Methods for Seaming Crochet
Posted by Kathryn Vercillo
Seaming crochet simply means joining two or more pieces of crochet fabric together. This is frequently done when a project, such as a crochet blanket, is made in motifs; you seam together all of the motifs to create the finished project. Crochet seaming is also important when making crochet clothing (and some accessories), where you create portions of the item (such as the sleeves) separately and then join them (to the body of a shirt, for example). There are many different methods of seaming crochet, each of which has its own purposes, and the more ways of joining that you know, the more versatile your project skills. This guide shows you several choices for seaming crochet including options for seaming with a tapestry needle and those for seaming using a crochet hook.
Seaming Crochet with a Tapestry Needle
There are several stitches available for seaming crochet using tapestry needle. You will want to use a blunt-tipped tapestry needle; a sharper tip is more likely to slip through the fibers of the yarn rather than through the loops where you want to work. Here are some of the most common options for seaming with a needle.
Mattress Stitch for Seaming Crochet
The Blushing Shells Cowl by Diane Moyer uses mattress stitch
This method of joining will connect two pieces of fabric at the underside so that the seam doesn't show on the right side.
Hold the two crochet pieces that you are joining together so that the right sides are facing each other, matching the stitches from one up with the stitches from the other. Note: If you hold the wrong sides together, the seam will show up on the front of the work instead. This is commonly called "Reverse Mattress Stitch". This can be an interesting detail as long as it is a choice and not a mistake!
Join yarn at one end where you want to create the seam. Note: You will need to cut a length of yarn to use for the seam. A length approximately twice as long as the length of the seam is a good size to aim for.
Insert needle into the next loop. You will insert it from the back to the front, putting it into the loop that is furthest from you and drawing it through to the matching loop (right across from it) that is on the other motif closest to you.
Insert needle into the next loop. You will now insert it from the front of the motifs, through the loop closest to you, towards the back into the matching loop that is furthest from you.
Repeat across the entire seam.
Reverse Mattress Stitch
Crochet Circles Throw by Leslie Stahlhut
You can vary the way that Mattress Stitch looks for seaming crochet by changing the loops that you work through. Typically you work only through the outside loops of each motif. However, you can also opt to work through both loops of each motif; the latter option is often done when working Reverse Mattress Stitch.
The Crochet Circles Throw shown above uses this version of seaming. Keep it consistent across the seam but otherwise have fun trying different methods.
Whipstitch Seaming for Crochet
The Sunny Spread by Ellen Gormley uses whipstitch
Whipstitch is a similar method of joining to the mattress stitch. The difference is that you will always insert the needle from front to back, never working back to front. Hold the two crochet pieces that you are joining together so that the right sides are facing each other. Join yarn at one end where you want to create the seam.
Insert needle into the next loop. You will insert it from the back to the front, putting it into the loop that is furthest from you and drawing it through to the matching loop (right across from it) that is on the other motif closest to you. Again, you can work through one or both loops of the motif, although it is most common to work through the back loop only of each of the motifs.
Now you'll just repeat the previous step across the row.
Tip: You can gently pull the seam tighter to create a more invisible seam. You can make this adjustment several times throughout the seaming and also again at the end of the seam. Tug gently and evenly, not so much that the fabric scrunches together.
Seaming with a Crochet HookAn alternative to sewing for seaming is to use crochet for seaming. There are plenty of options for seaming with crochet.
Slip Stitch Seaming for Crochet
This is basically the same concept as the methods for joining done with a tapestry needle except that you are using a crochet hook. It is a very strong seam that will hold your work together well but isn't bulky so that the work will typically lay flat.
Hold the two crochet pieces that you are joining together so that the right sides are facing each other (assuming you want the seam at the back of the work). Join yarn at one end where you want to create the seam.
* Insert your hook, front to back, through the next loop on the motif closest to you. Continue inserting the hook all the way through the matching loop on the second motif.
Yarn over and pull all the way through. That's your first slip stitch.
Repeat from * to end of seam.
Note: Slip stitch seaming is commonly used on the back side of the work where it is invisible. However, it can also be worked on the front side of the join, creating a surface slip stitch detail at the seam.
Single Crochet Seaming
The single crochet seam adds some dimension to the work and is often used as a seam for joining motifs at the front where the seam itself is then a detail of the work.
Hold the two crochet pieces that you are joining together so that the wrong sides are facing each other (assuming you want the seam at the front of the work). Join yarn at one end where you want to create the seam. Chain one.
* Insert your hook, front to back, through the next loop on the motif closest to you. Continue inserting the hook all the way through the matching loop on the second motif. Yarn over and pull through first two loops. Yarn over and pull through second two loops. That's your first single crochet of the seam.
Repeat from * to end of seam.
Joining with Advanced Crochet Stitches
You can use a variety of different crochet stitches to create interesting textured seams, which will typically be something you'll do on the front of the work where the seam will be shown as a design detail. Hold the two pieces of crochet fabric with the wrong sides facing and work similar to single crochet seaming utilizing the stitch that you want.
Joined with double crochet
Joined with seed stitch
Joined with sc3tog
When You Aren't Seaming Even Edges
It is easy to match up the stitches on two motifs that are the same design when you're working into basic stitches such as single or double crochet. However it is also common to seam two pieces of fabric that aren't matching, or perhaps that do match but you're working into the sides of stitches. The basic concept is still the same. Choose the seaming method that you prefer, match up the fabric and work evenly into both pieces of fabric. A helpful tool for making sure that the pieces match up properly: seaming pins. These help you be sure before you begin that the pieces match up exactly. They also hold the pieces in place while you work so that the seam doesn't become wonky.
When working into the sides of stitches, work your needle or hook under just one strand of yarn on each piece of fabric. The height of the stitch determines how many stitches you'll need to place in it; one stitch into the sides of single crochet, two stitches into the sides of double crochet, for example.
Tips for Seaming Crochet
Here are some additional tips that will be helpful when practicing seaming crochet.
- Leave long tails on your crochet fabric. Then you can use the tails for seaming.
- Use the same yarn for seaming as you did for the project. Using the same yarn in the same color is the best way to hide the seam. If you worked a crochet project with a very bulky yarn, you may want to join with a thinner yarn in the same color to reduce the bulk of the join. If you are crocheting on the visible side of the work and using the seam as a design detail then you may want to use a contrasting color for dramatic effect.
- You can hold the motifs side by side. Most people find it comfortable to hold their pieces of fabric together (either right side or wrong side facing). However, some people find that they get flatter seaming when holding the motifs side-by-side. Once you've practiced a few times and understand where your hook or needle should go, you can "open" the two motifs up, hold them side by side and stitch up the seam this way. This video shows a great example.
- Follow seaming instructions in your pattern. Most crochet patterns offer detailed seaming instructions from the designer with helpful tips. For a great example, check out the Xanadu Sweater by Marly Bird, where the instructions provide you with instructions about which parts to sew together first; this pattern also has a free video tutorial for seaming.
- Block before seaming. Blocking each motif or piece of fabric before seaming will make the pieces flat and give them the right shape, allowing for easier and more accurate joining.
- Try JAYGO crochet to avoid seaming altogether. If you are working with a motif based project and don't want to stitch everything together at the end then join-as-you-go crochet is the way to go.