TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Lace and the TRC

Detail of a Christening veil from Brussels, Belgium, c.1820 (TRC 2014.0831).

Detail of a Christening veil from Brussels, Belgium, c.1820 (TRC 2014.0831).

TRC volunteer Olga Ieromina and director Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood are busy at the moment sorting out and cataloguing the TRC’s extensive lace collection. The main theme of the collection is 'technique' and it includes needle laces, bobbin laces, net, knotted (tatting, macramé), looped (knitted and crochet), and embroidered forms, as well as a range of machine made laces (levers, chemical, etc).

During the next few weeks more and more items relating to the production of lace will be made available to view in the TRC Collection online. These include tatting shuttles, hairpin lace frames, a wide selection of crochet hooks from the early twentieth century, as well as various types of lace bobbins and related equipment.

Most of the TRC lace dates to the 19th and 20th centuries, but we hope to increase the range of examples over the next few years to make it into a comprehensive reference collection for the identification of lace.

The weekend of the 8th-9th September 2018 will be dedicated to a two-day course given by Olga on the identification of different types of lace and an explanation of how these are made (click here for more information and registration). This course is designed for people with little knowledge of the various types of lace, but will also be of interest to the experienced.

If you have any examples of old lace that you would like to donate to the TRC, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Thursday 10th May 2018


The TRC online exhibitions

Pair of daily lotus shoes, early 20th century (TRC 2013.0063a-b).

Pair of daily lotus shoes, early 20th century (TRC 2013.0063a-b).

In order to put the TRC Collection in context AND online, we are busy making a series of online exhibitions that reflect the diversity and depth of the 20000 items in the catalogue. So far there are eight exhibitions already completed. They range from Afghan dress, postcards from the First World War, clothing from the ‘Stans’’, feed sack dresses and quilts, to Berlin wool charts and appliqués made by the men and women of the Street of the Tentmakers in Cairo.

Three exhibtions have just recently been finished. The first is an exhibition of Berlin wool charts, recently donated to the TRC collection.

The second is about ancient Greek loom weights in the TRC collection associated with the warp weighted loom. This exhibition is by Shelley Anderson and helps place the archaeological weights in their historical and technological context.

The third online exhibition is about Chinese lotus shoes worn by girls and women at the beginning of the 20th century. The TRC collection includes a variety of different types and sizes of these tiny shoes, as well as items relating to the making of this form of footwear, including patterns, thread, embroidered panels, irons, awls and small wooden lasts. There are regional variations as well as different domestic items, such as leggings, silk bandages, bridal shoes, daily shoes, mourning and funeral shoes, even a pair of overshoes with iron cleets for wearing in rainy and muddy conditions. This exhibition is dedicated to Mrs. Mariet ter Kuile-Portheine, a long time friend and supporter of the TRC.

In addition to the above exhibitions the two Manchester students who are currently at the TRC are working hard on their own online exhibitions. The exhibition by Kate is about urban underwear from the late 19th century until the 1960’s and will included cotton, lace and knitted examples. Kazna is busy with one about Yemeni dress for men and women. She is also thinking about making an exhibition about the different types of face veils.

We are also thinking about a digital exhibition on the decoration of women’s hats in the 1920’s and 1930’s based on a collection of over 700 items given to the TRC by the family of Mrs van Rijckevorsel van Kessel (Wassenaar). She was a textile buyer for the Dutch fashion house of Doorn. The items in this collection were either worn by her or collected during her working life. Mrs van Rijckevorsel van Kessel was a dedicated decorator of hats and the collection include hat bases, a wide range of bands and ribbons, to feathers, beaded panels and buckles.

Sunday, 15th April 2018. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood


In de ban van de kous

10 maart 2018: Reconstructie van 17de-eeuwse kousen uit een scheepswrak gevonden voor de kust van Texel. Foto: Museum Huis van Hilde, Castricum.

10 maart 2018: Reconstructie van 17de-eeuwse kousen uit een scheepswrak gevonden voor de kust van Texel. Foto: Museum Huis van Hilde, Castricum.

Het is zaterdag 10 maart: Vandaag heb ik iets bijzonders op het programma staan. Ik mag dit weekeinde, samen met een stuk of honderd anderen, naar een reconstructie van 17e-eeuwse zijden kousen. Er wordt door het Textile Research Centre in Leiden een experiment gedaan met het reproduceren, onderzoeken en het gebruik van deze kousen en ik mag daaraan meedoen.

Met de trein van Groningen naar Castricum, drie keer overstappen, ik verheug me op wat komen gaat. In de laatste trein, Amsterdam Centraal naar Castricum, hoor ik opeens, door het geroezemoes in de coupé heen, iemand "0,7" zeggen. Het is als een afgesproken code-woord. Ik weet dat deze mensen hetzelfde reisdoel hebben als ik en ik sluit me bij hen aan. In Castricum, bij  het archeologisch museum Huis van Hilde, ziet het er al gezellig druk uit. Als we naar binnen mogen staat er een ontvangstcomité op ons te wachten. Bij hen leveren we de kleine, gebreide stukjes zijde in die we bij de vorige bijeenkomst mee hebben gekregen als onderzoeksmateriaal, gebreid op pen 0,7 en pen 1, met verschillende soorten zijde. We krijgen een beschrijving van een deel van de kous waar we dit weekeinde op zullen oefenen. Een zaal met zo’n honderdvrouwen en één man, voornamelijk Nederlands maar de bijeenkomst wordt ook bijgewoond door mensen uit Hongarije, Portugal en Duitsland.

Read more: In de ban van de kous


About white, blue, grey and pink collar workers

Clerical collar of an Anglican vicar (TRC 2018.0902).

Clerical collar of an Anglican vicar (TRC 2018.0902).

Last week the TRC was given an Anglican priest’s detachable collar (the so-called ‘dog collar’; TRC 2018.0902), this week we were given a small collection of blue shirt collars. All of which led me to think about the English language idioms ‘white collar worker’ and ‘blue collar worker.’

A ‘white collar worker’ is associated with the detachable shirt collars made of white, highly starched linen or cotton. These were worn by professional and administrative staff, such as managers and accountants in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. In contrast, ‘blue collar workers’ were generally manual workers and associated with shirts of blue, brown, etc., which were easier to keep clean. These two terms represent two different social groups and occupations.

Read more: About white, blue, grey and pink collar workers


"Jewellery: Made by, worn by

Showcase with feather jewellery from Brazil, in the exhibition "Jewellery: Made by, worn by", in the Volkenkunde Museum, Leiden. Photograph: Shelley Anderson.

Showcase with feather jewellery from Brazil, in the exhibition "Jewellery: Made by, worn by", in the Volkenkunde Museum, Leiden. Photograph: Shelley Anderson.

This is the name of the latest exhibition at the Volkenkunde Museum (Ethnographic Museum) in Leiden. Some 1000 pieces of jewellery are currently on display, out of the Museum‘s collection of thirty thousand pieces. Interestingly, in addition to the pieces themselves, the exhibit focuses on makers of jewellery. There are dozens of videotaped interviews with makers of both modern and traditional jewelry, from Japan, the Netherlands, Yemen, Ghana, India, the USA and elsewhere.

The exhibit is broadly divided into four sections, based on materials. The first section was an eye opener for me. An astonishingly wide variety of materials from nature have been, and still are, used to make jewellery. The necklaces, bracelets, brooches and head gear on display are made from stone, flowers, seeds, shells, bone, feathers, teeth, antler, hair, skin, wood and plant fibres. Many of the objects in this section are from indigenous cultures, like the large opalescent mother-of-pearl pendant, engraved and then rubbed with red ochre, from an Aboriginal nation in Australia, or the jade hei-tiki Maori pendants.

Read more: "Jewellery: Made by, worn by


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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 !

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: