Sibley Mills denim and polyester fan quilt, georgia c. 1970

Denim is actually the back of this quilt. The front is an improvised motif of highly colorful, polyester and other dress print fans.  The quilt came from the Harrisburg neighborhood of Augusta, Georgia, a few blocks from the historic Sibley Mill. The mill began production in 1880 and continued until 2006, making denim.  I purchased this quilt from Siobhan Furgurson, who lived in the area and found it at an estate sale of the Lewis family. Siobhan met some of the family members, including a former worker at the mill who said his wife and her sister were always asking him to “bring home scraps and if they didn’t use them they traded them with women at church.” Siobhan speculated that through those trades they may have acquired the polyester used on the front:


Sibley Mill is currently being converted into a computer farm, or cyber village. There’s a fair amount about the Mill online, including Facebook. On one Facebook page dedicated to the Mill is an album of slides showing operations of the mill in the 1970s. The photos are excellent. Here are a few I find particularly compelling:


Clovis Patchwork, c. 1970

This striking patchwork quilt comes from eastern New Mexico, a town called Clovis. The top is full of rich earth colored polyesters. The orange back is cotton polyester blend.

Purple Brick Road c. 1970

This beauty was found at the Santa Fe flea market by a vintage/antique denim enthusiast. The denim patch lower right was his addition. I traded him one of my denim britches quilts to bring this home. Green, purple, pink solids. It’s very dense, springy polyester. And hard to date. The back is an equally dense synthetic striped fabric. It’s machine quilted in long tight rows, which makes it wavy on the edges.

Here’s the back, hanging the other way, then some detail shots: