Fairytale Shift



Rebecca Ingenhorst


Outline the story …

The inspiration for my entry is one of Grimm's fairytales. It is called the "Sterntaler" ("The Star Money" in English). It first appeared in their works in 1819 and is a very short tale. The story is about a poor girl, who only has a piece of bread and the clothes she is wearing on her body left. When she comes across more and more people, who each need the few things more than she does, she gives everything away, until she has nothing left. At this point she finds herself magically wrapped in the finest shift she has ever seen and it starts raining silver coins from the night sky as a reward for her selflessness. I chose this story, although it is not that well known, as it has stuck with me, in my head, ever since I heard it for the first time as a child. And I think you can still use the morale 'give and you will receive' today. Considering the design, I kept it very simple. I do not own a lot of historical garments and thus I decided to start at the base layer. I constructed a linen shift and chose to embellish it with silver embroidery, representing the silver coins falling from the sky. On the sleeve, I embroidered five silver circles of varying sizes. The sleeves and the hem of the shift are embellished with a simple silver border. I also was inspired by Bernadette Banner's and Morgan Donner's Youtube videos.

Outline the construction…

The shift is made out of a bleached white linen and consists of 11 pieces in total. The main 2 body pieces, the 2 sleeves, the 4 side gores, a long strip for the drawstring and 2 gussets underneath the arm. I sewed them together with white silk thread. For the embroidery on the sleeves, I used different thicknesses of silver embroidery thread. To tighten the neckline, I used an off-white satin ribbon. The entire garment was sewn together by hand, mostly by backstitches. The raw edges were felled down on the inside. I used a seam allowance of about 1 cm throughout the garment.

For the embroidery of the circles, I used a simple satin stitch and for the borders I used an outline stitch. A very big challenge for me was motivation throughout the process. I found myself procrastinating for days on end. I also could not get easy feedback from my friends and family on what I was doing, because I was quarantining by myself. Another thing that made this project a lot harder was getting the materials. The competition was announced on a Thursday and shops were set to close on Monday in Germany, so I had to make up my mind about what I needed quite quickly and had to make a couple of compromises. For example, the ribbon and the silk thread. I could not find bleached linen thread anywhere and ordering online would have taken too much time and would have been too expensive for me.




  1. Avatar Inge Sahuleka on March 11, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    I love how you incorporated the silver coins of the story into the magic shift by embroidering them. Wonderful!

    • Avatar Jennifer on March 12, 2021 at 5:28 am

      Well done! This makes me want to make a shift. Yours is lovely and I imagine it will be so nice to wear in the summer.

    • Avatar Laurie on March 12, 2021 at 7:14 pm

      Neatly and delicately done!

  2. Avatar Teri Plemel on March 12, 2021 at 1:20 am

    I loved this story as a child. What a fantastic interpretation. I love the embroidery!

  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Your silver-details are gorgeous! very well done

  4. Avatar Anna Burns on March 12, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    oh my gosh, this is so pretty and it looks so comfy as well! perfect for curling up with a book in the summer time. the construction is also beautiful, and I’m hopping on the “love the embroidery” train as well!

  5. Avatar Carolien van Alphen on March 12, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    I love the tiny details that make it special 🙂

  6. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 13, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Great shift, good job!

  7. Avatar Valerie Meachum on March 15, 2021 at 1:32 am

    Beautifully made, and I love that the embroidery nods to the story without being too much.

  8. Avatar Lisa Olsen on March 19, 2021 at 3:03 am

    Very pretty, and the embroidery is perfect! Well done!

  9. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 20, 2021 at 4:47 am

    That coin detail, so very nice! In love…this shift is wonderful! Thank you!

  10. Avatar Senta on March 21, 2021 at 3:08 am

    The detailing is sumptuous ! Love it ! Congratulations on your entry 🙂

  11. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 23, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Beautifully finished, and I love how the embroidery tells the story of the poor girl receiving silver coins! A lovely interpretation of the fairytale!

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