When Serious Eats wrote me an email requesting my participation in Chez Pim’s honorable Menu for Hope 4 charity raffle, there was not a doubt in my mind that I was in. But there was some trepidation. As a holiday-themed fundraising event, Menu for Hope asks food bloggers from around the world to become a sort of merchant for the day — only all proceeds would be donated to The World Food Programme, expenses and labor spent pro-bono, and the merchandise on each site could be anything from a box of artisanal chocolates to dinner for two at a prestigious locale to a one-on-one cooking class. Essentially, ’tis the season for giving, and here are the goods that we’ve got. But what can a food blog about not eating out in New York possibly offer to entice potential raffle ticket-buyers? A messy autographed dishtowel? Then I got thinking.
So here is the result of a week’s worth of nights spent hunched over a temperamental borrowed sewing machine, wrangling with snagged thread, poking myself with needles and nearly abusing the kindness of my friends. It’s been a labor of love (or hope?), made possible only through true friendship and will. All told, there were plenty of hiccups along the way — who knew there were so few sewing supplies stores in New York? And why’d they have to be so snobby when I asked, innocently, if they sold any D-rings for the strap (“We’re only a knitting store; we don’t carry anything like that!”)? But in the end, I think the apron — and my friendships — came away from the experience fairly seamlessly.
The apron actually began as several yards of rescued fabric that I found so becoming, I snatched it one day without a clue of what I might do with it. I found it in the sample room of the retail company where I work, and after a company-wide sample sale, it was about to get tossed. It appeared to have fallen out of its original package, but I believe that this sturdy-weft, printed cotton fabric was manufactured to be the part of a shower curtain that hangs outside the tub, as a decorative addition to the plastic curtain. I liked its bold-but-sweet floral pattern so much, I even used it as the background for this shot of my rum butternut squash ice cream.
For this apron, I’ve kept the original hems of the fabric intact where possible, and created an adjustable neck strap using a strip of the curtain’s top edge, which had a row of button-sized holes. With the help of my expert seamstress friends, and the hefty discovery of stitch witchery no-sew bond, the simple knee-length design was completed. It features two long wrap-around waist straps and a wide front patch pocket, perfect for keeping your handy extra spatulas and recipe cheat sheets.
a salvaged row of button holes becomes an adjustable neck strap
I should tell you that while this is a truly one-of-a-kind handmade piece of craftsmanship, the apron is obviously not perfect. We certainly didn’t try to cut any corners though, and the finished product is fully functional and raring for your everyday use. I hope it wouldn’t be presumptuous of me to say that if you buy a ticket and win this apron, please think of the parts where my hand-stitching went crooked, or I got the measurements a little off as more character than flaw; a warm, knowing nod from one do-it-yourself amateur to another. It must truly be the season for miracles because before this project, I barely knew how to use a needle and thread.
If you’d like to get a $10 for a raffle ticket, and hopefully this new rag to make your culinary riches in, simply buy one through Firstgiving. Remember that this prize code is UE17. Or check out these other great Menu for Hope 4 prizes and benefit world hunger while you bid. Cheers!
rejoicing in a job finally complete, underneath a friend’s Christmas tree