The Best Stitch for Crochet Seams

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What is the best stitch for seaming crochet?  I am a crochet designer and I can tell you.  But the answer might surprise you.  I wrote up a blog post all about seaming crochet sweaters and you can read it now.  This pin will take you directly to the post.

There are a lot of different stitches you can use to seam a garment: whip stitch, mattress stitch, single crochet, running stitch, etc.  But which of these crochet seams is the best?  My answer might surprise you.

My advice is to use the stitch you enjoy the best.  What?  “Aren’t some stitches better than other stitches?” you may ask.

Yes, but if you hate the best stitch for the job then I don’t recommend it.  Let me explain.

Crochet Seams

Crochet seams vary from enjoyable to drudgery, strong to loose, and visible to invisible.  I take all 3 of these factors into consideration when choosing which stitch to use.  And enjoyment is always my deciding factor.  

Here are some examples of the stitches that can be used for seams and how to decide when and where to use them.

A woman wearing a crochet top.  The top is seamed on the side with a mattress crochet seam.
I used the easy mattress stitch to seam the edge of the Never Enough Fringe Tee.

The Locking Mattress Stitch

Awhile ago I saw a video where Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby demonstrated the locking mattress stitch.  It holds crochet seams together very tightly without bunching and you can barely see it.  It’s the perfect crochet seam.  10 for strength and 10 for invisibility.  Except for one thing, it’s pure drudgery!  It’s boring and tedious and impossible to pull out if you make a mistake.

It gets a 0 from me for enjoyability.  Even though this is probably the best seam to use for all areas of a garment, I don’t ever use it because I hate it.

Single Crochet

In my opinion, the most enjoyable of the crochet seams is the single crochet stitch seam.  Place your pieces right sides together and sc those edges together.  Bam, you’re done.

It’s a very strong stitch and it’s not sewing, it’s crochet.  I give it a 10 for strength and a 10 for enjoyability.  Where it falls short is visibility. It’s makes a visible seam on the edge of your garment and a bit of a crease.  So I’m thinking a 5 for invisibility.

Close-up of a crochet seam on the side of a crochet sweater.  The type of seam is a single crochet stitch seam.
Here you can see the Single Crochet seam used to join the edges of rows on the side of a garment. The seam is a bit noticeable.

Taking all of that into consideration this is a great stitch for shoulders. It’s perfect because the weight of the garment hangs on the shoulders.  And the weight of the garment flattens the seam making it less visible.  This is the seam I always recommend on shoulders.

I don’t use a single crochet seam on the sides of my garment because I prefer to use a seam that is more invisible. But you know what?  If you hate sewing, just use the sc crochet seam on the whole darn garment and call it a day.  Who cares if you can slightly see a seam?  You can see a seam on sewn clothing and no-one gives a hoot about that.

And if using a crochet seam you enjoy is the difference between finishing your garment or your garment living in the WIP pile for all of eternity, then do the single crochet seam by all means.  There’s no reason to torture yourself.  Crochet is supposed to be fun.

An up close view of a single crochet seam joining two pieces of a crochet garment at the shoulder.
This is an example of the single crochet at the shoulder of a garment. The seam runs straight down the middle of the photo. It is less noticeable here than in the other example because the seam is used here to join the tops of the stitches together as opposed to the sides of the rows.

Easy Mattress Stitch

If you are up for a little stitching, I highly recommend the easy mattress stitch for the sides and underarms of a garment.  It’s a lot easier than Shannon’s locking mattress stitch.  It’s not as strong as other crochet seams like Shannon’s stitch or the sc but you don’t need a ton of strength on the edge of a garment or under the arm.

For these areas the easy mattress stitch is my go to stitch.  I give it a 7 for strength, a 7 for enjoyability and a 10 for invisibility.  If you’d like to learn the easy mattress stitch you can view a video tutorial that I created on my YouTube channel HERE.

Close-up of a mattress stitch seam on a crochet top.
Here you can see the sides of a garment seamed with the easy mattress stitch. The seam is so invisible that even though two different colored sections are joined here you still can’t see the seam. It’s amazing that the pieces look like they are just placed next to each other even though they are in fact securely seamed.
A farther away look at the same mattress stitch as the above picture.
Here is another look at the easy mattress stitch seam on the side of the Beautiful View Tee.

The Whip Stitch

The whip stitch is an enjoyable crochet seam, just stitch around and around and your done.  This stitch is not super strong though.  I would not recommend using this on the shoulder of a garment.  And it makes a bit of a visible seam.

But I see a lot of designers using this stitch to successfully seam their garments. So I definitely thinks it’s a seam worth considering. It has a similar look to the single crochet seam when finished.

I use the whip stitch mostly for attaching small pieces to a large piece, like attaching pockets or appliqué.

But again, if whip stitch is your favorite seam just go for it and seam up the whole garment that way.  It’s perfectly strong enough for the sides and underarms.

Try it on the shoulders.  I don’t find it strong enough but if you are using a strong yarn that doesn’t stretch too much it might do the trick.  If you start to have gaping at your shoulder seam, turn the garment inside out and try a different stitch.  No big deal.

A close-up view of crochet seams on a bag.  The seams are stitched with a whip stitch seam.
I attached these graphic balls to my 9 Ball Tote design with the whip stitch. This pattern is free on my blog HERE.

Running Stitch

Although the running stitch is perfect for sewing cloth garments I’ve never heard of anyone using it to seam a crochet garment.  It’s not ideal.  It’s not very strong and your seam is going to be very visible.  But if this is the seam for you then go for it.

And like the whip stitch, if your shoulder seam starts to gap, turn your garment inside out and try a different stitch.  It’s all about experimenting and finding out what works best for you and your project.

I use this seam for attaching appliqué when I want the sides of my appliqué to be visible.

A close up of an applique applied to a crochet top with a running stitch.
The circle representing the sun on my Beautiful View Tee is attached with a running stitch. Notice how the edge is visible as opposed to the edge of the bumps on previous 9 Ball Tote above.

The Recommended Stitch

Often times in a pattern the designer will recommend a stitch. I do this in my crochet patterns. When recommending which stitch to use I use my above method for choosing the stitch (strength, enjoyability, and visibility). I think all designers do.

Take the designer’s instruction as a suggestion. They have their reasons for choosing that stitch. Strongly consider using the recommended stitch because that is the stitch they found worked best for that area of the garment.

But if you hate the stitch, try your own. If your stitch starts to gap or doesn’t work in some way you can always take it out and redo it a different way. That’s one thing I love about crochet. Your decisions aren’t permanent. If it doesn’t work just pull it out and redo it.

A part of a pattern showing the recommended seam.
In my pattern for the Beautiful View Tee I recommend the single crochet seam for the shoulder and the mattress stitch for the side seam.

In Conclusion

As you can see, the answer to “which seam should I use?” is not cut and dry.  There are a lot of things to take into consideration including you and your preferences.  My final answer is consider the best seams for the job, then choose the one you like the most or the one you hate the least.  Ha-ha.  

And always do what is best for you.  It’s more important that you finish your project and enjoy all the hard work you put into your garment than whether or not the side seam is visible.  I want your project to end up being worn and enjoyed by you, not sitting on your to do list for the rest of your life.

I hope this makes you more confident when choosing seams and makes seaming your garments more enjoyable for you.

A woman wearing a crochet top with bobbles.  The top is stitched with a mattress stitch on the sides and a single crochet seam at the shoulder.
Here is a photo of me happy because I used my favorite seams to finish my Lean Into Bobbles Tee and it’s now a beautiful piece I can wear instead of just another WIP in my pile.