A Hat for Mrs. Pennywort



Emma Zuercher


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

'A Hat for Mrs. Pennywort', inspired by Mary Jane Auch’s "The Easter Egg Farm" and "Eggs Marks the Spot", stories about Pauline the chicken whose special gift is laying eggs with pictures depicting whatever she sees! Inspired by Auch’s bright illustrations, 'A Hat for Mrs. Pennywort' displays the world through Mrs. Pennywort’s eyes, Pauline’s caretaker. In the books, Pauline often lays eggs with Pennywort’s portrait on them. I wanted to think of something Mrs. Pennywort would wear in turn to honor her friendship with Pauline. I chose to make a hat because it seems like something Pennywort would quickly throw on to spend a lovely afternoon with her chickens.

Outline the construction…

To make the hat I used thrifted cotton I had stashed away and a flimsy hat pattern I drafted for my first attempt at hat-making. Since the pattern was still in its early development, it took some adjustments to fit me correctly. The outer layer is made from a tablecloth which gives it body and structure. The lining is a thinner cotton that protects the seams and gives the hat a finished look without adding bulk. To bring life to the hat, I hand painted Mrs. Pennywort’s chickens. I carved shapes into potatoes and then used the potatoes as stamps to print the basic chicken forms on the hat. I then went back in with a small brush and added details to bring the chickens to life and give them personalities like the characters in Auch’s book. When the painting was complete, I added top stitching to dress the hat and integrate the paintings with the form. I then sewed the layers together and finished off by sewing concentric circles to stiffen up the brim. The angular shape of the crown and brim mirror Mrs. Pennywort’s eccentric haircut and sunny disposition.




  1. Avatar Viktoria Cudkova on March 11, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    This is absolutely adorable! Good job!!

  2. Avatar Carole M Pluckrose on March 11, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    What a clever hen! Your hat is so cute, congratulations. I hope one cheeky hen has given it her deal of approval too.

  3. Avatar Heather McGreal on March 11, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Beautiful seam work on the hat. Also your chicken is adorable.

  4. Avatar Lynne on March 12, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    I clicked on this because I liked the shape of the hat and am thinking of making a summer gardening hat… interesting to read about the construction, but I really went WOW when I read that you hand painted the chickens!! They are the cutest things!!! Really well done. Honestly!!

  5. Avatar Lili on March 13, 2021 at 2:26 am

    I had to click and read about the chickens because they looked hand painted. That hat is darling.

  6. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 24, 2021 at 5:09 am

    Great job! I love that you used potatoes as hand carved stamps! So clever! Thank you!

  7. Avatar Wendy on March 25, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Your inspiration and interpretation are charming, and the hat turned out so well! Potato block printing really worked for this, but your little details with the brush really make it shine!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.