Gender-specific button bands for infants?

I need more advice from the moms out there!

I’m planning to make a layette based on this pattern, and I was intending to knit the front bands in to keep it simpler and minimize the number of seams.

I realized that if I do this I have to decide in advance which side the buttons and button holes go on, and I don’t know the gender of the baby-to-be (note I’m also not using pink or blue yarn).

Should I do the bands separately, after the gender is announced, or is this not important to most new parents? I’m not experienced at knitting garments and wanted to get started right away in case I find myself in Do-Over Land (baby not due until Fall)!

Thanks for any advice!


I can’t imagine that a parent would be concerned that the buttons are on the left or right. You’re giving a handmade sweater! If they object to the button placements, snatch it out of their hands! :!!!: :teehee:

I tried searching for unisex baby clothing to see how they are buttoned, but couldn’t find much. Most of it is gender specific. Are you planning on selling these items or is it for a gift for someone you know? If it’s a gift I’d suggest waiting or use a gender neutral color OR if you know how the parents feel about color you could go with that.

As for buttoning…as Ingrid says I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You could also skip the buttons entirely and put a tie or two on it near the top.

I’m not a mom, but I see it this way: Girls can wear boy’s clothes, but boys can’t wear girl’s clothes. I would put them on the right side.

Exactly! :mrgreen:

Having been a new parent… they probably wouldn’t even notice if the buttons on a “boy” sweater were on the “girl” side or vice versa. Things get crazy! :eyes:

There are different sides for different genders?

I’m going to go with a no one really noticing or caring about which side the buttons are on for this thing. It’s a sweater. Just stick to neutral colors for the sweater itself, and you should be fine.

I really don’t think a new Mother would care about the side the buttons are on, just so long as it fits and is machine washable.

As a mother of two kids (boy age 7 years and a girl 1 and a half) until looking at knitting patterns in the last two weeks I didn’t even realize that they even were on different sides for boys or girls. So no I don’t think the person is going to care. The fact they are getting something made out of love should be the only thing on their minds.

in elizabeth zimmermann s book (i forget which) she suggests if the sex is unknown to make both sides button bands and adding the buttons after the baby is born. not sure how that would work… ijust skip buttons and add little ribbon ties. you could do i-cord ties instead, since ribbons are a bit more ‘girly’

She says that if you don’t know the sex, knit the bands plain, no button holes, or anything. Then, when you find out, pick up and knit i-cord button loops, and sew the buttons on. It is in Knitting Around and Knitting Without Tears, as well as in her newsletters.

I hate to throw a ringer in the works here, but I say, knit it so that it is convenient for the mother! If a right handed mother is buttoning a wiggle little bottom, the buttons go on the mother’s left, and the buttonholes on the mother’s right (more manual dexterity required to manipulate a buttonhole around a button, while button itself is held steady in the less dexterous hand.) Of course, on the actual object, this would be reversed because the mother is facing the child…Is this making any sense?

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I agree. I have a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl and of all the handmade items I received for them, I’ve honeslty never noticed which side the button was on and never thought that they would be on different sides when it comes to newborn clothing. I was more concerned that the buttons were sturdily sew on than anything else.

Wow, thanks so much for all the great tips and comments!

I’m not sure yet which option I’ll go with, but I am really glad to know that it’s no big deal either way!

Thank you, All.


aha! i can help here. i’m a seamstress from long ago. :oops:

girl’s clothing laps right over left. boy’s clothing laps left over right.

so for a girl, the buttons would go on the left, buttonholes on the right.
for a boy, buttons on the right, buttonholes on the left. :hug:


I agree. And i think unisex things are usually made this way.
example: jeans.

actually, I’m always perplexed when I put on a womans sweater because the zipper pull is on the “wrong” side. :rofl:

I don’t think any normal person would care, but if it’s stressing you out, put in 2 sets of buttonholes, sew the buttons on a firm strip of fabric or grosgrain ribbon, and that will allow the recipient to put the buttons wherever they like. It also makes it easy to use buttons which don’t wash well, as you can remove them before washing.