Crowdfunding: Support the TRC Silk Stockings Project

The Silk Stockings Project of the TRC involves more than one hundred volunteers from The Netherlands and beyond to reconstruct the silk stockings that were discovered some years ago in a 17th century shipwreck offthe coast of the Dutch island of Texel. The project is supported by the Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, but we still need additional sfinancial upport to buy the required materials, such as special knitting needles and long lengths of silk thread. At the end of January we therefore started a crowdfunding campaign, together with the non-commercial organisation 'Voordekunst'. We want to raise, by the end of February, the sum of 2000 euros.

You can transfer your donation by going to the pertinent webpages of Voordekunst. Click here. The instructions are in Dutch, but easy to follow. You can also transfer a donation separately from the crowdfunding campaign directly to the TRC bank account: NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, Stichting Textile Research Centre, with the addition: Silk Stockings.

By 11th February we are well over half the required sum. Please support this exciting project.


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.


For a few sacks more... New 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

The next 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 recent donation 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.

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.





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 Silk Stockings Project: First test swatches

Four experienced knitters for the TRC Silk Stockings project, 29th December 2017.

Four experienced knitters for the TRC Silk Stockings project, 29th December 2017.

29 December 2017: Since the first anouncement of the TRC Silk Stockings project, last November, we’ve been overwhelmed by enthousiastic people wanting to participate. More than 100 people have volunteered to join in and to help to reconstruct the silk stockings of the Texel seventeenth century shipwreck. We even had people from the USA and Canada wanting to join in!

The first workshops will take place in the beginning of 2018 and in order to prepare ourselves for this big event we asked four experienced knitters to help us make a preselection of yarns and silks and knit several test swatches. Using needles of 0.7 and 1 mm and threads of max. 0.5 mm, this was quite a challenge. To be honest, the first half hour was not very encouraging. “You can’t knit with this thread!” and “This is not possible…!”

Read more: TRC Silk Stockings Project: First test swatches


NewTextileBooks, December 2017

A number of very different books have come to the TRC Library over the last few months. These reflect both the current projects of the TRC, as well as more global trends and interests with respect to textiles and dress. The TRC Library stands at over 3000 titles, which are all catalogued online. Some of the new acquisitions are reflected here and in the following Books Showcased. See also the previous issues of NewTextileBooks. Happy reading.



TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 March 2018

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 April 2017

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 April 2017

TRC has been organising an intensive textile course for many years. The next intensive week-long textile course will take place from 12-16 March 2018. The course is being 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.

The course will be repeated from 23-27 April 2018, from 15-19 October 2018 and from 19-23 November 2018.

Read more: TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 March 2018


Six TRC digital 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 six of a planned series of digital exhibitions, which will highlight some of the fascinating textiles and garments in the TRC collection. Please have a look and enjoy.

The five 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.


Facebook: now more than 4300 'likes'

Since mid-2014, the TRC is building up a thriving and colourful Facebook community. By the beginning of February 2018 we reached the amazing number of 4300 'likes'. 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 !


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 deer design from Eastern Europe, 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 !


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 eighteen thousand items (November 2017), 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. It 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, and North African and Middle Eastern textiles and dress.

All of the pieces in the TRC collection have been catalogued, and are currently being incorporated into the new TRC Digital Collection Database.  By November 2017, more than half of the collection has been photographed. 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


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: