I've got some lovely soft coloured leather that I want to block over a button block. Has anyone worked with leather before who can provide some advice on how to block it? I've tried researching on the web and some sites suggest steaming it (in the same way as a felt hood) but others suggest immersing it in water. I'm worried the water may mark the leather. Grateful for your advice...


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I wet mine and block over buckram.  I love working with leather.

I've worked with leather on button blocks a couple of times.  

I've not blocked it per se, but treated like a fabric and stretched it over a buckram base, but this only works with very fine leather of course.

I cover the buckram base with wool wadding, which I fold under the edge of the brim by about 1 inch.  This is stitched firmly in place to give a firm base to stitch the leather to on the inside.  A good leather needle is essential!

I have heard of dampening the leather in order to block it direct, but also that you need to be careful as some of the dyes used are not so permanent.    Hopefully someone else will know more. 

The pic is one of my buttons.  




Hi Vivienne, I never wet my leather, use good buckram, wet thoroughly, then stretch your leather as tight as you can(tight pulling and pinning at the same time). The sizing on the buckram will help to hold it. Basically be brutal, it won't tear or split like fabric. Hope this helps x jill

Has any one got any suggestions for a good leather goods supplier?

By good I mean a business that will send leather to you, site unseen by yourself, and it will be a good workable piece. I've not got much time at the moment to be trekking to suppliers (I'm North Brisbane)

Thank you for any tips.

I'm keen to try blocking without soaking the leather in water. I was taught to do this and then to block it over a wool felt base, as expected I've found it to be very thick.

Hi Megan

Kinch Trading https://plus.google.com/101412005402463703022/about?gl=au&hl=en in Adelaide is really good and I believe they send all over. 

Caroline is a really nice person, and very helpful - she's worked with Milliners for many years, knows her stuff and has a range of leathers. 

Other than that, all I know is to ask for 'garment quality' leather and you get something soft and pliable - but I guess there's a great range in quality even in that descriptor!

Good luck.  

PS, I've been blocking over wool felt, but I'm going to try Jill's suggestion of damping the leather and blocking straight onto buckram :)





I have been looking for suppliers recently also, haven't tried them yet, but I did find the following: http://www.leffler.com.au
I use Lefflers all the time, Sue is great let her know if you've ordering unseen that ou want .5-.8ml leather if blocking. It needs to be as thin as possible. X Jill

Dear Vivienne, 

Since your message in April, hopefully you have had a chance to experiment with blocking the leather. Recently we had a shipment of Thermoplastics arrive at our showroom and have since been playing around with the different materials. We are really excited to report that blocking the thermoplastic called "Wonderflex" was really easy and it provided a very solid  and smooth base (see images below - sorry not sure why the images are rotated!). We then blocked the leather seperately before combining the two. We also supply soft Italian Nappa Leather now and found that really easy to block. In addition we offer calf leather which is not as soft and may require dampening/water to soften the leather whilst blocking. Hope that helps and we wish you all the best!

To view Wonderflex & other Thermoplastics, please click HERE

To view Leather, please click HERE

Best wishes, :-)  House of Adorn

You can immerse in water....no problem.

I have done straight up leather but have found the hillside works the best.  I soak it is water solvable stabilizer for about a half hour then stretch tightly to block.  This is a tough leather so be prepared to sweat and a little cussing.

Good luck


I've worked with leather only a couple of times and have soaked the leather in a bucket of warm water.  I then stretched the leather over a wood block in the traditional millinery manner.  I didn't find any spotting or disappointment with the leather.  It made it much easier to stretch.  Maybe you might want to wet a small piece of the leather and see how it reacts?  If you decide to soak it just remember to leave it in the water long enough to wet it thoroughly and don't wring it out as you will put a lot of wrinkles into it by doing so.

not yet.


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