How to Sell Crochet Patterns (With a PDF Template)

I’ve been creating and selling crochet patterns for the last year, and I’m excited to share everything I know with you!

As a general rule, websites such as Ravelry and Etsy are the easiest and most profitable method for selling crochet patterns. To create a crochet pattern, write a tutorial of an original design on Google Docs or Canva, and download the PDF. List the PDF on Ravelry and Etsy for potential buyers!

That’s right, selling online is the way to go. Let’s go over the details of how to create your first crochet pattern and other essential elements!

How does selling crochet patterns work?

Crochet patterns are essentially a written and visual tutorial of how to create a given crochet project. In this new digital age, it has become a common practice to write up crochet patterns of original designs and self publish them to the internet, in the process making passive income.

To be able to sell a crochet pattern, you will need to come up with an original crochet design. For an in depth guide to designing amigurumi, click here to read the full blog post I wrote. Creating a crochet design and writing a pattern can involve a lot of trial and error, which I’ll discuss later. However, it’s important to know that you do not need any qualifications to write and design a crochet pattern, just an interest in design and a dedication to professionalism and high standards.

After writing down a pattern of an original design, convert the written instructions into a PDF, which is easy to download, send, and manipulate online. Essentially, you’ve just created a digital product that you can sell and distribute online that has value, as long as the design you’ve created is desirable and you’ve written it down in a way that is easily understood and replicated by others.

Now that you’ve finished creating your digital product, the next step is to find an audience that’s willing to purchase it from you, and to set up a way for them to access it and for you to get paid.

Louis the Lion, free pattern here.

Where can I sell crochet patterns?

Ravelry and Etsy are the best digital marketplaces to sell PDF crochet patterns. These platforms charge fees for listing digital patterns, but also have a high amount of traffic. Selling crochet patterns on a personal blog lowers fees, but requires a lot more time spent marketing.

The fastest way to make your first sale is to list your pattern on a digital marketplace that includes an audience built in that is interested in your product and might be able to find it. For crochet patterns, this usually means Ravelry and Etsy. Everyone browsing Ravelry is interested in crochet (and knit) patterns, and is usually willing to pay for them. Etsy is a handmade digital marketplace with a huge pool of potential buyers, of which many of them are crafters.

There are a few other options for places to list your pattern. You can try other digital marketplaces such as Craftsy, Lovecrafts, Ribblr, or any others that you may find. However, the main questions you should consider when deciding whether a given platform is worth your time are whether there is high enough volume of traffic on that website, and how competitive it is.

Ravelry and Etsy are pretty competitive, but they also have a huge amount of traffic that makes it more likely that the perfect customer will be able to find your pattern. Smaller platforms like Craftsy and Lovecrafts may have lower competition, but they also do not have as many users who regularly buy from those websites.

You should try several platforms and see whichever ones work the best for you, but I have found the most success with Etsy and Ravelry.

All of these online marketplaces make the transaction process relatively easy and are experienced with handling digital download products like crochet patterns, so they are a safe bet and a good place to start for beginners.

If you prefer to avoid fees and perhaps want to build your own brand, selling patterns on a personal storefront powered by Shopify or BigCartel is a good strategy. However, in this eventuality, you will be solely responsible for driving traffic to your website and building an audience. You will also have to set up your own transaction process and may have to deal with fees if you use PayPal or Stripe, common methods of online payment.

Regardless of whether you list your patterns on your website or on Etsy or Ravelry, marketing your patterns will increase the likelihood of someone purchasing your pattern. Marketing means engaging in any type of activity that gets your product in front of more people, especially people who may be interested in your product.

For crochet patterns, common methods of marketing include sharing your pattern on Pinterest, Facebook groups, and Instagram. You can also pay for ads on Facebook or Pinterest (or even Etsy). All of these activities involve sharing your crochet patterns on different social media platforms, as well as building an audience that will eventually recognize and value your brand.

Fluffle the Bear, free pattern here.

How do I write a crochet pattern PDF?

The best way to write a crochet pattern PDF is to record essential information, step by step instructions, and process photos on a software like Google Docs or Canva. It’s vital to include details like gauge, sizing, and abbreviations, as well as any charts or schematics.

The goal of a crochet pattern is to be universal, easily accessible, and helpful so that most people will be able to follow your instructions and create the same project that you designed.

With that in mind, every crochet pattern must include a few essential pieces of information, as well as adhere to some general guidelines.

You can create a PDF crochet pattern in any word processor that you can attach images to and download a PDF from. I highly recommend a free graphic design website, Canva, but you can also get started just using Google Docs, Word, Pages, or anywhere else you regularly type documents in.

Download my free crochet pattern template to get started!

For a free template of a PDF pattern I made in Google Docs, click here! Simply make a copy and save to your own Drive.

Note: This template is not guaranteed to be universal for all needs and is meant to be a starting point, not a perfect final pattern. Please adapt, edit, and polish for your own needs. This template was adapted from an amigurumi pattern and so may be missing some elements commonly found in garment patterns.

What do I need to include in my crochet pattern?

The essential items that you need to include in your crochet pattern PDF are as follows:

  1. Name of pattern
  2. Photos of finished product
  3. List of abbreviations that you will use throughout
    1. There is not a standard list of abbreviations, though it generally differs in the US and UK. However, as long as you stay consistent between your abbreviations list and your pattern, then you can use any notation method you wish.
    2. The Craft Yarn Council provides a list of standard abbreviations for US, UK, and Canada terminology (click here). Feel free to use this list if you do not have any other preferences.
  4. List of materials
  5. Final dimensions, and information about sizing if your pattern is graded for different sizes or dimensions
  6. Yardage in various sizes if your design is graded
  7. Color work charts if applicable
  8. Any helpful charts or schematics
    1. Stitch Fiddle is my go-to for creating crochet charts!
  9. Technical notes for general assistance, as well as links to tutorials for stitches or techniques that a beginner might not already be familiar with
  10. The pattern for your project, written in consistent and concise notation according to your abbreviations, with ample process photos throughout for clarity in difficult steps

Beyond these elements that are an absolute minimum, you may want to include some optional components:

  • A brief introduction to the pattern and some background on you as a designer
  • A note stating that your pattern should not be copied, and that finished objects made from the pattern can be sold in small quantities with credit to you (or not, depending on your wishes)
  • A method for crocheters to contact you if they require pattern support
  • A way for crocheters to share their finished projects with you on social media, either through a hashtag, tagging you on Instagram, or an email
  • Links to your social media accounts so that crocheters can find you online
  • Skill level of pattern
  • Your logo and brand name

Ultimately, a written pattern (especially one that is paid) is meant to be a straightforward, easily accessible, and generally standardized. Although there are no strict regulations for what you should or should not include, it’s generally best practice to make sure that your crochet pattern does not deviate substantially from what may already be conventionally, for the sake of crocheters who may already be used to the general format of crochet patterns.

The best way to learn what to include in crochet patterns, aside from following the list above, is to purchase and use a wide variety of crochet patterns yourself. That way, you can learn what elements you find to be essential, as well as certain elements that you prefer to be there and those that you find unnecessary. This way, you can produce a pattern that you feel is best.

One last note: most crochet patterns should be beginner friendly, though they do not necessarily have to be geared to absolute beginners. This mainly means including some notes or tips in your patterns for beginners attempting your pattern, ideally tutorials for uncommon stitches or stitch patterns, and any other techniques that may not be already known.

Most people who follow crochet patterns are likely confident beginners, and it’s always better to underestimate your reader’s ability than to overestimate.

Waffle the Bear, free pattern here.

How much should I charge for a crochet pattern?

Digital crochet patterns should be priced between $3-7 each. Pricing should be based on the complexity of the pattern and amount of time spent writing the pattern, as well as the experience and brand recognition of the designer.

The general range of prices for digital crochet patterns ranges from $1 at times up to $7-8 for well known designers. For new designers, begin pricing your crochet patterns at a baseline of around $3-5, so that you have some leeway for sales, but also room to grow.

After you’ve decided your baseline price, increase your price based on complexity of the pattern. This could mean that you have a range of prices for a variety of projects, from accessory to graded sweater.

You should also increase your baseline depending on how well known your brand has become. Ultimately, the bigger your brand grows, the more you can charge, because your audience base is larger. You should also establish yourself as a high end designer so that your audience is more willing to pay higher end prices for your patterns.

In the beginning of your pattern designing journey, you likely will not make that much money per pattern, but if you consistently build your brand on social media and online over time, each pattern will eventually earn — and the more you grow, the more the patterns will sell.

Selling digital patterns of designs is a more efficient way of earning money than selling finished objects because it’s a form of passive income, meaning that you do not need to actively work to make money for each pattern sold. Once you design a pattern, it can continue to earn money for you theoretically forever, as long as you keep growing your brand and continue reaching new people.

I hope this article helped you get started in your pattern writing and selling journey! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below or email me at littleworldofwhimsy@gmail.com. I’d love to help out!