Double Crochet 3 Together (dc3tog) Tutorial

Double crochet 3 together (dc3tog) is a way of decreasing crochet work in order to shape your fabric. It creates a cluster of stitches joined at the top, which decreases your row by two stitches every time you work it.

If you are already familiar with the double crochet two together, this is very similar. It can also be used as a decorative stitch, but then you need to add the two stitches you have added by adding two chain stitches. Let’s see how this works in more detail.

Double Crochet 3 Together, dc3tog

Double Crochet Three Together (dc3tog) Tutorial


The abbreviation for double crochet three together is DC3tog.

The other abbreviations you will need to follow this tutorial are:

I will be using American crochet terms in every part of this tutorial.

Supplies for This Crochet Stitch Tutorial:

While learning and practicing DC3 tog, you can use any yarn with a crochet hook suitable for that type of yarn. It is a good idea to use a smooth yarn so that you can see how the DC stitches group together neatly.

How to Double Crochet 3 Together (dc3tog)

What does dc3tog mean?

Usually, to decrease when working in double crochet, a dc2tog is used. This forms a small cluster of 2 stitches and decreases one stitch at a time. When a larger decrease is required, your pattern will read dc3tog. This means you will be condensing 3 stitches into 1, thus decreasing 2 stitches at a time. A dc3tog does form a larger, more noticeable cluster, so it can also be used as a textural detail.

When to Use dc3tog Stitch

As mentioned above, you will use it to decrease 2 stitches at a time or to add a cluster design detail. If you are using it to decrease, it should preferably be used at the beginning and/or end of a row.

What is Double Crochet (dc)?

DC is the abbreviation for double crochet. Here is a brief reminder of how to work it. It is one of the most frequently used stitches in crochet, and most of you will have learned to work it when you first learned how to crochet. It is about twice as tall as a single crochet stitch.

How to Double Crochet Tutorial

Here is a brief reminder of how to work DC:

  • Wrap the yarn around your hook, from back to front.
  • Insert hook into 4th chain from hook.
  • YO, and pull wrapped yarn through the stitch. (3 loops).
  • YO again, draw yarn through the first 2 loops on the hook. (2 loops).
  • YO once more and draw hook through last 2 loops on hook. (1 loop left on hook).
  • Once you have only 1 loop left, you are ready to work the next stitch.
How to Double CrochetPin
How to Double Crochet

How To Work DC3Tog, Step By Step

You will essentially be working 3 incomplete double crochet stitches, then compiling them all at once, thus combining them into one.

Step 1 – First Incomplete Dc

If not decreasing at the beginning of a row, work dc up to the point where you want to decrease.

Step 1 - How to Double Crochet 3 TogetherPin
Step 1 – How to Double Crochet 3 Together

Start as though you are working an ordinary dc.

  • YO, insert hook into next st, YO, pull up a loop. (3 loops on hook)
Step 1 - How to Double Crochet 3 TogetherPin
Step 1 – How to Double Crochet 3 Together
  • YO, pull through 2 loops.
  • Stop here, when there are 2 loops on the hook.
Step 1 - How to Double Crochet 3 TogetherPin
Step 1 – How to Double Crochet 3 Together

Step 2 – Second Incomplete Dc

Repeat the steps above into the next stitch along.

  • YO, insert hook into next stitch
  • YO, pull up loop (4 loops on hook)
  • YO, pull through 2 loops. (You will have 3 loops left on the hook)
Second Incomplete DcPin
Second Incomplete Dc

Step 3 – Third Incomplete Dc

Repeat the steps one more time, into the third stitch along.

  • YO, insert hook into the next stitch along
  • YO, pull up loop (5 loops on hook)
  • YO, pull through 2 loops. (You will have 4 loops on your hook)
Third Incomplete DCPin
Third Incomplete DC

Step 4 – Pull Through

  • Now YO, and pull through all 4 loops to complete the stitch.
  • You will only have one stitch on your hook and are ready to continue with the next stitch.
Double Crochet 3 Together, Dc3togPin
Double Crochet 3 Together, Dc3tog

How To DC3Tog On Top Of Another Row

The instructions given above are, in fact, showing how to work this decrease on top of another row. You will just need to repeat all the steps given above for every dc3tog you wish to make.

How To DC3Tog On Top Of a Starting Chain

You will still follow the steps above, but instead of inserting your hook into DC stitches below, you will insert the hook into the next chain stitch, and the 2nd chain stitch following that, then the 3rd chain stitch following that.

Double Crochet 3 Together, Dc3togPin
Double Crochet 3 Together, Dc3tog

FAQs About DC3Tog:

Is Dc3tog the same as a double crochet cluster stitch?

It is exactly the same because you are grouping 3 stitches into 1, which ‘clusters’ them together.

Can I Crochet 3 Together Using any Crochet Stitch?

Yes, you can work the cluster of 3 stitches together with single crochet, half double crochet, treble crochet, or any of the taller stitches. Any stitch which creates a ‘post’ (the tall, upright part of the stitch) can be used.

Whichever stitch you want to use, work the first part of the stitch, just until the very last step, then work the same incomplete stitch into the next stitch along, and finally into the 3rd stitch along, then group them all together with that final pull through.

If I Work DC3Tog for Texture, How do I Keep the Same Number of Stitches?

If you plan to work a dc3tog as a design element, or for texture, you will proceed as follows:

  • Work up to where you want your cluster to be, then ch1, work dc 3 tog, then ch1 again.

This way you won’t ‘lose’ those 2 stitches. Effectively you will have 2 chains between each cluster, one after the last cluster, and one before the next cluster.

Using Dc3tog to Make ClustersPin
Using Dc3tog to Make Clusters

If you plan to work it all the way across the row, work 1 dc first, then chain 1, then your dc3tog across the row to the last stitch, then ch1, 1dc into the last stitch.

Dc3tog vs Shell Stitch?

When used as a decrease, for shaping, the dc3tog will usually be on the 1st and/or the last stitch of your rows. When worked as a design element it could be anywhere in your row, any number of times.

When worked for its appearance it is sometimes called a cluster stitch or an inverted shell stitch.

It creates a pleasing pattern of upright triangular shapes, with spaces in between. It is the opposite of granny clusters or shells, which have the ‘cluster’ at the bottom, so the top is wider than the bottom of the cluster.

You can even combine the two, working one row of dc3tog, then the next row of granny clusters to form a diamond-shaped pattern. The 3dc of the granny cluster must be worked into the final loop of your dc3tog, then the bottom of the dc3tog must be worked inserting each part of the stitch into the top of each dc of the granny cluster.

Double Crochet 3 Together – In Conclusion

Hey presto, there you are! When your crochet pattern reads dc3tog, you now know exactly what to do! Or, if you want to add extra texture and pattern to any basic double crochet pattern you will know how to add this one. Have fun creating your own spin on a basic dc pattern!

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