Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

July 21, 2010

Mr Harvey's fabulous emporium

It was the very first evening of my very first sewing course that I heard the name RJ Harvey & Co mentioned. At the time I took mental note but little else: I was too new to sewing to pay more than fleeting attention. Over time, however, the idea of perusing a little shop of tailors trimmings became more attractive.

So when I recently ran out of pattern tracing paper, I decided an excursion was in order.

Although I'd heard that the store was a little old fashioned, I was still taken aback and entranced when I arrived: RJ Harvey & Co is a slice of history.

The shop is located in the beautiful old Nicholas Building in Melbourne. Located on the third floor you can climb the well-trod marble staircase or catch one of the three (manually driven and beautifully decorated) old lifts.

Walking into the little shop, its hard not to admire the beautiful long wooden counter ...

... and these fabulous drawers ...

... and the way the notions are stored.

I discovered that the business was started way back in 1895 by Mr Harvey's grandfather. The tailor's trimmings shop was first located in the Queens Walk (site of the current city square), then Swanston Street before moving to the Nicholas Building in 1983. The gorgeous shop fittings have travelled with the moves.

After admiring the array of interfacing, interlining, linings and pattern-making tools, I made my selection. My tracing paper, pattern card and assorted bibs and bobs were carefully wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. Bliss.

There was something about this shop I really loved. I can't quite pick the feeling: novelty or nostalgia? I wonder now if I had been there with my grandmother when I was little. Perhaps?

I suspect very little would have changed.

RJ Harvey & Co - Tailors Trimmings
3rd Floor
Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street
Telephone 9654-7047


  1. Wonderful. Long may they last.

    Go there whenever you can!!

    All that wood.
    Brown paper and string...sigh.

  2. I hope that such gems continue to exist as is till the end of the world. :)

  3. Oh, that's just lovely! I love to visit places like that - I'm glad that some still exist.

  4. What a wonderful place, a delight on the eye and the senses. Brown paper and string.... wouldn't that be fantastic no more plastic.

  5. Brown paper packages tied up with string ....

  6. Oh I haven't been there in about 20 years. It is gorgeous isn't it?

  7. It really hasn't changes since I started going there in 1986.

    By the way.... did Mr Harvey actually CHAT to you???!!! I don't think I've ever even had eye contact or a cheery word!!!

    I love the brown paper (very disappointed when I went once and was given a plastic bag... they must have run out of string that day) and I kind of even like the fact that Mr Harvey is eternally non-communicative.

  8. Ohhh, I am off to Melbourne in August and my friend sent me this link, it is right near where I am staying so I'll definitely pop in to look. I am looking forward to all the great Melbourne fabric shops and I hope I can find a big enough suitcase to take! :)

  9. Oh I love it, going into those kind of shops is like stepping back in time, so great, thanks for showing us.

  10. ooooh good one! I have been to the button shop, and the japanese fabric shop, but i didn't know about the taylor!
    I'm adding it to my list of places to visit next time i'm in melbourne!

  11. I love that this wonderful shop is so original and steeped in history. Makes it a very special place indeed!

  12. I love that you have a lurking possible memory of going there with your Grandma. How beautiful. Outings with your Grandparents, very special.

  13. Bliss indeed.
    Thanks for sharing... I'll certainly be popping in when I am next in Melbourne.

  14. You found treasure! Will tack that on to the next clomping up the higgeldy piggeldy staircase to Buttonmania visit.


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