How to Make the Perfect Stretchy Crochet Ribbing for Hats!

by Shehla Ahmed

Picture this: you’re working on a beanie with the most gorgeous pattern. You’ve followed all the steps, it’s the right size, and you used your warmest yarn to make this extra special beanie that you’re actually going to keep for yourself. Then you go to try it on –and your chain is so tight you can’t get the beanie on. Has that happened to you? I used to start my beanies with a normal chain and crochet the ribbed section using whatever method the pattern stated, but I always had a hard time with the ribbing. But over the last few years, I’ve been using a method for the perfect stretchy crochet ribbing that I’ve ever seen. And today, I’m going to show you how I do it!


How to Make a Stretchy Crochet Ribbing


Beanies have become some of my favorite things to makes. All the things I used to struggle with are easier now (after time and patience and just learning), and I’ve even designed a few of my beanie patterns. Two things never change though: my sizing method and my stretchy crochet ribbing.


If you have trouble sizing beanies too, then make sure you grab a copy of my Ultimate Guide to Sizing Hats ebook. It’s totally free and it has done-for-you list of measurements for every size beanie you’d want to make. Plus, there are guides walking you through how to actually figure out sizing and customize it to your needs!


Freebie: Ultimate Guide to Sizing Hats



As for the ribbing, you only need to know how to double crochet and work foundations stitches. The foundation stitches are super easy though, and I walk you through them in the video tutorial below. So, let’s get started!



  • FDC – Foundation DC
  • DC – double crochet
  • FPDC – Front post DC
  • BPDC – Back post DC


Stretchy Crochet Ribbing Tutorial


Grab your yarn and hook. It doesn’t really matter but for this, I’m using some Red Heart yarn and a 4.00mm hook.

Make a slip knot and chain 3. Then insert your hook into the first chain, YO, and pull up a loop.


YO and pull through just the first loop. Then YO again and work a DC with the three loops on your hook. This is your first Foundation DC (FDC). The first loop you pulled through is sort of standing in for a typical link on a foundation chain and the DC is worked directly on top of it. When you work a row of these, the chain has more room to stretch so you get a stretchier first row than just using a chain.



Now, *YO and insert your hook into the “chain” you made, YO, pull through the first loop, YO and DC.* Continue working these FDC until it’s long enough. I made 20 FDC here.


See that stretch already!


Chain 2.

Insert your hook behind the DC on the last row and YO. DC as normal. This is a FPDC.



Insert your hook in front of the next DC and pull up a loop. Finish the DC as normal. This is a BPDC.



Alternate between FPDC and BPDC along the row to make the first row of your stretchy crochet ribbing. For the next row, chain 2, and continue alternating between the two stitches. The more rows you work, the taller and more pronounced the ribbing becomes.






I love this crochet ribbing method and it’s my go-to for all my beanies. I even switch out whatever other patterns call for with this method because it’s so much easier, stretchier, and it looks better! Plus, it’s reversible so it looks great even when you have the brim flipped up and you don’t need to worry about it being on the right side or wrong side once you start the body of the beanie.


Check out some of my beanie patterns here (they all use this stretchy crochet ribbing!):


Rosebud Beanie Free Pattern


Pumpkin Spice Beanie Free Pattern


Houndstooth Beanie Free Pattern

Houndstooth Beanie Crochet Pattern


What’s the best crochet tip, trick or method you’ve learned? Let me know in the comments below! And if you want to get free patterns and yarny deals delivered right to your inbox every week, sign up for the newsletter below. It’s free and you get access to tons of subscriber-only bonuses!


See you soon 🙂


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Wendy December 11, 2020 - 8:25 am

Thank you for this tutorial. I made my infant granddaughter a winter beany but it was too small for her, so I went up in size, but that one was also too small. I figured it was because the yarn I used wasn’t stretchy enough. I’m looking forward to trying this stitch on another beany for her.

Shehla Ahmed December 14, 2020 - 1:34 pm

I’m so glad you found it helpful! I always had so much trouble getting beanies to fit but not anymore! You may also want to grab the Ultimate Guide to Sizing Hats freebie (in the post near the top) so you can have a reference for any size beanie you want to make. It has all the measurements you need so you don’t have to guess!

Busy Monday 341 November 11, 2018 - 2:30 pm

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Emily October 2, 2016 - 9:14 pm

Great tutorial; It’s so easy to follow! Thanks for linking up with Merry Monday!

Shehla Ahmed October 3, 2016 - 9:02 am

Thanks, Emily!

Reply June 24, 2016 - 5:08 am

Love this DIY! I'm getting some new crochet hooks and can't wait to learn how besides the string I can make lol 😉 Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight party!

Shehla Ahmed June 21, 2016 - 8:47 pm

Thank you, Tammy!

Tammy @ Posh Patterns Blog June 21, 2016 - 8:47 pm

Great tutorial and pictures! Visiting from That DIY Party link up. 🙂

Shehla Ahmed June 20, 2016 - 9:58 pm

Thanks! I hope you give it a try!

Crochet Hooks June 20, 2016 - 9:45 pm

great tute! thanks for sharing how to make a stretchy crochet ribbing!

Shehla Ahmed May 7, 2016 - 8:34 pm

Aw, thanks, Jess! I'm glad you enjoy them 🙂

Jess May 7, 2016 - 8:31 pm

You always make this look so easy! I always save all your tutorials! 🙂

Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

Shehla Ahmed April 30, 2016 - 5:21 pm

Thank you! I do try to explain as best as I can so it means so much to me that it comes through. You have a great weekend, too 🙂

Kreativk Net April 30, 2016 - 5:19 pm

Hi Shehla! This is a very detailed tutorial you're showing here! I haven't crocheted in years, but I think I'd be able to give this a try after some practising maybe and with your great tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing at Sweet Inspiration #4! Have a lovely weekend!