but it’s quick and easy as well. It builds up quickly because it’s a lace stitch. Get your hook and yarn ready, and let’s dive into the information, material list and the instructions.

Stacked Shell Stitch
Crochet Stacked Shell Stitch

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Stacked Shell Stitch Highlights

A few basic things to know before you start the stitch swatch:

  • The foundation multiple is 6 chains plus 1.
  • The row multiple is 2 (rows 2 and 3).
  • Use the first 3 out of 5 turning chains at the end of each row as a double crochet stitch.

I have designed this beautiful summer top pattern using the stacked shell stitch:

Summer Crochet Top Pattern
A top made with this stitch

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Yarn – every pattern will recommend a specific yarn. But since this is a lacy stitch, the thinner the yarn, the better.
  • Crochet hook if you’re following a pattern, most likely you’ll have a recommended hook size. Otherwise, check your yarn label for the required size.
  • Stitch markers  use them to keep mark specific points of the project or to keep track of rows and stitches.
  • Scissors – don’t forget your sharp small scissors.
  • Darning needles – at least one, for projects worked with lighter yarns, a needle with a smaller eye works best.

Stacked Shell Stitch Tutorial


This tutorial uses US crochet terminology.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

A couple more things to keep in mind:

  1. Turning chains count as double crochet stitches (the first three chains).
  2. The stacked shell stitch doesn’t have an official abbreviation. It may be spelled out stitch by stitch, or simply as “shell st”.

Techniques and Abbreviations

You will need some of the very basics of crochet to create the stacked shell stitch. Before you start, please make sure you know these stitches:

  • Chain (ch): yarn over and pull up a loop.
  • Double Crochet (dc): yarn over, insert the hook in next stitch, yarn over pull up a loop, (yarn over, pull through two) twice.
  • Fasten Off (FO): fasten-off is the term used to secure your yarn to finish something.
  • Row (R): we work this stitch in horizontal rows, turning at the end.
  • Repeat (rep): repeat stitches or a group of stitches per pattern instructions.
  • Single Crochet (sc): insert hook in next stitch, yarn over and pull through two.
  • Skip (sk): used to let you know when to skip chains and/or stitches.
  • Space (sp): used to refer to a chain (one or multiple chains) space.
  • Stitch (st): used to refer to any stitch and it’s usually followed by another instruction or abbreviation.


If you would rather have the abbreviated version of the pattern, skip to the printable card below.

  • Step 1: Create a foundation chain with multiples of 6 + 1. This is where you determine the width of your project.
blue yarn and crochet hook
  • Step 2: Crochet Row 1

(double crochet 2, chain 1, double crochet 2) in 9th chain from hook, chain 1, skip 5 chains, repeat from the * until you have 4 chains left, chain 1, skip 3 chains, double crochet in last chain, chain 5. Turn. 

blue yarn and crochet hook
  • Step 3: Crochet Row 2

*single crochet in next chain 1 space, chain 2, (double crochet 2, chain 1, double crochet 2) in next chain 1 space, chain 2, repeat from the * to the last chain space, single crochet in last chain space, chain 2, double crochet in initial 3rd chain from previous row, chain 5. Turn.

blue yarn and crochet hook
  • Step 4: Crochet Row 3

*skip next two chain 2 spaces, (double crochet 2, chain 1, double crochet 2) in next chain 1 space, chain 1, repeat from the * across, finish this row with a dc in initial 3rd chain from previous row, chain 5. Turn.

blue yarn and crochet hook
  • Step 5: Repeat rows 2 and 3 to the desired project length.
Stacked Shell Stitch

Stacked Shell Stitch Chart

Stacked Shell Stitch

Tips and Tricks

  • Use stitch markers to keep track of stitch and row count.
  • Since this is a lace stitch, it will look better with lighter weight yarns.
  • Experiment with multiple yarn combinations to create stripes and textures.


What projects to make with the stacked shell stitch?

This stitch is great for summer garments and accessories. You can make crochet tops, dresses, light wraps, and shorts.

How many chains to start this stitch?

The multiple for the foundation is six chains plus one. If you’re not following a pattern, make sure to have your measurements handy to make the right size project.

Is this stitch stretchy?

Yes, this stitch has lots of stretch in both horizontal and vertical direction. And this is a good reason it’s a great stitch for garments.

Can beginners crochet the stacked shell stitch?

Yes, this is a beginner friendly stitch. But before you start, you need to be comfortable with chains, single crochet, and double crochet stitches.

Is it ok to use thick yarns?

I would be cautious with the yarn thickness because this stitch will not look as good with big yarns. It’s a lace stitch, which means the thinner the yarn, the prettier the stitch definition will look.s?

More Free Tutorials

Have You Tried This?

Drop a comment below to let me know or if you have tried this stacked shell stitch or if you have any questions about this tutorial. Or maybe just because would like to say “hi”, I would love to chat. Another way to reach out to me is by joining my community group on Facebook

If you use any of my patterns or tutorials for a project, please tag me @zamiguz or use the hashtag #zamiguzmakers. I would love to see what you make.

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Stacked Shell Stitch

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