The Dutch 'Feestrok'' celebrating liberation from Nazi-Germany

A 'Feestrok' from The Netherlands, celebrating liberation from Nazi-Germany, late 1940's (TRC 2011.0001a).

A 'Feestrok' from The Netherlands, celebrating liberation from Nazi-Germany, late 1940's (TRC 2011.0001a).

The June 2018 issue of the British magazine 'Selvedge' contains an article by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director TRC, about the so-called 'feestrok'. These were patchwork skirts made in The Netherlands after World War II to celebrate the liberation of the country.

The collection of the TRC contains an example of the Feestrok (TRC 2011.0001a), together with its official certificate (TRC 2011.0001b). For a preview of the Selvedge article, click here.









Quiltnieuws article on TRC Feedsack exhibition

The June 2018 issue of the Dutch journal Quiltnieuws includes an article about the ongoing TRC exhibition 'For a few sacks more', which can be admired at the TRC until 28th June. Please click here to read the article.


An intriguing parliamentary uniform from Holland

Embroidered coat of the parliamentary uniform of Laurens de Groot (TRC 2018.2133a).

Embroidered coat of the parliamentary uniform of Laurens de Groot (TRC 2018.2133a).

A few weeks ago the TRC received a donation of a group of items belonging to Mariet Portheine-ter Kuile. This donation included fifty Berlin wool work charts that formed the basis for a digital exhibition on this subject [click here]. Since then various other items belonging to the Portheine-ter Kuile family have been given to the TRC, including a gala uniform associated with the Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal (commonly known as the Tweede Kamer), the Dutch equivalent of the British House of Commons.

The uniform consists of a gold embroidered coat, matching trousers, a bicorn hat with orange cockade, gloves and, of course, a sword. The uniform belonged to the politician, Frederick (Frits) Portheine (1923-1990), who had been a member of the Tweede Kamer between 1963 and 1981. This type of uniform was worn by members of the Tweede Kamer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries on all formal occasions. There were various rules concerning how such garments were worn, as well as colour coding. Ministers, for example, had white trousers with a dark blue coat, while members of the Kamer had dark blue trousers and coat. So what is the history of this particular uniform?


Read more: An intriguing parliamentary uniform from Holland


National Silk Museum, Hangzhou, China

Zilu loom for taqueté floor coverings, Iran. National Silk Museum, Hangzhou, China. Photograph: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood.

Zilu loom for taqueté floor coverings, Iran. National Silk Museum, Hangzhou, China. Photograph: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood.

I am just home from a conference about handlooms held at the National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, China, and what a conference it has been! I am so glad that I went. I was there to give a paper on the history of zilu weaving in Iran (and added a piece about taqueté in Egypt for good measure) and to work with the zilu weaver who came especialy from Iran for the conference. In addition, the TRC had donated a large zilu floor covering from Meybod, Iran, which was put on display in the exhibition. It let the visitors see and understand just how large a zilu loom could actually be.

The conference accompanied an exhibition about handlooms from around the world and for the next two months it is possible to see and come very close to a wide variety of forms. I would make a plea at this moment to larger museums interested in textiles to see if they could borrow this exhibition and the looms. It would be well worth it.

What made the whole conference and exhibition so interesting is that the Museum brought over to China a number of professional handloom weavers – to talk about and demonstrate their looms. Suddenly things that I had read about in books and articles or seen in films and photographs made sense. I had several ‘Oh so that is how it works’ moments. And I was not the only one.



Read more: National Silk Museum, Hangzhou, China


NewTextileBooks May 2018

The number of textile books being produced is steadily increasing and it is clear from the range of subjects covered in the following list that authors from diverse academic and non-academic backgrounds have become involved in placing textiles and dress within their well-earned positions in cultural studies - in all its many forms. To make it easier for the reader, the TRC librarians are in the process of putting all the recommended books, discussed in the preceding years, into a single list based on author and title, which will then be linked to the TRC Library catalogue. Anyhow, below is a varied list of some of the publications recently added to the TRC library. For the online catalogue of the library, click here. For the list of reviews published in December last year, click here.


TRC and Selvedge

The popular British textile magazine Selvedge has just published (9th May) a blog about the two Manchester students, Kazna Asker and Kate Askham, who spent two months at the TRC as interns and returned to England last week. You can read the story by clicking here.


For a few sacks more... TRC exhibition, from 15th January - 28th June 2018

Flour sack made from bright yellow cloth with printed flowers, to be used for clothing or other domestic textiles. USA, 1960s (TRC 2017.2403).

Flour sack made from bright yellow cloth with printed flowers, to be used for clothing or other domestic textiles. USA, 1960s (TRC 2017.2403).

For a few sacks more.... How feedsacks clothed and warmed Americans during the Depression and later

This TRC exhibition opened on the 15th January 2018 and is about printed feedsacks! For a photographic impression, click here. The idea for the exhibition came as a result of a donation in 2017 of 35 feedsacks made of printed cotton cloth. These items reflect a story of resilience, female ingenuity, thriftiness, sustainability, art and design, national awareness, as well as economic and commercial insight for nearly fifty years, from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. It is an amazing story, and one that is now barely known outside of the US.

These decorative versions of the feedsacks became very popular and were used for a wide range of items, including men, women and children’s clothing and household items, such as bedding (sheets, pillowcases, quilts), curtains, tablecloths, and clothes pin bags. In fact, they were used for just about anything.

The exhibition includes examples of actual feedsacks, as well as clothing, toys, curtains, bags, etc. made from this type of material. In addition, there are numerous bed quilts made from feed sack materials, which reflect the creative use of the sacks and cloth scraps.

But the story of feedsacks and their secondary use is not just confined to the printed sacks re-used in the USA. During the First World War (1914-1918), American and Canadian flour companies were producing printed flour sacks that were sent (with their contents) to The Netherlands (which was neutral) for distribution in war ravaged Belgium and beyond. Many of these sacks were later locally embroidered and sent back to America as souvenirs, ‘thank you’ gifts, to be sold in auctions to raise more money to buy flour to be sent to Europe. These sacks often had patriotic and hopeful messages in various languages. Examples of Belgian embroidered sacks and their stories will also be on display.

The latest (January 2018) issue of the British magazine Selvedge includes an article on feedsacks in connection with the exhibition. Click here for a PdF version. A review of the exhibition by the (Dutch) Quiltersgilde, dated 5th February 2018, can be downloaded here. A YouTube film made by Andrew Thompson can also be watched by clicking here. There is also a review of the exhibition in the Leiden University online international students newspaper, called Vox, dated 30th March 2018. Click here.

Thanks to the generosity of the Small Grant Program of the USA Embassy, The Hague, it has been possible to organise this exhibition and accompanying events to present this fascinating story.





TRC loan to Gorcums Museum

Bani Tamin woman's dress from Saudi Arabia (TRC 2005.0065).

Bani Tamin woman's dress from Saudi Arabia (TRC 2005.0065).

The Gorcums Museum in Gorcum, Gelderland, has organised a special exhibition on embroidery, with the title ‘Voor de draad ermee’. The exhibition can be seen from 7th April until 9th September this year. The TRC is very pleased to contribute to this event with the loan of 34 beautiful and spectacular pieces of embroidery from the TRC Collection. The embroideries are worked on dresses, headwear, footwear and panels that originate from Afghanistan, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Vietnam and Yemen.

Highlights from the TRC loan are the minuscule lotus shoes from China, a large dress from Saudi Arabia, and the Tunisian Raf-Raf wedding outfit. The exhibition has been curated by Linda Hanssen. For the exhibition website, click here.

Gillian Vogelsang, 29th March 2018


TRC and the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles

Last summer (2017) Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director of the TRC Leiden, spent ten days in Los Angeles working at the Fowler Museum, on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. In particular she was working on a collection of early 20th century Syrian garments, including abayas, head coverings and çarsafs. Some of the garments are the most beautiful examples of silk tapestry weaving.

The TRC has just been informed that it has been officially asked by the Fowler Museum to curate an exhibition about the Syrian garments and to write a catalogue to both the collection and the exhibition. All being well the exhibition will open in Los Angeles in February 2019. More details will be published in due course.


TRC Intensive Textile Course, 15-19 October 2018

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 April 2017

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 April 2017

TRC has been organising an intensive one-week textile course for many years. The next course will take place from 15-19 October 2018. 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), and 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.

The course will be repeated from 19-23 November 2018.

Read more: TRC Intensive Textile Course, 15-19 October 2018


New film about feedsack exhibition

Monday 5th February: Andrew Thompson has made and posted a film about the TRC feedsack exhibition on YouTube.  Click here to watch the film. It contains an impression of the exhibition itself, with a talk on the background and contents by Linzee McCray, the author of the book Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric, which was published in January 2017.


Support the TRC

The TRC is dependent on the external financing of specific projects as well as private donations. All the work the TRC is doing is carried out by volunteers, but the building, office equipment etc., all have to be paid for.

To support the TRC, we would like to ask for your support. Donations can be transferred to our bank account NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre. The TRC is officially registred as an Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling (ANBI) and in addition as a Culturele Instelling ('Cultural Institution'). Private donations are therefore tax deductible in the Netherlands for up to 125%, and donations by companies for up to 150%.


TRC online exhibitions

Appliqué from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo. TRC 2015.0560.

Appliqué from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo. TRC 2015.0560.

The TRC is very proud to publish the first nine of a planned series of online exhibitions, which will highlight some of the fascinating textiles and garments in the TRC collection. Please have a look and enjoy.

The nine titles are:





The Textile Research Centre wants to stimulate people to discover the fascinating World of Textiles and Dress. 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 are very welcome to visit the TRC shop at our premises along the Hogewoerd.


Search in the TRC website


Financial donations to the TRC can be made via Paypal; Donaties aan de TRC kunnen worden overgemaakt via Paypal:

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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 !

Current exhibition: For a few sacks more ...., until 28th June

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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 to the TRC can be made via Paypal: