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Dutch journal 'Merkwaardig' and the TRC

The Dutch journal Merkwaardig, which focusses on samples and samplers, has just published its 111st issue, which includes an article about the TRC with some beautiful photographs. Perhaps you are interested to read it and look at the illustrations. Click here to download the article.


25 years TRC

Op zondag 18 december a.s., vanaf 14.00 uur, viert het Textile Research Centre zijn 25ste verjaardag. Begonnen achter de herentoiletten in het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, is het TRC uitgegroeid tot een uniek studie- en informatiecentrum voor iedereen die geïnteresseerd is in textiel en kleding. Elke dag verwelkomen we in ons pand aan de Leidse Hogewoerd (nr. 164) een constante stroom van bezoekers uit binnen- en buitenland. We organiseren prachtige tentoonstellingen, cursussen en lezingen, en we hebben een nog steeds groeiende bibliotheek. Maar bovenal hebben we een collectie opgebouwd van bijna 14000 kledingstukken en andere textiele vormen die worden gebruikt om de bezoekers en deelnemers aan de verschillende activiteiten in direct contact te brengen met de objecten zelf. Dit is zeker een verjaardagsfeest waard !

Zondagmiddag 18 december willen we daarom de deuren openen voor iedereen die het feest wil meevieren, maar ook voor iedereen die eens wil zien wat het TRC doet. Vanaf twee uur zijn we open voor belangstellenden die een rondleiding willen krijgen over de lopende tentoonstelling van Europees borduurwerk, of zomaar een kijkje willen nemen bij de tentoonstelling, eens willen zien hoe het depot werkt (wel onder begeleiding !), of wat boeken willen doorbladeren uit onze bibliotheek, willen snuffelen in onze kleine winkel, of wat eigen kleding of textiel willen laten zien aan een van onze vrijwilligers. Neemt u gerust wat mee! Wie weet wat u eigenlijk in huis hebt.

Natuurlijk staan de koffie en thee voor u klaar, en kunt u een praatje maken met onze textielfanaten. Vanaf ongeveer vier uur hebben we ook allerlei hapjes uit verschillende werelddelen. Iedereen is van harte welkom Het TRC is gevestigd aan het Hogewoerd 164 in Leiden

Voor verdere informatie, zie onze website 


How to support the TRC

The TRC is growing rapidly, both in size and in the quality of the collection, the library, the exhibitions, the number of workshops, and much more. All of this means that more financial support is highly desirable. And please bear in mind that all TRC activities are carried out by volunteers!

Please transfer your donation to account NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden.

Note that the TRC is a Cultural ANBI, which means considerable advantages with respect to your tax returns.

For further details, and various options, we have prepared a simple list with details:

Read more: How to support the TRC


Reviews of selected new acquisitions for the TRC library, November 2016

For the latest book reviews of selected new acquisitions for the TRC library, please click here. The list discusses the titles below. For the full digital catalogue of the TRC library, click here.

  • ALVAREZ, Nilda Callanaupa (2012). Tradiciones Textiles de Chinchero, Herencia Viva (Textile Traditions of Chinchero: A Living Heritage), Loveland (Colorado): Thrums. ISBN: 978-0-9838860-1-3. Spanish and English. Softback, 169 pp. glossary, bibliography. Price: US$ 34.95.
  • BROWN, Mike (2014). CC41 Utility Clothing: The Label that Transformed British Fashion, Sevenoaks: Sabrestorm. Hardback, ISBN: 978-1-78122-005-4, pp. 127, no bibliography, notes or index. Price: £19.95.
  • CANEPA, Teresa (2016). Silk, Porcelain and Lacquer: China and Japan and their Trade with Western Europe and the New World 1500-1644, London: Paul Holberton Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-911300-01-4. Hardback, pp. 4679, bibliography, appendices, index. Price: £70.
  • CHANDLER, Deborah and Teresa CORDÓN (2015). Traditional Weavers of Guatemala: Their Stories, Their Lives, Loveland: Thrums. ISBN: 978-0983886075. Softback, 140 pp., fully illustrated in colour, short bibliography and glossary. Price: US$34.95/€32.
  • COLENBRADER, Sjoukje (2013). When Weaving Flourished: The Silk Industry in Amsterdam and Haarlem, 1585-1750, Amsterdam: Aronson Publishers and Primavera Press (Leiden), ISBN: 978-94-90782-05-4. Softback, colour and b/w illustrations, footnotes, appendices, bibliography and index. Price: €38.50.
  • HERRIDGE, Elizabeth (2016). Bringing Heaven to Earth: Chinese Silver Jewellery and Ornament in the Late Qing Dynasty, London: Ianthe Press (in association with Paul Holberton publishing). ISBN 978-0-9955577-0-3. Paperback, fully illustrated in colour, extensive references and bibliography, pp. 200. Price: £40.00.
  • Musea Brugge (2008). Kantlijnen: The Face of Lace, Brugge: Museum Brugge. Softback, 64 pp., colour and b/w illustrations, footnotes. Price: €10.
  • REDWOOD, Mike (2016). Gloves and Glove-Making, Oxford: Shire Publication. ISBN 9780747814535. Paperback, colour photographs, 64 pp. Price: £4.39 (online).
  • WALFORD, Jonathan (2008, 2011). Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look, London: Thames & Hudson (first published in 2008, first paperback edition dates to 2011). ISBN: 978-0-500-28897-9, pp. 208, many colour and b/w illustrations, bibliography, index. Price: US$29.95
  • WIKLUND, Doris (2010). Old Swedish Weavings from North to South: A Collection of Everyday Swedish Weavings from 1850-1950 (translated by Becky Ashenden), Shelburne (Massachusetts): Vävstuga Press. ISBN 0-9741505-3-3. Hardback, pp. 272, colour and b/w illustrations, many weave and threading charts, index. Price: US$ 58.00.

TRC makes replica garments for exhibition 'Queens of the Nile'

Mannequin representing Queen Neferari, dressed with the help of the TRC

Mannequin representing Queen Neferari, dressed with the help of the TRC

The National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden has opened, on the 17th November 2016, a new major exhibition about the Queens of the Nile. The exhibition runs until the beginning of April 2017. As part of the exhibition, the TRC was asked to make exact replica garments for a figure of Queen Neferari, based on the representations of the Queen in her tomb in the Valley of the Queens (QV 66).

The garments made by the TRC include a long tunic with fringed hem, a red sash, again with a fringed hem (but a different type of fringe!), and a large white mantle that was knotted at the front. All of the garments were made from linen and hand stitched using the correct techniques for the period. The fringing on the tunic's hem took three evenings to complete, as each, individual fringe was made with no more than twelve warp threads! The headdress, wig, jewellery and sandals were organised by Prof. Olaf Kaper, board member of the TRC, who is curating the exhibition.



Read more: TRC makes replica garments for exhibition 'Queens of the Nile'


Online catalogue of the TRC collection

Detail of knitting sampler dated AD 1791. TRC 2016.2261

Detail of knitting sampler dated AD 1791. TRC 2016.2261

Work on the online catalogue of the TRC collection is getting well on the way. Perhaps you should have a look. Click here. For instance, one of the latest acquisitions to the collection is a knitting sampler that is dated AD 1791. The TRC recently obtained it together with a collection of embroideries from Hungary. This knitting sampler may be one of the oldest, and securely dated knitting samplers ever found in Europe. You can see the sampler in our online catalogue, click here.





Embroidery charts

We recently put some embroidery charts online for some unusual and intriguing needlework patterns from the eastern and northern parts of Europe. Int the next few months, we hope to publish more. Please click here for an Hungarian cushion covertwo cross-stitch patterns for ecclesiastical garmentsan Hungarian/Romanian geometric design, a Swedish reindeer design, a simple blouse design from Romania, and a rabbits and birds design originally for a beadwork panel, also from Hungary. You can use them as you wish. Enjoy !


TRC Intensive Textile Courses 2017

TRC Intensive Textile Course, September 2015

TRC Intensive Textile Course, September 2015

Please register now !

The next intensive textile course will take place from 13-17 March next year, and will be repeated from 10-14 April 2017 and 16-20 October 2017. The course is being taught in English by Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, textile and dress historian and director of the TRC. The course is a mixture of theoretical and practical elements, with an emphasis on trying out the various techniques of textile production (spinning, dyeing, weaving), on holding and examining fibres, textiles and finished items, all in order to learn and understand what is happening and why various combinations take place. The aim is to make textiles less ‘frightening’ and allow people to look at a textile, from virtually any historical period or culture, and be able to understand it.

Read more: TRC Intensive Textile Courses 2017


TRC exhibition: From Sweden to Sardinia: Embroidered garments from all over Europe

Ukrainian-style embroidery from Hungary. TRC collection.

Ukrainian-style embroidery from Hungary. TRC collection.

For centuries, people all over Europe have been decorating their clothing with sometimes highly intricate forms of ornamental needlework. The TRC is therefore very pleased with the recent acquisition of about sixty Hungarian embroidered garments and over 1400 items of European regional dress, many of which are also embroidered. The TRC now has one of the largest collections of traditional European clothing in Europe. Over the next few years we will highlight various aspects of this stunning array of European material culture, in both actual and digital exhibitions.

To celebrate the recent acquisitons, and to draw attention to regional European decorative needlework, the current TRC Gallery exhibition shows needlework from many parts of Europe. The exhibition includes a wide variety of colourful, subtle, marvellous outfits and individual garments, as well as many women's lace and embroidered caps. They derive from all over Europe, as for instance from Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and of course, from The Netherlands, to name just a few countries. Emphasis is laid on the many different forms and techniques of decoration that have been used, and often are still being used by people from all over Europe in order to indicate their region's particular character.

See also the blog (2 September 2016) on rabbits and birds.

The exhibition is open to the public from 30 August 2016 and 23 February 2017, Monday-Thursday from 10.00 - 16.00. Entrance is free.

For a photo impression,  see below.

Read more: TRC exhibition: From Sweden to Sardinia: Embroidered garments from all over Europe


Facebook: now more than 3000 'friends'

Since mid-2014, the TRC is building up a thriving and colourful Facebook community. On 5 December 2016 we reached the amazing number of 3040 'friends'. In this way, this medium has become an even more important tool for disseminating information about the TRC, and about textiles in general. 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 !


The diversity of the TRC collection

Indian batik for a sari

Indian batik for a sari

The TRC collection of textiles, clothing and accessories from around the world was started in 1997 with 43 pieces from Afghanistan, Egypt and Syria. Since then it has grown to over thirteen thousand items (October 2016), which come from very diverse backgrounds with respect to time and place. Some of the items in the collection have been purchased, but the vast majority has been very kindly donated by various institutions and private donors. The collection has no boundaries with respect to geography and time. The collection ranges from Afghan embroidery, German Lederhosen, Indonesian batiks, to delicate silks from Renaissance Italy and spinning and weaving equipment from the Andes. The collection is being built up around four major themes: Pre-Industrial textile technology, including a wide range of spinning and weaving equipment and textiles from around the world; Decorative needlework, with an emphasis on hand embroidery from around the world; Dutch regional dress; North African and Middle Eastern textiles and dress. See also: The TRC Textile and Dress Collection

All of the pieces in the TRC collection have been catalogued, and are currently being incorporated into the new TRC Digital Collection Database. In the spring of 2016 the first group of items has come on-line and after that the digital database will be regularly up-dated with information about the latest acquisitions and information in general. To give an idea of the range and depth of the collection, below we present a broad outline of some of the most important and intriguing elements of the collection. 

Read more: The diversity of the TRC collection



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

Current exhibition: From Sweden to Sardinia: Embroidered garments from all over Europe

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !


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 000 298 2359, 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
Financial donations can also be made via Paypal: