Art of the Costume features over 50 ​exquisite, one-of-a-kind costumes, designed and sewn by Seattle artist Susan Pasco. Inspired by historical garments; often incorporating vintage trims, fabric, and buttons; and featuring an extraordinary range of handwork, embroidery, finishing and couture-quality construction techniques, Susan Pasco's costumes are a unique blend of history, design, craftsmanship and artistry.

Ranging in date from the Cavalier era (late 17th century) through the 1920's, Art of the Costume devotes special attention to the late 18th century, Regency (Jane Austen), late Victorian, Edwardian, and Titanic eras. Era-appropriate accessories accompany many of the garments, including shoes, gloves, and hand-crafted hats. 

Embroiderers, sewers, fabric fiends, history fans, costume designers, students of handwork, lovers of detail, and creatives of all stripes will find countless points of delight at Art of the Costume

 Standard University of Washington Parking Fees apply. Please note that parking is free on Wednesday, November 11, in honor of Veteran's Day. ​For full details on UW parking, click here

Please note that partial refunds are available (up to $9 for visits under 2 hours) if you save your parking ticket. For full refund schedule, see here

Free on-campus parking is also available Saturday, after 12 noon, and all day Sunday. 

Susan Pasco is a costume enthusiast who, at the age of three, became fixated on two posy holders, four fans and a pair of exquisite 1880's gowns in a Denver museum. She never recovered. Her paper doll and doll wardrobes were historical and vast. Anything involving fabric, color, texture, design and handwork were irresistable, studied in depth, and put to use.

Entirely self-taught, she believes that costuming is an art, not a science. Creativity, inspiration and flashes of brilliance, rather than formulas, rules and imitation, are its guiding forces.

Handwork is her mania and delight: no detail is too small, no effort is too great, no sleep is too little when in the grip of a costume. To carry on the art and appreciation of handwork, textiles and all things related is her vocation. (She understands there is no twelve-step program for this addiction.)

Today, between stints as ribbon guru at Nancy's Sewing Basket, Seattle's family-owned fabric gem, Susan continues to mine her endless imagination and the extraordinary fashions of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, to create her one-of-a-kind costumes.


Seating area of Penthouse Theater. Photography by Tom Dempsey. Photo Credit: UW

About the exhibit

about the artist © Susan Pasco 

The Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theater is located on the Northwest corner of the University of Washington campus. Tucked into the trees, the historic white building is located just East of the Burke Museum, and just North of the Business School. 

Easily accessed via the the North entrance at NE 45th St. and 17th Ave. NE  (North Gatehouse), the closest parking lot is N-5, with overflow parking nearby. 

For directions and campus map, click here.

parking © Susan Pasco 


Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 11-13 :: 12 noon - 4 pm

Saturday, Nov. 14 :: 10 am - 4 pm

Sunday, Nov. 15 :: 12 noon - 4 pm


About the theater

Exterior of Penthouse Theater. Photography by Tom Dempsey. 

The Susan Pasco Collection © Susan Pasco 

Admission to "Art of the Costume" is free to the public. All are welcome.

A suggested donation of $5 will be used to offset exhibit costs, but is not required. 

Opened in 1940, the Glenn Hughes Penthouse theater is recognized on the national Historic Register as the United States' first "theater in the round". Begun in 1939, and built in part thanks to a WPA labor grant, this late art deco, pre-WWII building provides an intimate, personal venue. Original frescoes, period fixtures, and countless small details make the building a worthy destination in its own right.  


At Art of the Costume, travel through time, following the exhibit's displays around the theater's elliptical exterior hallway. Then, enter the main stage for a feast of 18th century fashion. Art of the Costume is pleased to note that both artist and building are celebrating their 75th birthdays, this year. 

For more information about this historic theater, see here. For the full, wonderful story, see this excellent HistoryLink article.