How to make crochet pattern – ultimate guide

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Have you ever wanted to make crochet pattern but thought this would be way too difficult? Well, good news is that you couldn’t be more wrong! Creating your own crochet pattern is in fact fairly straightforward. Just follow 3 simple steps and few basic rules and you’ll be able to make stunning stuff.

I started crocheting probably around 10 years ago and for quite a long time I believed that you need to have some magic skills or a very sophisticated algorithm (btw, that would be sooo cool!) in order to be able to make crochet patterns. I couldn’t understand how on earth those people out there make such thing as a pattern. It’s not possible to predict where to increase, decrease etc. right?

Well, Dear Reader, after creating multiple patterns already I can tell you that it is in fact easy. It can be time-consuming if you decide to make something complex with loads of tiny details, but overall everyone and anyone can make it. All you need to do is approach this methodically and follow couple of rules.

Note that I use the very same approach when creating my own crochet patters, also available in my Etsy shop.

How to make crochet patterns?

After  years of trial and error (and good few hours of ultimate frustration) I know what works and what not. Based on that experience I created my own approach, which guarantees phenomenal results. My EDD method consists of following 3 simple steps:

How to make crochet pattern by cottonnutty

Step 1. EXPLORE the idea

This is single most important step in the whole process. I know you crave to jump into crocheting straight away but hold your horses for a bit and spend some time on understanding the nature of the object you wish to create.

Whether you plan to make a pattern for clothing, home décor or any character (a toy/amigurumi, a person etc.) you want to commit some effort to explore features of that object. Think about shape, color, texture, proportions, temperature (rather warm or cold), feeling it should give (e.g. is it cute and cozy or rather rough and crude).

All of those features will determine types of yarn and techniques used. Believe it or not, improper choice of materials may ruin even the best project.

For any pattern of character, especially if it relates to any pop culture characters, try to understand its personality. Is it smart, dummy, nerdy, angry, happy, goofy, strong or weak etc.? This will impact body shape and embroidery of face details – shape of eyebrows, type of eyes, shape of lips and so on. I typically watch multiple YouTube videos, or sometimes full movies and cartoons, and observe the character to try to grasp its nature. Note down those characteristics. We are going to use it in the next step.

Step 2. DESIGN the object

Now that you know exactly what is it that you plan to make, it’s time to use the characteristics to design it.

Start with researching yarns and trying to find the perfect match. Pay attention to yarn composition. Acrylic and polyester would typically give you the cozy effect, linen is very crude, pure cotton typically is stiff too, wool would be somewhere in the middle (well, depends on wool type in all fairness).

Once you found your perfect match – decide upon colors. Be careful with shades. Green and red used together can give us a stunning effect if we choose proper shades of both. Read my article on yarn colors if you want to know more about yarn color mixing and matching.

Spend some time on figuring out components of the object. In general, the fewer the better.

That is because one single crocheted shape typically looks nicer than few sewn together. Even if you use seamless joining technique, unless you are an absolute master, sewing will be visible and may ruin the final effect.

This is particularly important for toys, personas and amigurumis. There are multiple nice techniques to connect the parts without sewing.

Think about component shapes. Draw them. This really helps in step 3 of the process.

Finally, decide on the order in which components need to be done. You want to make sure that proportions between parts are maintained so think which part would be the most difficult to adjust if needed and that part would be done first. For example, for toys typically you want to start with head (although not always).

Step 3. DEVELOP crochet pattern

OK, you know everything by now. You have chosen your techniques and materials. You have your design. So this is the time when we proceed with developing the pattern.

If you have done diligently step 1 and 2, step 3 shouldn’t be too challenging. Of course, even with years of experience in pattern creation it is still a bit of a trial-and-error process. But over time you develop some sort of intuition, which helps a bit.

One hint here – don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Internet is full of free patterns and tutorials which may support your development process. For example, if you need to make a round shape, look for advice on how to do it.

Here important note: Just to clarify, I am not encouraging anyone to steal patterns or any other intellectual property, but rather utilize well-known components as a base for new and different. This is in fact how innovation in human history happens! Use what is known to create something brand new!.

Write down each step or row you crochet. Photograph details and components. This will assist pattern users in understanding what needs to be done.

And this is it. 3 simple steps to create your own crochet pattern.

In the next series of posts I will be discussing in details each of those steps to provide more insight and examples on how to put that methodology into practice – Explore and Design.

Stay tuned!

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43 thoughts on “How to make crochet pattern – ultimate guide”

  1. Thanks CottonNutty for giving the ultimate guide to creating your own patterns. You began doing this 10 years ago. So I guess practice makes perfect. 
    What I found most interesting, is how different types of yarn are important for different types of projects. Your work is fantastic, “When I grow up I want to be just like you!”

  2. Thanks for this step-by-step information on how to design a crochet pattern. Crochets are a good business to design and sell online.  I really want to follow your advice and make a very beautiful crochet. I look forward to your next articles as you have promised. Thanks once more for sharing these ideas.

  3. Hello Cottonnutty! 

    This was a very informative article and easy to read! I’ve never crocheted, but my grandmother used to do it all of the time, and she seemed to enjoy it quite a lot. You explained everything really well and added some nice infographics, which I’m a fan of, and I think it offers a nice visual for your readers! Good work!


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