I recently created this Sea and Shells Beach dress for our vacation to the Cayman Islands. I had so much fun making it, but the biggest hurdle I encountered was settling on the perfect stitch design. After weeks of swatching and scouring a few different stitch books, I found the one! It’s called “Mesh and Shells” stitch and I found it in my “The Big Book of Crochet Stitches” by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. You can purchase that book for yourself here.
It’s a fairly easy stitch, once you get the hang of it, and is perfect to create lightweight garments when paired with the right yarn and hook size. I am seriously in love with this stitch and cannot wait to use it again! Below I have put together a slightly modified, picture tutorial of how to work this stitch and hope you find it helpful in making my Sea and Shells Beach dress, or another crochet design of your choosing!
I used a size J (6.0 mm) crochet hook and Lion Brand’s ZZ Twist yarn and it was the perfect combo for this stitch!
To get things started, you will begin with a starting chain that is a multiple of 10 plus 2.
From here you will begin working single crochets across, starting in the second chain from your hook. Once the foundation is set, the fun begins. This stitch is worked in 4 main steps, repeated over and over.
In the first step, you’ll be creating chain spaces that you will work into for step two. So to do this, you will chain 5 and skip 4, working a single crochet into the fifth stitch, repeating this across the row. To finish the row you will chain 3 before you turn your work.
The second step was my favorite. This is when you start working the shells. You will begin by double crocheting 2 into your first stitch at the base of your chain 3.
This will create a half shell at the beginning of your row. Next, you will single crochet into the first 5 chain space you see (not into a specific stitch), followed by chaining 5 and single crocheting into the next chain 5 space of the previous row.
You will work the first complete shell next by double crocheting 5 into the single crochet located directly after the chain space you just worked your single crochet into. To complete the shell, you will single crochet into then next chain 5 space.
You will then chain 5, single crochet into the next chain 5 space, and start your next shell by working into the single crochet located right after the chain 5 space you just worked into.
You’ll repeat this process across the row, ending your last repetition with 3 double crochets worked into your last single crochet. You will end with a chain 1 before turning your work.
The next row will be another row of chains, this time in multiples of 3. You’ll begin by single crocheting into the first double crochet. Then you’ll chain three and then single crochet into the 1st chain 5 space of this row.
You will then chain three more and single crochet into the 3rd double crochet of the first shell (the very center stitch), repeating this process across the row.
This row ends by you single crocheting into the top of your turning chain from the previous row, and chaining 3 before turning your work.
The next row is the final row of repetition for this stitch pattern. You will simply be double crocheting 4 into each chain 3 space across the row. Another super easy and fun row (see what I mean that this stitch is easier then you might think?!?).
To complete this row, you will double crochet into the last single crochet, chain 1 and turn your work.
To start the next and each subsequent repetition, you will be chaining 5 and then single crochet into the last double crochet of each 4-double crochet group from your previous row.
Or, in other words, you will chain 5, skip 3 and single crochet into the 4th stitch across the row. This sets you up to start your row with the shells again.
It takes a few rows to really get into the swing of it, but once you do, you’ll be cruising! You will want to end on a 4- double crochet group row, and could either single crochet across that to finish, or switch to a different stitch like I did for my dress.
I love this stitch pattern so much, I cannot wait to find another project to use it for. I never once got bored making this dress because of the ever-changing rows. I hope you enjoyed working with it as much as I did, and make sure to check back in a few days for the free pattern of making my Sea and Shells Beach Dress!
Foundation: Chain a multiple of 10, plus 2
Row 1: Sc across the row beginning in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1, turn
Row 2: Sc in first st, *ch 5, sk 4, sc*, repeat from * across ending in a sc, ch 3 and turn
Row 3: dc 2 into first sc, sc into next ch 5 sp, *ch 5, sc in next ch 5 sp, dc 5 into next sc, sc in next ch 5 sp*, repeat from * across ending last rep with 3 dc in last sc, ch 1, turn.
Row 4: sc in first dc, *ch 3, sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, sc in 3rd dc of dc-5 group*, repeat from * across ending with a sc in the top of your turning ch, ch 3, turn.
Row 5: dc 4 in each ch 3 sp across. End row with 1 dc in the last sc, ch 1, turn.
Row 6: sc in first dc, *ch 5, sk 3, sc in 4th dc of the 4-dc group*, rep from * across, end row with a sc in top of the turning ch, ch 3, turn.
Repeat rows 3-6 for pattern