How to Crochet on Both Sides of a Foundation Chain Tutorial

Knowing how to crochet on both sides of a foundation chain is a critical skill for crocheters to know. You’ll need to know this skill to make an oval shape, commonly used in amigurumi projects, as slipper and baby shoe soles, bag bottoms and more.  

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to crochet on both sides of your foundation chain and how different ways you work into that chain can impact the final look of your piece.  I’ve included both a photo tutorial and video tutorial in this post to help support different learning styles and provide additional support.

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When most of us learn to crochet, we learn to work back and forth in turn rows and then eventually move onto working in rounds (at least I did).  But what if you want to make an oval?  What about a rectangle where you don’t have to turn at the end of your round?  

That’s where learning how to work on either side of a foundation chain comes in super handy. It is handy in so many different situations and opens up a new realm of shaping possibilities.

crochet hook with crochet oval illustrating crocheting on both sides of a chain


Before we get started, I’ll list some materials you’ll need to crochet on both sides of the chain and then I’ve created a mini sample pattern for us to follow along with for this tutorial.

Materials Required:

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the materials you’ll need for this project:

Sample Pattern:

 Abbreviations:

Instructions:

CH 9.

Round 1: SCINC in the 2nd CH from the hook. SC in the next 6 CHs, work 3 SC in the last CH. Working on the other side of the chain, SC 7. (18)

Round 2: SCINC x 2, SC 6, SCINC x 3, SC 6, SCINC. (24)

How to Crochet on Both Sides of a Foundation Chain – Video Tutorial

How to Crochet on Both Sides of a Foundation Chain – Photo Tutorial

crocheted oval next to a crochet hook on a white background with text that says how to crochet on both sides of a foundation chain tutorial + video tutorial

Creating your Foundation Chain

Create a chain with your desired number of chain stitches. In our pattern example, we have a CH 9.

crochet chain with numbers and arrows show how many chains there are

Place your first stitches in the second chain (2nd ch) from the hook (you never work into the first chain). In our pattern, it says to work a SCINC in that chain so we will create 2 single crochet stitches in that chain.

crochet hook inserted into a crochet chain

Work the next set of instructions (SC in the next CHs). When you get to the last chain, you’ll create multiple stitches in that last chain to turn your work.  In our pattern, we’ll work 3 SC stitches into that last chain.

crochet piece showing 3 single crochet stitches worked into the last chain to pivot piece to crochet on both sides of the chain

Now we’ll turn our chain.  You should see some loops under the first set of stitches you created.  This is the remaining, unworked front loops of the foundation chain. 

crochet piece on white background with arrows showing which loops to work into and which to skip

When working into the bottom of a chain like this, you want to make sure that you’re skipping the last chain because you’ve already worked into that with your 3 SC stitches.  Starting in the second chain, we’ll work our next set of instructions from our sample pattern: SC 7.  

Tip 1: If you’re a tight crocheter and you find that working into these loops are too difficult, I’d recommend redoing your starting chain with a looser tension or even a larger hook size.

Tip 2: Always take time to count your stitches at the end of your first row / rounds to ensure you have the correct number of stitches before proceeding to the next Round.  If your stitch count is off on your first row, then all subsequent rows will have issues. 

Below is an image of the completed Round 1 of the sample pattern.

crochet hook next to a crochet piece that has been crocheted into both sides of the chain

Working Round 2

When starting Round 2, you’ll work under both loops of each stitch around as normal (except where the pattern indicates to work in a different location of the stitch)

NOTE:  Make sure that you have a stitch marker, safety pin, hair pin etc. handy to place in the first stitch of this round. You’ll move this stitch marker up in each subsequent round.

Below is an image of the piece with Round 2 completed.

crocheted oval next to a crochet hook on a white background

Troubleshooting Gaps in the Chain When Working Around a Foundation Chain

Got gaps in the chain between both sides of your foundation row like the image below? This happens when you work your stitches under only the back loop of the chain and the front loop of the chain. Working into a single loop will stretch the chain, causing that gap.

hands holding a crochet oval with gaps in the foundation chain

How to fix it:

Always make sure that when you’re working into a foundation chain that you insert your hook under the back loops and the back bumps of the chain. You know that you have picked up both loops when you see 2 loops on your hook like in the image below. Just making this little change can make a big difference in the finished look of your projects. 

crochet hook inserted into a chain with arrows showing how many loops should be on the hook to eliminate gaps in the chain when working on both sides of the chain

The below image is a completed crochet oval that has been worked properly into both sides of the chain. But there is still another way you can do this and get even less of a gap however, you do loose some elasticity.

hands holding a completed crochet. oval

Way Two: You can turn your chain and only work into the back bump of the chains when you start your first side of the foundation chain. In the image below, shows the little back humps on the back of the chain.  

When  you turn to work on the opposite side of the piece, you’ll work under both remaining loops. The below oval has been worked into the back bumps of the foundation chain.

hands holding a completed crochet oval that has been worked into the back bumps

Need to learn how to work in the back bump of chains?  Check out my blog post: Working into the Back Bump of Chains tutorial. (coming soon!)

Watch the tutorial video above to learn more about the differences between theses two techcniques for working on opposite sides of the chain.

Practice Your New Skill!

Here are some great free patterns to practice working on both sides of a crochet chain in a crochet project:

I hope you enjoyed this crochet tutorial and are excited to get started learning more crochet stitches and techniques! Here are some other great crochet tutorials to check out next:

Be sure to check out my Crochet Stitch Tutorials page to get a list of tutorials for basic stitches in both traditional crochet and tunisian stitches, tips, tricks, special stitch patterns and techniques and more.

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