Fabric Heaven and Minneapolis

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Wearing Vogue 1224 an unblogged Tracy Reese knit dress.

We had a great time in Minneapolis over the long Memorial Day holiday. I was going to bore you twice with two posts about our trip. But, I will just compress it into one. I’m also burying the lede here and telling you that SR Harris Fabric Outlet in Minnesota is the greatest fabric store on earth. Bar. None.

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But, let’s start with the trip. First, I’m embarrassed to admit that All I knew about Minneapolis is that Prince was from there. We went because J.’s law school roommate lives there with his wife and daughter. My only condition when asked if we could go was to not go in winter. For serious.

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Knowing my trepidation, J. pretty much planned the entire trip from the Mall of America visit and Guthrie Theater production to our road trip into Wisconsin and attending a Twins game.

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Above: Vogue 1086 blogged here.  Minneapolis is beautiful!!! It’s incredibly diverse. The food scene is amazing. The biking infrastructure is PHENOMENAL. There really are 10,000 lakes!


There are a dozen museums. Public art is everywhere. The streets are so clean. Midwesterners are so very friendly. The antiques are plentiful. And, best of all, I found the fabric shop of dreams.

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Listen folks. I have been to a lot of fabric stores. I have never been gobsmacked over the size and volume. I planned about one hour at SR Harris fabrics and ONLY went because of emails and comments here that I should stop by. I figured I had seen a lot of fabric and I didn’t need more. I mean, how great could this place be? We got there at 8:30 when they opened and I barely emerged two hours later. I ONLY left because J. was sitting in the car waiting and I thought if I spent any more time it would be a bridge too far.

This place is 30,000 square feet. I barely left the knits aisle. Why? I had a list of things to look for (pique for polo shirts, nylon wovens for men’s swim shorts, brocade for neck ties). But, it was so totally overwhelming I decided to just focus on the gobs of Nike dri fit fabric for honeymoon wardrobe sewing (we’re making a bike trip).

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The fabric selection was extensive as were things like trims, elastic, zippers, etc. And, all the fabric was 50 percent off the marked price. The Dri Fit was about $5 a yard. Five. Dollars. A. Yard.

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I’m already plotting how we can go back so I can buy ALL THE LEATHER. Crap. I think that woman is pointing at the piece I want.

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Here’s one more thing that I did find kind of funny. I hate the way Joanns cuts my fabric. Well, can’t complain about that because you cut all your own fabric at SR Harris.

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Here’s a pic of some of the pieces I got. I hope to sew what I got up very very soon. I bought about 10 cuts.  Jordan will get about five new basic tee shirts in technical fabric. I’ll make some wicking dresses for the bike trip and some pajamas too.

To sum up. If you can get anywhere near the SR Harris Fabric Warehouse in Minnesota, run. Don’t walk. And, plan for several hours. Bring water and trail mix. And maybe bread to leave yourself a trail. I got lost twice. Sadly, not kidding.


  1. Don’t see an online store for them just the website saying what they sell, too far for me to go up there.

  2. Glad you had a great trip. I didn’t think that S.R. Harris would compare with the Garment District, but good to know that non-Minnesotans are impressed. They don’t have an online store, but they do put monthly coupons online. Also, the local newspapers usually carry a 50% off coupon for Harris in the Sunday lifestyle section. That’s 50% on top of the already marked down prices.

    What eateries did you find?

  3. This is on my list of fabric places I’d like to visit! Glad you had a good time – maybe we should plan an East Coast spring/summer trip – yeah can’t do that winter thing either – so a bunch of us can go! It could be like Florida where you do one theme park (knits aisle) one day and another theme park (wool/silk aisles) another day!

  4. Wow! That looks like a FUN fabric store. And selvedge. It’s selvedge. Gah! I can’t imagine anywhere that would let you cut your own fabric! I used to work at a fabric store and people are AWFUL! Cut samples on the fold 3/4 yard in. Ugh!!!

  5. I am so glad you took pictures of the inside. I have read so many reviews where people purchased fabric from there. It is unreal!!! Now waiting to see photos of what your bought!!!

  6. This sounds amazing! We have some very good friends who live in the Twin Cities and I’ve been trying to plan a trip up there forever. An amazing fabric store may be just the motivation I need!

  7. I live here in Minnesota. I go about 1 hour to S.R. Harris probably 2 or 3 times per year. I do NOT bring children or husbands. I plan for an entire day. I’ve even been known to take a lunch break and go back for the afternoon. I have NO idea how you kept it to only 2 hours! Couldn’t you have paid your hubby to wait or something? LOL Glad you enjoyed yourself!! Can’t wait to see your fabrics sewn up! Greetings from Minnesota!

  8. My daughter lives in Minneapolis. I LOVE this store! I always stock up when I visit her. But if you really want to lose you mind, go to Ginny’s Fabrics in Rochester MN. It is about a 1hour drive from Minneapolis and is truly the best fabric store I have ever seen. And I have been to several in NYC. Ginny is the most knowledgable person on earth about fabric and she is so helpful. Her fabrics are to die for. I could spend days there. My daughter may be leaving Minnesota next year and I am already having panic attacks. What will I do if she moves to a city with poor fabric stores? I’ll die. All I have at home is Joann’s. I am so happy for you that you found this great store.

  9. A new Minnesota-convert! I feel like I’m on a never-ending quest to educate people about how awesome MN is 🙂
    Also happy to learn I wasn’t the only one overwhelmed with SR Harris the first time I walked in! (And I got lost too 🙂 I’ve been to some NYC stores and SR Harris seemed much bigger and more impressive to me. And if you ever think you’ve perused it all, just look up! The rolls of fabric go to the ceiling and are tucked into every nook and cranny!

  10. I saw your pic that you posted via Twitter, and was suitably impressed, but dayum!! I think your idea of trail mix and a water jug is a good idea based on your pictures! And for those prices, even *I* could afford to shop there! Hmmmm…wonder if there’s a way to plan a family vacation around this… 😉

  11. I once (many years ago) did a trade show in Minneapolis and the thing that impressed me the most (actually, I did do fabric shopping, at a wonderful store that specialized in lingerie and nightwear fabrics called Kiefers which I think is no longer in existence. Best part of the whole thing was as soon as I walked in, I was asked, “Are you going to need UPS for this?”) was this ‘thing’ (I don’t know what else to call it) called ‘the skyway.’ It was a glassed-in walkway that you could use literally to get to any building in the city. I walked from the tradeshow to Nordstroms using this thing. The floors that had the skyway on them were generally small local businesses and services for the people who worked downtown in the buildings served by the skyway: hair dressers and barbers, banks, small accountants, child care, a central place where people could bring their drycleaning and laundry to get done and picked up or delivered, restaurants, ATMs and so on. The Skyway even had it’s own newspaper with articles about events on the Skyway, new businesses and so on. Considering what the weather is like in Mineapolis between November and April, I thought it was a fantastic idea.

  12. I’m so glad you enjoyed Minneapolis, I love it here! Well, okay, I love the summers and tolerate the winters. I love S.R. Harris, I didn’t realize it was a rare treasure among fabric stores.

    Liz– I assumed the 50% off coupons were a draw to get people to the store since everything is already 50% off. I didn’t realize the coupons meant another 50% off! Now I’ll make a point of bringing a coupon.

  13. Ha! I moved from Mpls a couple years ago after 17 years there. Your post made me so homesick but laughed out loud with recognition and delight! I’m so glad you loved it! SR Harris definitely one of the amenities but I agree- was never a “drop in” experience for me, but a project that required strategic planning, yardage prep and a committed mindset to not stray far from the plan, lest I completely get my head turned by gorgeous fabric and discount prices and buy, you know, 12 yards of miscellaneous, dreamy wool that I promise myself I will have sewn in the next month.

  14. Glad to know I’m not the only person to be overwhelmed by that store! I also had no idea of its enormity! I had finished a week-long seminar just before noon in a Friday, and decided to drive a few miles out of my way to check out the place. Should have stopped for lunch first! Getting lost seems to be part of the experience. I only bought one piece of fabric, and have since regretted not going out to get lunch and return to BUY BUY BUY! One of my brothers lives near the Twin Cities. (Need to set up a family visit as a cover to get back there soon! Brother can keep Hubby occupied while SIL and I “run errands”.)

  15. Wow, what a place! I thought Mood in L.A. was big, but that’s huge. Oh, and good call not going in winter. I went to school in Wisconsin and my nose hairs used to freeze just from breathing.

  16. Good God almighty, that place is insane! So, what you’re saying is that if I ever get off my butt and FINALLY fly out to Minneapolis to visit my aunt, you’d like me to tuck you in a suitcase and take you with? 🙂 Almost looks like it’s worth a trip just for the fabric.

  17. Wow sounds great. I wonder if this store was in Minnesota when I lived there. Like mmm 33 years ago LOL.. I could do some serious damage on the dri fit aisle myself! Seriously 5.00 a yard! sighhh I wanna go

  18. That sounds so amazing and the pictures show just how amazing. I had to chuckle when you said you got lost twice, too funny but what a great place to get lost.

  19. I was fortunate to go to sr Harris as well. My daughter took a summer internship in the cities for the summer, and was able to go to heaven while she was at work! 5 hours later I still didn’t put a dent in the place. Plan to make another trip this summer and schedule the whole day!! So glad you enjoyed the Midwest..

  20. My sis lives in St. Paul and Memorial day/June is the only time I go there. I was there last November for an Elton John concert and it was 16 degrees!
    Lots of fabric stores there, and biking by the mississippi, and crossing the river into Wisconsin for dinner, and, of course, Minnesota Twin games in 100′ heat.

    We have lots of cool fabric stores in Portland, Oregon too. –Rose City Textiles for that dry wick. {http://www.fabricline.com/} where the store is way more awesome than the website.
    I do like Minnesota == if it weren’t for the extreme weather.

  21. Wow. It’s huger than huge. And I guffawed out loud at the lady pointing to your leather. Quick!!! break out the elbows!

  22. SO excited! thanks for your post. I am moving to Wisconsin in July and my sister recently moved to Minneapolis. I can’t wait to take a road trip and check out S hairris outlet. Please post if you find any others there or in Wisconsin.

  23. Oh if only I didn’t live on the other side of the world – Minneapolis looks lovely and that fabric store looks amazing

  24. I’ve been to SR Harris – omg – I still dream about it. I got lost in there also! I couldn’t spend much time as I was visiting a cousin and she had limited tolerance – I need to visit my cousin again – not that I need any more fbric!

  25. MY GOD. I have always heard great things about Minneapolis (they’re supposed to have the biggest slam poetry scene in the nation?) but this sort of clinches it for me. FABRIC HEAVEN.

  26. Oh. My. Goodness! I’m in Pittsburgh for grad school now, but I grew up in the Twin Cities. I totally miss SR Harris, and I try to load up when I visit family in MN when my wallet and suitcase will allow it. In fact, I just posted about a dress I made from fabric I got there.

    I didn’t realize until after I left that this kind of amazing warehouse style fabric store doesn’t exist just anywhere, and now I’m stuck in a bit of a fabric desert 😦 Glad you enjoyed your trip!

  27. Man, did MN ever roll out its best weather for you two! I’m happy to hear that SR Harris ranks that high given all the places you’ve been. I need to plan a visit soon, after I look for those coupons in the Sunday paper. (Thanks Liz!)

  28. Wow, sounds like an amazing trip. I am so glad you had a fantastic time. Love your fabric purchase. From the pictures alone I’m overwhelmed.

  29. Your new worm to the left startled me when he suddenly sank down into my screen!

    Seriously, you were right to avoid Minneapolis in wintertime. They have some serious cold there. But your pictures are great, and it looks like you had a wonderful time, especially at SR Harris. Next time, leave J at his friend’s house while you spend half a day there, seriously, so you won’t feel guilty about his being in the car.

  30. Renee, this looks like another FABULOUS trip for you! I’m from Wisconsin and had never hopped over to Minnesota for this fabric store! Actually, this is the first I’ve ever heard of it! I’m putting this one in my phone for a visit! Thanks for always keeping us in the loop on great fabric locales!

  31. So glad you enjoyed your visit! Wasn’t the weather amazing when you were here? Yes, next time, come down to Rochester and see Ginny’s Fine Fabric and Support Group.

  32. When I die, I want to go to S.R. Harris! Seriously, I would travel to the USA just to go there and I just might!

  33. I’m so glad you came to our little neck of the woods. I’ve been going to S.R. Harris for 15 years now and it never gets old. The first time I went I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t buy anything; all I could do was wander and try to take it all in. It was like an airplane hanger filled with fabric. Believe it or not, it was once much less organized. During one visit I noticed one area totally roped off because there had been an “avalanche” of fabric; this was before there were many shelves and all the fabric would be stacked 6 feet high, one bolt upon another and you had to be physically really strong to pull something near the bottom of the pile out. Well, the avalanche had finally happened and I think the danger was finally recognized and shelving put in.
    There is truly enough polarfleece in that place to keep the Twin Cities AND Wisconsin warm. I think the only thing it lacks is a good selection of quilting cottons, but since there are so many quilt shops other places, that need is covered. Sid is definitely a character; I am so glad he is here. I am glad you got to see our fine Cities and please know that many people have chosen to live here despite the winters because our other charms overcome the weather.

  34. I’m so happy I’m seeing this now! In a few days, I’m heading to MN (from Philadelphia) for my yearly visit to my in-laws. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this place. Also, do you have a basic men’s t-shirt pattern that you like?

    • I don’t , yet. But, I’m going to use a basic Jalie pattern this time. Good luck! Give yourself a couple of hours if you can.

      Sent from my iPad


  35. Renee, I laughed so hard at your story! I had to read it to multiple people, including my husband who is from MN and has been there with me (I’m in Iowa). One piece of advice: bring your own scissors. Theirs are usually dreadfully dull. For those who want to see more of SR Harris without going there, people have posted videos on YouTube so you can get your “fix”. http://bit.ly/1kviLlP

    I’m trying to “save up” my fabric shopping for next time I go there. As with many people, I have more fabric than I can sew in a year, or two.

    Sue C

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