With varying levels of talent and creativity from our Ragtime Gals, every day at Ragtime Fabrics is unique with creative ideas, projects, and life events.
Although she admits that her sewing ability is minimal, Ragtime owner Laura "Belle" Stemper honed her skills through a spectrum of projects that encompassed various aspects of the sewing world, ranging from window treatments to Halloween costumes to Quillows. Some of her favorite parts of this work involve meeting people, participating in her customers' creative endeavors, shopping for deals to share with her customers, and playing with her staff. Challenged by the ever-changing climates of technology and the economy, she finds comfort in the support offered by her staff who offer youthful energy and creative personalities.
Laura "Belle" Stemper
Lisa Arbogast is a resident of Rockingham, VA. She lives on a small farm and currently raises American Quarter Horses. Lisa learned to sew from her grandmother who made many matching outfits for Lisa and her 4 sisters. If she’s not sewing, you can probably find her on a trail or horse show. Lisa has been a long-time customer of Ragtime prior to joining the Ragtime staff. She is both a garment sewer, specializing in Western Pleasure show clothes and chaps, and a machine embroiderer. She recently learned how to quilt. Come by to visit Lisa. She has never met a stranger!
Sylvia Aamodt became a "Ragtime Gal" in the fall of 2011. She comes to Ragtime with a pedigree of experience that rivals many professionals in the sewing industry. Sylvia spent decades volunteering her tailoring services to performing arts groups in which her children were involved and was in charge of uniforms and costumes for the Shenandoah Children's Choir and Harrisonburg High School band, choral and theatrical productions. On top of her garment experience, she has also dabbled in other fields of sewing, having made draperies and other various home decor items as well as undertaking quilting and crafting projects. Sylvia shamelessly professes that she is a "fabric-aholic." She enjoys touching, matching, and pulling fabrics together to make something wonderful. Her happiest sewing moments are when her vision for a fabric comes together just right to make an item that fits and looks great.
Kathy Roletter started sewing Barbie clothes by hand but quickly graduated to her grandmother's early 1900's Singer treadle and her mother's 1950's Necchi in her early teens. Since everyone was too busy to show her, she learned by trial and error, making every dumb sewing mistake in the book because "it seemed like a good idea at the time." Kathy has sewn all kinds of clothing including intricate doll's clothes; prom, bridesmaid and wedding dresses; tailored jackets and skirts; and historic costumes for reenactors. She's tackled slipcovers and draperies as well as quilting. For awhile, antique Singer sewing machines were following her home to be restored, but recently they've been replaced by antique sock knitting machines. After retiring from teaching elementary school, she drove an ambulance for the local rescue squad for a few years and is now earning money for stash-enhancement here at Ragtime.
Kelly Hollowood, is a self-defined fabric-aholic. She enjoys the creative process of women's fashions, draping of fabric and drafting patterns to enable recreation of garments; in fact, she worked with a designer in California as a pattern drafter. She has an associate's degree in fashion design from Brook College in Long Beach, California, and studied two years at the Copenhagen Fashion and Design School. She also loves knitting, crocheting and jewelry-making. Dancing is one of Kelly's loves; she dances at the Harrisonburg Monday Night Contra Dance. Outdoor activities like hiking and biking get her attention, too. Kelly is excited about working with our customers, engaging in the collaborative effort of taking a design, marrying it to the ideal fabric and achieving the perfect fitting garment. Kelly is eager to learn all she can and is confident Ragtime Fabrics will satisfy her appetite!
Thelma Good comes to Ragtime with a basketful of valuable experiences and knowledge. Thelma has been creatively sewing quilts and clothes and you-name-it for many years. If there is no pattern available, she makes her own. She is presently teaching her granddaughters how to sew. She also brings us a wealth of knowledge regarding end-user computer experience having taught Computer Science and Microsoft Office for numerous years. She enjoys learning new software and tinkering with sewing machines, old and new! She finds working with fabric and sewing machines is a pleasure at Ragtime. Come experience these pleasures with her!
Alana is our youngest “Ragtime Gal”. She has been creative since she was young and was
given a sewing lesson at age 6. Alana loves to create her own patterns and designs.She was one of Ragtime’s very first kids campers! “I absolutely loved doing the kids camps over the summer because it really helped me to connect with people and increase my skill in sewing. From there I found that I really loved to create mythological creatures by sewing.” Alana creates creatures by using fabric and adding in different elements such as clay, thermoplastic, feathers, beads, and so much more!
“Making my own creations brought me joy and I was really happy for my success." With her background making creatures Alana has found a new calling by making her own costumes and going to Comic Cons all over the east coast.
Dave Campbell is our highly trained Baby Lock sewing machine mechanic. Dave's figure-it-out and fix-it skills helps him to diagnose and repair even the strangest sewing machine issues . . . and he's seen some strange ones! Dave's regular full time job is at Rocking R Ace Hardware on High Street, but he graces us with his mechanical magic once a week. He never knows what he'll find on his workbench when he comes in!