Have you had an idea for a crochet pattern in your head, but just don’t know where to begin with it? Maybe you’ve been meaning to write down how to do a pattern you created, but don’t know what to include in your pattern? If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck, because in this blog post I am sharing my 10 essentials for how to write a crochet pattern!
When I first started out crocheting I could barely do any stitches let alone write a pattern. Then as I kept learning how to crochet, I started developing this desire to create my own crochet patterns. Design ideas would pop in my head, and I’d try to write down what I did to create them, but never knew how to translate that into a written crochet pattern that I could sell. What’s great is that once you learn the basics of writing a crochet pattern then you will be able to get those crochet designs you create written up and ready to share!
This week on the E’Claire Makery Podcast, I had Meghan Makes Do as my latest guest to talk all about how to write crochet patterns. Meghan has always been a crafty person, and after doing crochet for awhile she decided she wanted to learn how to write her own patterns. On top of designing those, she also creates beautiful sewn pouches and often combines crochet and sewing into one design. In our podcast episode we talk all about the basics of pattern writing from what to include to how to set up your pattern. If you like watching videos and want to learn more about pattern writing, then this episode is for you!
All crochet patterns have the same easy formula that you can add your own spin to in each pattern you create. There are essentials that you always want to include in your pattern like materials, stitches, and the pattern itself. Then there are other things that you add in such as photos, notes, and the like. Overall there are 10 things that you need to have in the pattern, and I’ve created into a list of the 10 essentials of what to include in your crochet pattern..
At the beginning of your crochet pattern, usually on the first page, you’ll want to include an intro to your pattern that gives a description of what your pattern is like, and even what the person making it can use it for. An example description that I’ve done at the start of my patterns is: “This adorable crochet top is the perfect garment to bring in spring! Beginner friendly, easy to make, and with super cute results, this will soon be your favorite piece in your wardrobe.” It gives an explanation of what the pattern is along with how it can be worn. Get creative with your intro and see what happens!
Every crochet pattern has a difficulty level. Whether it’s an amigurumi toy, a pillow, a garment, or a hat, each pattern benefits from sharing how difficult it is to make it. If you use basic stitches and construction methods, then it is directed towards beginners. Where as having a pattern that uses multiple methods, or more complex construction and stitches then that will be on the intermediate to advanced level. Including the difficulty helps others know what to expect in your pattern, so that they know if their skill level will be able to create it.
Besides the written pattern itself, a materials list is one of the most important parts to include. This is the go to list for the person making your pattern to know what type of yarn they need to use for your pattern, what size of hook, and other notions they might need to complete it. When you list your yarn amounts, you will want to include the brand you used, the yardage the pattern requires, and what yarn weight it is. Most of the time people won’t use the yarn you used for the pattern, and will choose one of their own that they like. That’s why including all of the information about that yarn is crucial because you’ll want to make sure that they use the right type of yarn and the right amount of it for making your pattern.
In crochet patterns you usually don’t write out the complete name of the stitch you’re using each time that you do it, and instead use an abbreviation such as “dc” for double crochet. This section is where you list all of the stitches you used, and the abbreviations you used for them in your pattern. The Craft Yarn Council has a master list of crochet stitch abbreviations on their website for the abbreviations that are the industry standards for crochet stitches. You can view that here.
This is one of the key parts of a crochet pattern that you need to make sure is included, especially if your pattern is a garment or one that has different sizes. If you’ve never heard of gauge, this is the amount of stitches that you fit within a 4″ by 4″ square using the crochet stitch you used for the pattern. By having a gauge swatch in that size, you can make sure that the person making your pattern gets the same size piece that you did. It also is crucial in helping you do different sizes for garments. I wrote up a post that includes how to use a gauge swatch in crochet garment design, which you can see here.
This section can be optional if you’re not making a garment, but if you are writing up a garment pattern then you want to make sure that you include it in there. List each size that the pattern is sized for, and then include the bust measurements for each size to make sure that they fit the person making it. I make my garment designs to fit sizes XS-5X, so I include the bust sizes for each one of those. The same principles can be applied to if you’re designing something like a hat, but instead of bust measurements you’ll do the head circumference. Thankfully, hats usually just come in a few sizes, so it’s easier to do sizing for those.
The notes section is the space where you include any things that the person making your pattern needs to be aware of throughout the pattern. This could include anything from saying that it is made in one piece in the round to that your pattern uses U.S. crochet terminology. Here’s an example note section from one of my patterns to help give you an idea of what to include:
These notes are for my Carry The World bag, which has different color changes using tapestry crochet. I included notes about how it has those color changes, what stitch terminology I used, and how to read the pattern. You’ll want to adapt your notes section to fit your pattern, and put anything you think is needed to understanding your pattern.
Once you have all of the above things written down, you’ll then put the written pattern for your design. It doesn’t have to be formatted any fancy way, but could just be written lines of what to do. You’ll want to mark each row done by labeling it Row 1, for example. Then you’ll put what you do for that row down, and repeat it for each row. If there are multiple rows in a row that do the same thing, then you can mark it by saying something like Row 2-4 (or whatever rows it is in your pattern). If there is any assembly required for the pattern, then you’ll want to have a section that walks through that too. This section is one of the easiest parts because you just have to write down what you did for the pattern.
Photos are important to include in the pattern because they help the maker see what the pattern looks like if it’s being worn, used in the home, or is a toy you can play with. They help show details of the pattern that you can’t get from a description and are a great way to showcase your pattern’s highlights. I always include a photo of the pattern at the beginning of the pattern, and then have ones showing different steps for the pattern if I think a technique is difficult or tricky. For example, if I have any assembly in my pattern, I’ll include photos of how to put the pattern together. I do the same if there is a technique in the pattern that is not common. Having photos for those parts also can help make your pattern easier.
In all of my patterns I include a part at the bottom of my PDF pages where it says, ” 2019 Pattern created by E’Claire Makery. Pattern is for personal use only. Do not sell, distribute or claim as your own.” I also put in the copyright symbol by it. This makes sure that the pattern is officially copyrighted as designed by you and not belonging to anyone else. It’s essentially just documentation to prove that it is your design, and if someone else tries to copy it then you can show that you copyrighted it. Sometimes you can’t prevent other people from stealing your pattern, but this having this helps establish legal boundaries with the people who buy your patterns. It’s also good to let them know within there if they can sell finished products made from your pattern or not, and that if they do to mention that you are the designer for that pattern. Usually I put this at the bottom of the first PDF page, but you can also include it at the bottom of every page of your pattern.
Overall, once you get used to writing out all of these parts of a pattern, then you’ll be able to naturally write them out. As you’re creating your design, you’ll want to make sure that you write down each step of your pattern in order that you don’t forget anything. Soon you’ll have this pattern writing process and will be able to crank out designs like nobody’s business! I can’t wait to see all of the designs that you make, and share your creativity with the world. I hope that these 10 essentials to include in your patterns helped provide some direction for writing crochet patterns, and that you have all sorts of confidence to go forward and write crochet patterns of your own!
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