Goldie Hinton, 83, self-taught seamstress

August 06, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Goldie Hinton didn't shop for clothes. But she'd roam the fabric stores, carefully inspecting and selecting the materials and patterns for the dresses and blouses she sewed.

"It was just a gift of hers," said her son, Edward E. Coffey of Jessup. "Everything she wore, she made it. Always. She could take a pattern and redesign it any way she wanted."

Mrs. Hinton, 83, who died Friday of Alzheimer's disease at Stella Maris Hospice, worked as a seamstress for several clothing companies and most recently at the state's Rosewood Center, where she worked 13 years and retired in the late 1970s.

Sewing was her vocation and her relaxation. Most evenings after work, she'd sit at her aged sewing machine in her East Baltimore home and create outfits.

In her closet hung scores of dresses, pants, winter coats, jackets and other clothing she made. She also sewed all of her son's clothing -- in the latest fashions.

"She never had time to make clothes for anyone else because she made everything that we both wore," Mr. Coffey said. "We saved a lot of money that way."

A native of Eagle Rock, N.C., Mrs. Hinton came to Baltimore as a young woman. She never took sewing lessons but taught herself, using the trial-and-error method.

Since the 1940s, she lived in a small, two-story rowhouse with a Formstone front on Barclay Street in the Barclay community.

"She was one meticulous woman. Everything was right with the neighborhood when she was here because she made sure it stayed that way," said Charlotte Joyner, a neighbor. "She kept up part of the neighborhood and made sure, subtly, that everyone else did, too."

Neighbors usually saw Mrs. Hinton sitting on her white marble steps or cleaning them.

"She was always busy but she was always able to stop for a few minutes and chew the yard [talk]," said Louise Wise, a neighbor. "Everybody liked her because she was down to earth and didn't put on no airs."

Mrs. Hinton, who was divorced, lived alone, and neighbors were unaware of her sewing skills.

"The stuff she wore was always clean and neat," Mrs. Wise said. "I wish I could make something as good as what she wore."

Services will be held at 7: 30 p.m. today at First Baptist Church, 525 N. Caroline St.

Other survivors include four brothers, William Coffey of Ellicott City, Hubert Coffey of Baltimore and James and Herbert Coffey of Eagle Rock; and five sisters, Elsie Grissom of Baltimore, Clara Hinton of Garner, N.C., and Lessie Bell, Annie Coffey and Barbara Jean Robinson, all of Eagle Rock.

Pub Date: 8/06/96

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