Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
After 77 years in the heart of the fashion district, M&J Trimming has become something of a hallowed institution, revered by designers and craft-enthusiasts alike. The design emporium, located at 1008 Sixth Avenue, offers up a plethora of fabrics, buttons, sparkling crystals, delicate lace, and colorful ribbons for sewing, crafting and decorating—so much so that things can get quite overwhelming for the DIY virgin.
To avoid a meltdown amidst a temple of jacquard and rhinestones, M&J has created Project DIY , a to-your-door delivery service containing all the tools and materials needed to create three trend-driven fashion accessories, handpicked by M&J'S in-house jewelry designers. The subscription costs $30 a month, and promises runway-inspired style as long as your relatively handy with a pair of pliers and crazy glue. Easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions are available online and directly correspond with each month's projects.
The first thing you'll notice when you open the cardboard box is the bright, colorful card announcing the theme of this month's collection. For September, it was Autumn in New York. (September's boxes have already been shipped, but you can sign up for October's here. Tools won't be included in every box, but there's a starter kit for $20 that'll get you going. Otherwise, pick 'em up at your local Michael's.)
The projects included in the first delivery are three equestrian-inspired accessories in a palette of rich jewel-tones, browns, and tarnished brass. The card explains that the equestrian theme was inspired in part by horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park.
The next thing you'll notice is how easy everything is: all of the tools are included in the box, aside from two easy-to-find household items (a pair of scissors and a Q-tip), and the corresponding web-based instructions are completely dummy-proof. The visually appealing, saturated photo-cards are equipped with a printed-on ruler specific to the length of each project, and the metal fastenings are super-malleable and easy to manipulate, even for the daintiest of fingers.
(One caveat: the dubious tube of E6000 glue emits some mild fumes, so don't directly inhale if you are prone to dizziness.) After completing all three projects—an equestrian charm necklace, a suede-fringe keychain and a horseshoe wrap bracelet (homespun Hermès anyone?)—we felt completely satisfied—not too mention very zen (turns out crafting is a huge stress reliever, who knew?)—Malky Weichbrod
· M&J Trimmings Project D.I.Y [Official Site]
· Garment District Shop Launching DIY Subscription Box Service [Racked NY]