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Tutankhamun's Wardrobe and the TRC

The textiles and garments from the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun, who died ca. 1323 BC, have to date received scant attention, although they constitute the largest group of items from the tomb, and they certainly will provide a wealth of information about the state-of-the-craft of Egyptian and Middle Eastern textile production in the second half of the second millennium BC. The TRC is therefore very honoured, and thrilled, that the Egyptian museum authorities have recently granted Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director TRC, and her team access to the conservation laboratories and other facilities of the new Grand Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt, in order to carry out, always under the supervision of GEM restoration specialists, a full examination of the Tutankhamun textiles, clothing and related items housed at GEM.

Read more: Tutankhamun's Wardrobe and the TRC


Repeat, 4 February: Wednesday morning workshop: Appliqués and patchwork from Egypt.

Because of train problems around Leiden, and various people not being able to reach the TRC, the TRC’s Wednesday workshop of 28 January about the history and use of appliqué and patchwork in ancient, medieval and modern Egypt, will be repeated on Wednesday 4th February. There are places available for new participants ! The workshop will look at various techniques, including the appliqué techniques used in ancient Egypt (based on items from the tomb of Tutankhamun, c. 1320 BC), the patchwork techniques used in medieval Egypt, especially by the Mamluks (c. 1400 AD), and, of course, the appliqué techniques currently used by the craftsmen of the Street of the Tentmakers.

The workshop will include a PowerPoint presentation about the history of appliqué and patchwork in Egypt, a guided tour of the exhibition with an emphasis on the techniques that are being used, and of course the chance for those attendingto experiment with these techniques themselves. The participants will have the choice of three levels of appliqué and/or patchwork to try out: Simple (Mamluk inlay patchwork); Medium (Street of the Tentmakers appliqué; large scale, using cotton); Difficult (Tutankhamun style appliqué; small scale, using linen). Participants do NOT need to have any previous experience in making appliqués and patchwork. Those who do may, if they so wish, try out the Tutankhamun appliqué!

The workshop will be given by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director of the TRC and curator of the exhibition The languages of communication will be Dutch and English (if required)

Date: 4 February; Time: 10.00 - 13.00. Costs: 25 euros including materials, tea/coffee. Participants: maximum of 15 people. Please register as soon as possible at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and indicate which level of work you would like to try out.


Wednesday Morning Workshop, 25th February. The World of Samples and Samplers

This Wednesday Morning Workshop will take place on the 25th February, again from 10.00 - 13.00 hrs. This time we will explore and experiment with the world of samples and (the more intricate) samplers. For many people a sample or sampler is produced in cross stitch and includes a name, year, letters and isolated images, but the world of samplers is actually much more complicated and includes band, commemorative, design, globe, map, mending, moral, stitch, and many other forms.  We will start with a powerpoint presentation about the various forms of European samplers over the last 600 or so years, and then move on to Middle Eastern examples, such as the medieval Egyptian Mamluk samplers and modern Moroccan pieces. We will also look at early colonial samplers from North America; Sudanese examples; Palestinian work, and so forth. We will then examine some of the actual samples and samplers in the TRC collection, before starting trying out some sampler designs ourselves, including some medieval Egyptian Mamluk patterns in various stitches, or the typically Dutch, spinning woman/monkey motif. Don't hesitate if you want to bring an example from home for all of us to look at. Perhaps you can have a look at the relevant entries on samples and samplers in TRC Needles, just to get an idea of this fascinating aspect of decorative needlework.

Read more: Wednesday Morning Workshop, 25th February. The World of Samples and Samplers


TRC Newsletter January 2015

The TRC Newsletter for January 2015 has just been completed and sent around to all our contacts. It can be downloaded as a PDF-file. Please click here.



The TRC is building up a thriving and colourful Facebook community. Read brief and up-to-date items about the TRC and other textile and dress related subjects. And all with beautiful photographs! Subscribe with 'like', and automatically receive all the new information. Click on the logo !



Appliqué panels from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo.

TRC Gallery exhibition, January - August 2015

Man working on an appliqué panel, Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt. Photograph: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, December 2014.

Man working on an appliqué panel, Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt. Photograph: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, December 2014.

One of the joys of walking around the bazaars of ancient Cairo is a visit to the Street of the Tentmakers. It is a 17th century complex of buildings, with a long street with shops filled with appliqué panels of the most amazing range of colours and designs.

The appliqués from the Street are part of a tradition that goes back to at least the time of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun (died 1323 BC). The new TRC exhibition includes historical and technical information as well as a very wide range of panels with traditional geometric designs, intricate Arabic calligraphy, ancient Egyptian tomb scenes, modern lotus designs, as well as birds, fishes, landscapes and folk stories. In fact, all aspects of traditional Egyptian life.

The exhibition at the TRC has been made possible with the help of the appliqué makers from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, and the director and staff of the Netherlands-Flemish Institute, Cairo, Egypt.

The exhibition will be open to the general public, and free of charge, during the normal opening hours of the TRC (Monday-Thursday, 10.00 - 16.00). On Wednesdays and Thursdays, there are guided tours of the exhibition, starting two o'clock in the afternoon and lasting about one hour. Costs: 7.50 euro. Registration beforehand is not necessary.

For a brief film about the opening of the exhibition on 4th January, and about the exhibition itself. please click here. The film was made by Andrew Thompson, Restorient, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Five-Day TRC Intensive Textile Courses, 16-20 March and 18-22 May 2015

Between 16 and 20 March, 2015, the TRC organises again its acclaimed five-day intensive course on textiles and textile production. The course, which is being given in English, looks at the processes of making a piece of cloth, from the raw fibres to the end product. The participants learn about the theory and practice of fibre identification, spinning, dyeing, weaving, and decorative techniques including printing and embroidery. The course is practically orientated and the students are encouraged to try out the wide range of techniques that are being discussed. This means that they will use microscopes and staining techniques for fibre identification. They are introduced, and asked to use, a wide variety of hand spindles and spinning wheels. They also apply natural dye stuffs and mordants to produce dozens of different colours. Students may bring pieces of textiles that they would like to discuss during the course. An extensive report on the course was written by Dr. Paula Hohti (University of Copenhagen), who attended the course in May 2013. Another report is by Alice Dolan, University of Hertfortshire, who attended the course in May 2012 together with Professor John Styles. For more information about the Intensive Course, with the course programme, click here. Please register well in advance ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

The course is given by Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (PhD Manchester, UK), director TRC. It will be repeated between 18-22 May 2015. The fees for a full week of tuition are 550 euros. The group of students is always limited to eight people, in order to ensure the greatest benefits to the participants.






TRC Needles

The new digital TRC encyclopaedia of decorative needlework, although still 'work in progress', has now been put on line with more than 1000 entries. Enjoy ! Please click here



TRC Library

Over the last few months considerable time, energy and attention have been paid to the TRC library by one of our volunteers, Martine de Nijs. We are very happy to announce that the library has been totally re-numbered and is now open to the public.

There are currently about 2000 books in the library and many more new (to us) books are coming in. Within the last few weeks we have had a donation of books by Mr Bernard Kleikamp, Leiden, on textiles, clothing and jewellery from Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Poland, Tajikistan, etc. These are areas of the library we have long wanted to build up, so these volumes will help fill this lacuna in the TRC's facilities.

A list of the books in the library will soon become available on the TRC website. Please note that the books may be used at the TRC, but they cannot be borrowed.

The next stage is to catalogue the TRC's collections of articles, postcards, and so forth, in order to make the TRC into a well-rounded documentation centre for the study of textiles and clothing!



The Textile Research Centre wants to stimulate people to discover the World of Dress at home. The TRC therefore is gradually expanding its shop and its range of products. You can buy new and secondhand books on textiles and dress, including Dutch regional dress, but also on the history of fashion, and 'how-to-do' subjects. The shop has craft items from all over the world, in particular handmade jewellery. There are woven Syrian sheep bands, knitted objects from Peru, embroidered Turkish lavender bags with oya decoration, gaudily decorated caps from Afghanistan, and many other beautiful and interesting objects. We also sell a wide range of picture postcards of textiles and costume.

The shop also sells collection care items, including acid free paper and boxes for storing your delicate textiles and articles of dress, rolls for more compact storage of long textile items, heads and wigs for display purposes, etc. The TRC sells a range of tools, materials and threads for spinning, crochet, embroidery, hairpin lace production, and silk cocoons for making silk paper.

A new line in this assortment is a wide range of beads for making or restoring Dutch regional dress items, including imitation garnets, blood coral and jet, plus all sorts of metal and glass seed beads for embroidery. You can find all these items in the TRC shop for very reasonable prices. You are very welcome to visit the TRC shop at our premises along the Hogewoerd, but you can also visit the shop at home, via our website. It is very easy to order books or other objects digitally.  Click at "Shop". We hope you will enjoy it.

To see the range of articles that are for sale in the TRC shop, and/or place your order digitally, go the the SHOP heading at the top of this page.


TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment.

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

Exhibition from 5 January 2015: Textile Visions from Egypt.nnnnnnWorkshop on preparing fibres before the spinning process. WWnnn


TRC Information





  • Textile visions from Egypt, January-August 2015. Click here
  • Weaving the World. Exhibition May - September 2014. Click here.
  • What is embroidery? Exhibition October 2013 - January 2014. Click here
  • Cover Your Head exhibition, September 2012, click here
  • Beyond the Chador exhibition, February 2013,  click here 

Financial gifts

The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden. Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here.