How To Decrease Crochet – Made Easy for Beginners

Learn the easiest way how to decrease crochet. Once you have mastered the basics of the crochet stitches, you will want to expand your skills, and one of the ways to do that is to shape your fabric. You may want to have well-fitting clothing items, or you may want to make amigurumi or similar toys. It is possible to create clothing out of rectangles, but if you want a stylish garment, you will need to know how to decrease.

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How to Decreasing Crochet, Decreasing Crochet

How to Decrease Crochet Tutorial

What Is A Decrease In Crochet?

When you decrease, you are reducing the number of stitches in the row or round of crochet. This, of course, makes it smaller. Your row or round will become shorter. The usual method of decreasing is to crochet two stitches together.

All crochet patterns vary, and some may say ‘scdec’ or ‘decsc’, while others may say sc2tog. They all mean the same thing. These abbreviations refer to single crochet, but you will need to shape your fabric whatever stitch you are doing, so here is a guide to decreasing in a variety of stitches.

As long as you understand the principle of the crochet decrease, you will be able to decrease in any stitch.

Decrease Abbreviations

How to Decreasing Crochet, Decreasing CrochetPin
How to Decreasing Crochet, Decreasing Crochet

How To Decrease Crochet, Stitch By Stitch Instructions

Whichever stitch you are working on, you start making the stitch but don’t complete it by working that final pull-through of the hook. Before the final step, you start making the next stitch, then complete them together at the same time.

Single Crochet Decrese

Single crochet decrease is often abbreviated as sc2tog.

  • Work to where you want the decrease to be.
How to Decrease Single CrochetPin
How to Decrease Single Crochet
  • Insert the hook into the 1st stitch.
How to Decrease Single CrochetPin
How to Decrease Single Crochet
  • YO and pull yarn through. (2 loops on hook)
How to Decrease Single CrochetPin
How to Decrease Single Crochet
  • Do not complete the stitch as you would normally do.
  • Insert hook into the next stitch.
  • YO and pull loop through. (3loops on hook)
How to Decrease Single CrochetPin
How to Decrease Single Crochet
  • YO and pull through all 3 loops, thus finishing both single crochets at once.

You will now have 2 single crochet stitches joined together at the top to make just 1 stitch.

How to Decrease Single CrochetPin
How to Decrease Single Crochet

Half Double Crochet Decrese

Often written as hdc2tog.

The principle is the same: whichever stitch you are working on, you will turn 2 stitches into 1.

  • Work to where the decrease needs to be.
Half Double CrochetPin
Half Double Crochet
  • yo hook.
  • Insert hook into 1st stitch.
How to Decrease Crochet - HDCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – HDC
  • YO and pull yarn through. (3 loops on hook)
How to Decrease Crochet - HDCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – HDC
  • yo.
  • Insert hook into the next stitch.
  • YO and pull yarn through. (5 loops on hook)
How to Decrease Crochet - HDCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – HDC
  • YO and pull through all 5 loops, finishing both hdc at once.
How to Decrease Crochet - HDCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – HDC

How to Decrease Crochet in Double Crochet

Decreasing a double crochet stitch is usually written as dc2tog.

Once again, working in the same manner, work the stitch to the last pull-through, then don’t complete it. Work the second stitch and complete both at the same time.

How to do double crochet 2 together:

  • Work to where the decrease needs to be.
How to Decrease Crochet - DCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – DC
  • yo hook.
  • Insert hook into first stitch.
How to Decrease Crochet - DCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – DC
  • YO and pull yarn through. (3 loops on hook)
How to Decrease Crochet - DCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – DC
  • YO
  • Pull yarn through 2 loops. (2 loops left on hook)
How to Decrease Crochet - DCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – DC
  • YO
  • Insert hook into the next stitch.
  • YO and pull through. (4 loops on hook)
How to Decrease Crochet - DCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – DC
  • YO, pull through 2 loops. (3 loops left)
How to Decrease Crochet - DCPin
How to Decrease Crochet – DC
  • YO, pull through all 3 loops, finishing both dc sts at once.
How to Decrease CrochetPin
How to Decrease Crochet

The method remains the same for whichever stitch you are working, even treble or double treble. Work the first stitch to the last pull-through, then pull through all the leftover loops at once. Each decrease will form a cluster of 2 stitches. If you have already worked with cluster stitches, this will be really easy for you!

When To Decrease Crochet

Decreasing Crochet at the Beginning vs End of Rows

Depending on your pattern, you may be asked to decrease at the beginning and/or end of a row or to decrease across the entire row.

If your pattern says decrease once at the beginning of the row, work your turning chain, work two stitches together, then work to the end of the row.

If it tells you to decrease at the end of the row, work to the last 3 stitches, work 2 together, then just crochet one final stitch at the end of the row.

Decreasing Crochet Amigurumi

If you are making an amigurumi, you may be instructed to decrease across the entire row. In this case, you will turn every 2 stitches in one stitch, thus halving the stitch count.

How to Decrease Crochet for Shaping

What about shaping the underarm of sleeves and armholes in crochet?

The pattern will tell you to slip stitch as many stitches as you need to create that indent for the underarms.

Then you will leave the last few stitches unworked at the end of the row to create that at the end of that row.

I have used a contrasting color for illustration. If you are working in one color, those slip stitches will be invisible!

You will crochet until you have (say) 3 stitches left, then work your turning chain and turn for the next row, continuing with the indent left for fitting the sleeve.

The pattern will probably say something like ‘leave rem sts unworked’, telling you to turn and continue before reaching the end of the row.

How to Decrease Crochet for ArmholesPin
How to Decrease Crochet for Armholes

How Do I Work An ‘Invisible Decrease’?

If you want your decreases to be smooth and invisible, with no lumps and bumps, you will need to know how to work into the front loop only of your stitches.

When you make slow increases at the beginning and end of rows, your decreases will not show up too much. If you are working many increases at once, your work can get a bit bumpy across the row.

How to Decrase Crochet with Front Loop Only (FLO):

Usually, you insert your hook through both loops at the top of the stitch from the previous row.

To work FLO, you insert your hook into only the front half of the stitch.

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Let’s assume you are working in single crochet.

  1. When you reach the place where you want to decrease, insert your hook into the front loop of the first stitch.
  2. Insert the hook into the front loop of the next st. You will be inserting into both front loops before pulling the yarn through. (3 loops on hook)
  3. YO, draw through the first 2 loops. (2 loops left on hook)
  4. YO, draw through both loops on the hook. (1 loop remains) Your invisible decrease is done.
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Double Crochet 3 Together

Sometimes you may need to decrease more rapidly and more than one stitch at a time.

In this case, your pattern will say dc3tog, or sc3tog, whichever stitch you happen to be working. To do this, you will form a 3 stitch cluster. The principle is still the same, grouping unfinished stitches together, but you will now work over 3 stitches instead of 2.

For example, if you are working in double crochet, here is how to double crochet 3 together:

First Incomplete DC

  • yo. Insert hook into 1st st, yo, pull up a loop. (3 loops on hook).
  • YO, pull the hook through 2 loops. (2 loops on hook) Don’t complete the stitch!

Second Incomplete DC

  • Move to the next stitch along. (2nd st.)
  • YO, insert hook into 2nd st.
  • YO, pull up loop. (4 loops on hook)
  • Yo, pull through 2 loops. (3 loops on hook) Don’t complete the stitch.

Third Incomplete DC

  • YO
  • Insert hook into next stitch (3rd st along).
  • YO, pull up a loop. (5 loops on hook)
  • YO, pull through 2 loops. (4 loops on hook)

Finishing

  • YO, pull through all 4 loops, thus finishing the stitch.

How to Decrease Crochet – In Conclusion

This is the same procedure if you have had any experience with cluster stitches. However, when working a cluster stitch, you add in chain stitches to keep your stitch count the same.

When you want to reduce the stitches, you do not add in any extra stitches! If you understand how the crochet decreases works, a new world of patterns will open up to you! If you find that you are becoming addicted to crochet, enjoy that addiction, it is a harmless and useful one!

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