Crocodile (Dragon Scale) Stitch Tutorial

If you’ve ever searched for How to crochet the crocodile stitch or How to crochet a dragon stitch, then you’ve come to the right place! The crocodile stitch (or dragon scale stitch) adds a lot of character and texture to a piece, and it has risen in popularity recently. There are a number of tutorials out there for this stitch – and almost none of them match.

The truth is, there are a few different ways to do it. The number of chains between stitches and the method for creating the foundation row seems to vary from designer to designer.  

I developed my method after trying several different ones. I changed the foundation row slightly so that there were fewer gaps between stitches; I also used two chains between each foundation stitch so that the scales lay flat once finished. I hope this helps you on your crocodile stitch adventure!


Starting Out

The Crocodile Stitch is built over two rows. A foundation row, which creates the dcs you will use to make each scale, and what I call the “scale row” where you will actually create each scale.

Working flat, chain in factors of 5 + 3. So, for a flat piece the width of a scarf, I would chain 40 + 3 =43. Each scale spans 5 chains, so adjust depending on your piece.

Working in the round, you do not need the extra chains that count as your first DC, so you can chain in a factor of 5. 

Foundation Row

Each row alternates in a pattern of [2 DC in one stitch, ch 2, skip 2, SC, ch 2, skip 2] across, ending, and beginning with a 2 DC. The scale will be worked in the two dcs and the sc will be used to anchor the edge of each scale to the work.

A great deal of stitch tutorials use a dc as the single space. I choose to use an SC to decrease the gap between scales, thus preventing big holes in the work between each scale. This is especially helpful when using the crocodile stitch for bags or clothing.

crocodile stitch tutorial from Hooked by Kati

Scale Row

Working around the post of the 1st dc, fpdc (front post double crochet) 5 stitches. This means you insert your hook around the POST of the dc (the whole thing), putting your hook from front to back, RIGHT TO LEFT, behind the stitch, and back out the front again. It looks like this:

crocodile stitch tutorial from Hooked by Kati

You will stack the stitches on their sides from top to bottom, working down the post.

{Tip: Rotate the work to the right for this part to make it a little more natural, making the dc stitches down the post easier to work.}

crocodile stitch tutorial from Hooked by Kati

You will next work a fpdc in the second dc, but facing the other way. You will insert your hook from front to back, LEFT to RIGHT, behind the stitch, and back out the front again. It looks like this:

crocodile stitch tutorial from Hooked by Kati

Working around the second post, fpdc 5 stitches. This time, because it is backward, you will stack the stitches back up the post from bottom to top.

{Tip: Rotate the work back to the left, almost upside down. This allows you to work more naturally and makes the post easier to work on.}

When you finish the scale, it will look like this:

crocodile stitch tutorial from Hooked by Kati

SC in the SC of the foundation row to anchor the scale to the work. Then repeat the scale with the next pair of dcs on the foundation row.

In the next foundation row, the pair of dcs are now BETWEEN the scales and the sc in the chain space of the scales.

[2 dc in sc between scales, ch 2, sc in chain space in scale, ch 2] across.

This way, when you work the next row of scales, the scales will not be lined up but will stagger over each other to lay flat.

Have fun adding crocodile stitches to your work! 

Here are a few Hooked by Kati patterns to try out your new stitch!

Dragon Scale Clutch Purse | Free

Dragon Cross Body Bag | Premium | $4.50

Dragon Scale Stripe Fingerless Gloves | Premium | $3.00

Yarn On,


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One Comment

  1. I found the whole thing very interesting. Have thought about learning crocodile stitch, but, just never did anything that needed it. I think a great tutorial.
    Thank you

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