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TRC Blog: Textile Moments

TRC in Indonesië

TRC vrijwilligster Else van Laere in Sulawesi, Indonesië.

TRC vrijwilligster Else van Laere in Sulawesi, Indonesië.

Else van Laere, een van de TRC vrijwilligers, is momenteel in Indonesië waar zij voor de organisatie PUM helpt bij het verder uitbouwen van een commerciële textielondernemning. Zij stuurde ons het bijgesloten bericht:

Voor PUM ben ik nu bij een bedrijf dat gerund wordt door een 37-jarige vrouw, Kristina, en waar met name (school)uniformen en kleding op maat wordt gemaakt. Het is het meest verbazingwekkende bedrijf dat ik in al mijn Pum-missies ben tegengekomen. Als kind van acht jaar werd Kristina langdurig ziek en van school genomen. Na een half jaar was ze nog steeds niet beter en toen moesten haar ouders haar het huis uit doen (anders zouden de ouders volgens een plaatselijk geloof overlijden). Ze kwam terecht bij een gezin waar ze tot haar 17e als meid werkte. Toen trouwde ze. Haar man kreeg een baan elders in de provincie, maar overleed daar al gauw. Daar zat ze als 18-jarige met een kind van tien maanden. Ze heeft dat kind elders moeten onderbrengen en is weer als meid gaan werken (je hebt dan alleen kost en inwoning, maar geen salaris). Ze hertrouwde, maar is in 2007 weer gescheiden. Ze had toen vier kinderen.

Ze heeft vervolgens werk gevonden in een naaiatelier en daar twee jaar gewerkt. Toen had ze geld genoeg gespaard om twee naaimachines te kopen en is samen met haar zus voor zichzelf begonnen. In 2013 gaf ze naailes aan diverse jongeren en de 25 besten vroeg ze te blijven. Ondertussen was ze de scholen in de omgeving afgegaan om orders voor schooluniformen te krijgen. In Indonesië dragen alle schoolkinderen (en ook ambtenaren) een uniform. De scholen schrijven elk jaar een ander uniform voor, dus elk jaar moeten alle kinderen een nieuw uniform aanschaffen. Ze kreeg de nodige opdrachten: niet omdat ze goedkoper was maar omdat ze de onderwijzers een “bonus” in het vooruitzicht stelde, in de vorm van kleding of stof. Sindsdien groeit het bedrijf als kool; ook omdat ze kwalitatief betere uniformen verkoopt en ze (meestal) tijdig aflevert.

Read more: TRC in Indonesië


High delegation from Iran

Woven (brocade) cloth from Yazd, Iran, presented to the TRC by H.E. Masoud  Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran.

Woven (brocade) cloth from Yazd, Iran, presented to the TRC by H.E. Masoud Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran.

The last few days have proven, most unexpectedly, to be quite exciting and intriguing! Early on Thursday afternoon the Iranian Embassy, The Hague, rang the TRC to say there was a delegation of Iranian officials in the Netherlands and they would very much like to come and see the TRC, discuss how we work, and to review our collection of Iranian dress, which we assembled some fifteen years ago in Iran. At present, the Iranian dress and textiles collection at the TRC consists of over 1200 items and includes garments and outfits for men, women and children from all the main cultural and ethnic groups in the country. We could collect the textiles thanks to the financial support of Shell and the enthusiastic cooperation of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO).

A few hours later our honoured guests arrived. They included His Excellency Mr. Masoud Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran and President of the ICHHTO; the wife of Mr. Soltanifar; Dr. Bahman Motlagh (the deputy of Mr. Soltanifar; the wife of the Iranian ambassador to The Netherlands, and staff from the Iranian Embassy.

Read more: High delegation from Iran


Opening of the exhibition, and much more

The TRC’s latest exhibition Embroidered Europe is now open and attracting many visitors from all over the world – literally from Taiwan to Twente. In addition, on Thursday we had the privilege of showing the exhibition to H.E. Masoud Soltanifar, the Vice-President of Iran and his wife, as well as the wife of the Iranian Ambassador to the Netherlands, and other honoured guests. See my blog article about this visit.

In order to give people an idea of the scale and variety of the current exhibition, we are now working on a visual report with a number of photographs from the official opening that took place on Tuesday 30th August. This will be sent around next week to followers of the TRC as well as appearing on our webpage.

The opening was carried out by the well-known Dutch textile and costume curator, Ms. Gieneke Arnolli (who is also chair of the Dutch Kostuumvereniging), and Mr. Daniel Czonka of the Hungarian Embassy, The Hague, responsible for cultural affairs. But, quite rightly, attention at the opening was focussed on Mrs. Magdalena Kircher, whose collection (some 1500 pieces) has just come to the TRC. This exhibition was designed to honour her work, dedication and love of European regional dress. The TRC is now in a position to carry on her work in the form of this and more exhibitions, publications, and workshops.

Speaking of workshops, on Wednesday 31st August, the TRC’s Wednesday Workshop was on the theme of European Embroidery, with an in-depth guided tour of the exhibition, and a two-hour practical based on various techniques, from chain stitch to Hungarian braid stitch, in various materials (cotton cloths and felt) and threads (cotton, wool of various ply’s and thicknesses). The Hungarian braid stitch is fun to do, once the initial technique is mastered and it is a very effective method of decorating a garment.

The next Wednesday Workshop will take place on the 28th September and is about the Holbein stitch. In addition, there is a 5-day intensive textile course between 19 - 23 September (two places available), and again between the 17th and 21st October (one place available). On the 4th – 5th November there is a two-day workshop about veils and veiling – with a burkini available for people to see what it actually is and what all the fuss is about! Please get in contact with the TRC at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you wish to attend any of these, or indeed any other, TRC workshops.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 9 September 2016


Chart for Hungarian/Romanian embroidery

One of the blouses in the TRC collection and currently on display in the exhibition Embroidered Europe, is decorated on the sleeves with bands enclosing an intriguing design of ornate squares and tiny trefoils. The embroidery is worked in cross stitch and double running stitch (Holbein stitch) on a fine, even-weave cotton ground.

The blouse comes from Hungary/Romania and dates to the mid-20th century. The design is worked in a mid-green cotton thread. It can also be worked in silk, a six-stranded cotton thread (three strands at a time) or a fine, cotton perlé, but please remember that the ground material needs to be adapted to the type of thread used. At first glance the pattern looks easy, but you have to take care because of the mirror imaging and reversals in the pattern.

Chart for embroidery on an Hungarian/Romanian blouse. Please click the illustration for PdF file.

Chart for embroidery on an Hungarian/Romanian blouse. Please click the illustration for PdF file.








Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 10 September 2016


Rabbits and birds

Embroidery chart of the beadwork design. Please click chart.

Embroidery chart of the beadwork design. Please click chart.

Rabbits and birds have created several ahhhh moments at the TRC after the opening of the new exhibition 'From Sweden to Sardina'. In fact, these 'cute' creatures are depicted on a broad band of beading that decorates the apron of a young, married woman from Hungary, which is on display in the exhibition. The garment is believed to date to the 1930s. It was worn on festive occassions, probably at Easter. Numerous exampes of this type of apron are known and they are often decorated with flowers, but the rabbits and birds of this particular apron are most unusual. The exhibition 'Embroidered Europe' contains many such ahhhhh moments, from beaded flowers to intricately worked geometric motifs. In order to celebrate the exhibition, the TRC is producing a series of pattern charts, suitable for cross stitch, knitting, beading, etc., that are based on designs to be found on the objects on display. The first one is the rabbits and birds pattern; other designs will be published in the course of the next few months. Please click on the chart, download it, print it, and enjoy.

Gillian Vogelsang, 2 September 2016

Rabbits and birds in beadwork on an Hungarian apron.

Rabbits and birds in beadwork on an Hungarian apron.












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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

Gallery exhibition, 3 April - 29 June: From Kaftan to Kippa

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

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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: