College Fund For Little E.


We interrupt the usual movie costume shenanigans to talk about something pretty serious. Last week, we were stunned to hear that Jen Thompson’s husband Mike had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Jen and her website,, have been a fixture in the online costuming community for over 15 years and she originated many of the techniques we now take for granted, such as how to get ladder lacing to lie straight, how to use hemp cording for supportive bodices, and “The Zen of Spiral Lacing”, to name just a few things. Her research on bustle and natural form era gowns included scanning hundreds of pages from her personal fashion plate collection to be freely downloaded by anyone.

We could go on, but to put it simply, Jen has given so much to us over the years without asking for anything in return that when word spread about Mike, the first thing everyone wanted to know was how could we help?

To that end, a college fund has been established for Jen and Mike’s young son, E., and any little amount helps. As Jen put it, “Even $5 will buy our boy a burger off campus someday, which I’m sure he would appreciate.”

Jen writes:

“I created a Paypal account just for this purpose, and all the donations will go into a tragedy trust over the next few months, and then that will be rolled into an investment account so it stays safe until E. goes to college.”




About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

17 Responses

  1. Tracey Walker

    Thank you for providing a link. Jen’s blog was one of the first that got me interested in historical costume. I hope she gets a generous outpouring.

  2. Stephani

    Oh no! I’ve been a devoted follower of Jen’s blog for a while now and I so appreciate what she does. Her artistry and skill is inspiring. This is very sad news. Thank you for providing the link to donate.

  3. Paige @ Very Paige

    I’m so sorry to hear of her loss, thank you for providing this link to donate. I will share it with my group, Ohio Historic Costumers to see if we can help. The costuming community is a strong one and hopefully we can support her in her time of need.

  4. Glennis

    So sad to hear about this loss. Thank you for providing the link. I remember Jen’s blog being one of the first to read when starting out. After all the help she has given us, I hope we’re able to help her in return.

    • Sarah Lorraine

      You’re welcome, and thank you. Jen’s been such a fixture in the costuming world that not pulling together to help now would make us the world’s shittiest community.

  5. Catherine

    I’ve followed Jen’s work for years, this is heart breaking news, thank you for sharing a tangible way to actually step up and help, rather than just feel impotently heartbroken for her family.

    • Sarah Lorraine

      It is one of those nightmares you never wish on anyone. Mike was a good soul and a great dad, and it just breaks my heart that E is going to grow up without him. I lost my own father when I was a bit younger than E, so this hit me square in the feels. I want him to be able to go to any university he chooses and to have Jen not have to worry about the cost.

  6. Cherylyn

    You are terrific for boosting the signal on this. We all love Jen so much, in addition to being a fabulous customer and providing a terrific resource she is a beautiful person who I am honored to know. I wish the circumstances were better but I will be happy to donate.

    • Sarah Lorraine

      Thanks, Cherylyn. Feel free to send this link anywhere and everywhere. Jen is one of my oldest online friends (I only know one person longer than I’ve known her online) and she’s always been there for me. It kills me that we’re so far apart, geographically, but at least the internet makes the distance seem smaller.

  7. Sarah

    I’m so saddened and shocked by this news. That is just so awful. Thank you for making us aware of it, as hard as it must be. My heart goes out to her and her sweet little boy. I will definitely donate.

    • Sarah Lorraine

      Thank you. Jen is one of the very first people I “met” online back in the late 90s. She had my back through my marriage, divorce, depression, anxiety disorders, you name it, she was always there for me. Spreading the word about E’s college fund is pretty much the definition of the “Least I could do” from 1500 miles away.

  8. Dianne

    I am so sad to hear this news, and send my deepest condolences to Jen and Little E. I can’t donate till Friday, but I definitely will then!