The ever growing TRC collection: About lace, velvet, and knitted underwear

Red velvet bag from nineteenth century Iran (TRC 2002.0115).

Red velvet bag from nineteenth century Iran (TRC 2002.0115).

The last week or so have been very busy at the TRC. We have been sorting out the little depot, removing stands, adding racks, and putting items on the table to be photographed, catalogued and boxed. The lace collection, for example, is being moved from one storage system to another, with a much more suitable drawer system. In the process the lace will be further sorted and the descriptions refined. Thanks to the Pepin Donation, there is also a large number of machine made lace samples to be added to the lace collection. The TRC collection now includes a wide range of hand and machine made forms for people to study and be inspired by.

Speaking of inspiration: We currently have two students (Kate and Kazna) from the Manchester School of Art who are helping, among other things, to photograph and catalogue a collection of 1930’s textiles, accessories and fastenings that came from the aunt of a family now living in Wassenaar. The aunt was a textile buyer for a Dutch fashion house during the 1930’s and many of her items were stored in a flat that had to be emptied. She was also involved in the decoration of hats and had a supply of felt hat bases, satin and velvet hat bands, as well as items to decorate hats including hat pins, hat jewellery, feathers, beaded appliqués and buckles. Do you know the difference between a buckle and a clasp? And what exactly is a frame buckle and do you know that they can be divided into practical and decorative forms? There is always new to learn at the TRC.

Kate and Kazna are also looking through the TRC Collection for inspiration for their own designs and to broaden their knowledge and understanding of textiles and fashion. Kate has become very interested in the various forms of urban undergarments from Northern Europe and will be visiting various knitting machine companies to see how they make knitted underwear. Kazna is intrigued by both Middle Eastern and African textiles and has been looking through African collections for sources of design, inspiration and garment shapes.

Another TRC volunteer, Mari Gray (who is a Japanese American working in Guatemala and other countries), is working on the Guatemalan collection. She has nearly finished going through all the relevant boxes, cataloguing the items, photographing anything that needs to be, checked details, as well as adding local names for the various garments. She will then start on the Japanese part of the collection and bringing those details up to date.

Yesterday (Saturday) was spent in Leiden with Kate and Kazna looking for velvet for the forthcoming exhibition at the TRC – on the history of velvet. The exhibition will include garments, footwear and accessories from around the world that have literally covered the human body, from head to foot in velvet. There will also be European velvets dating from the sixteenth century to the present day that reflect the various types of velvet made, including ciselé, crushed, devoré, pressed, voided, and so forth, as well as items that are made to imitate velvet, such as flock. We also hope to have a nineteenth century American crazy quilt made from velvet!

The TRC Collection is developing rapidly growing, developing and getting depth. It is something we can all be proud of.

Gillian Vogelsang, Sunday 8th April 2018



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

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 !

TRC Gallery exhibition: 22 Jan. - 27 June: Velvet!

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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 Stichting Textile Research Centre. 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: