July 21, 2010
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
37 Swanston Street
Filed under: Sewing