Costumes & Culture

The costumes and fashions, historical events, and the books and movies we consume that surround and are influenced by them.

We at SewYourCosplay created this timeline to help give cosplayers a sense of historic context and framework. To know what was happening in history, to know who the important figures were, that can help bring life to the characters portrayed. We have also tried to find many supporting sewing patterns to fit into that framework, whether you're planning King Arthur (~456CE) or Peggy Carter (1946). We want to be where ordinary patterns become part of your extraordinary life.

0330-02-01 00:00:00


Constantinople becomes the capitol of the Eastern Roman Empire.

0500-01-01 10:53:07

Legend of King Arthur

There is some historical basis for King Arthur, but it's greatly debated. He is supposed to have lived in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

0500-03-01 00:00:00

Mists of Avalon

Novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley retelling the Arthurian legends from the female perspective, and shows how the women in Arthur's life influenced him.

0532-02-01 00:00:00

Hagia Sophia constructed

Many Byzantine mosaics have been restored in the Hagia Sophia. Originally constructed as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, then a Roman Catholic church, then Eastern Orthodox again, then it was a mosque after the fall of Constantinople, now a museum.

0793-01-01 00:00:00

Viking Age

A period of European history when Norsemen explored Europe by way of rivers and seas, creating many scattered settlements.

0793-01-01 00:00:00

Vikings (series)

A drama series based on the Viking sagas of Ragnar Lothbrok of Norse legends.

0793-01-01 00:00:00

Simplicity 1552

View C coat in particular could be excellent for Viking cosplay.

0793-03-11 01:32:51

Simplicity 1347

Views A and D could be adapted for Viking / shield maiden cosplay.

0793-05-22 00:00:00

Simplicity 3519

View C could be used as a Viking shirt.

0793-05-22 06:50:26

Butterick 4486

View A, with no ruffle or collar, would make a good Viking shirt.

0800-02-01 00:00:00

Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament, in Latin.

0800-12-25 00:00:00

Charlemagne crowned emperor

Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne Emperor of the Romans in 800 on Christmas Day in Old St. Peter's Basilica.

0871-04-23 00:00:00

Alfred the Great

King Alfred successfully defended his kingdom against Viking attacks, and was the dominant ruler in England at the time of his death.

0932-02-01 00:00:00

McCall's 5500

Easily adapted into King Arthur and his Knights.

0932-02-01 00:00:00

Butterick 4377

An early Medieval gown and cloak, it but strongly resembles the dress worn by Zoot at Castle Anthrax. All you need is her headdress!

0932-02-01 00:00:00

McCall's 4320

Easy-rated robe pattern as a foundation for Tim the Enchanter. See also McCall's 6231, for a less tapered robe.

0932-02-17 10:53:07

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

A parody of the Arthurian legend by the British comedy troupe Monty Python, released in 1975.

0940-02-01 00:00:00


An American animated film where a Scottish princess decides to choose a fate for herself, and ends up causing chaos for her family.

0940-02-01 00:00:00

McCall's 6817

Inspired by the film, view A is similar to the dress worn by Merida in the archery tournament.

0940-02-01 00:00:00

Simplicity 1557

Officially licensed Disney pattern for the movie Brave, it includes a petticoat and cloak.

0950-01-01 00:00:00

Erik the Red

Some Norse traditions suggest he discovered Greenland, but this is disputed. He is credited for creating the first Norse settlement there. He is also the father of Leif Erikson.

0970-01-01 00:00:00

Leif Erikson

A Norse explorer widely regarded as being the first European to discover North America, establishing a settlement in the northernmost tip of what is now Newfoundland.

1057-01-01 00:00:00

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Shakespeare's play loosely based on Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (Anglicized to Macbeth), probably written between 1599 and 1606. It shows the corruption of ambition for power, and is generally considered one of his more powerful plays.

1066-12-25 00:00:00

William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror invades England in 1066, where be became the first Norman king until his death in Normandy in 1087.

1095-01-01 00:00:00

McCall's 5214

View C adaptable for a Knight Templar.

1095-01-01 00:00:00

The Crusades

A series of wars, mostly between the Roman Catholic Church and Islamic factions, over the Holy Lands.

1095-01-01 00:00:00

Burda 7976

Musketeer & Page (View A, Page, adaptable for a Crusader costume)

1095-01-01 00:00:00

McCall's 5500

Middle Ages knights and a loosely interpreted Samurai of about the same time period.

1095-01-01 00:00:00

McCall's 5499

Note: The hennin (pointed cap) wasn't worn until around 1430.

1100-02-01 00:00:00

Butterick 4827

Early Middle Ages gown and under skirt.

1184-01-01 00:00:00

Kingdom of Heaven

A French blacksmith travels to Jerusalem to aid in its defense against the Sultan Saladin.

1191-02-01 00:00:00

The Adventures of Robin Hood

A 1939 American film starring Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, Olivia De Havilland as Lady Marian and Ian Hunter as Richard the Lionheart. Richard is taken captive and his brother Prince John seizes the opportunity to take power and oppress the Saxon commoners. Sir Robin of Locksley is the only nobleman to oppose him. He becomes the outlaw Robin Hood.

1194-02-01 00:00:00


A historical novel by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), published in 1820, about a noble Saxon family when the English nobility was largely Norman. The Third Crusade had failed and King Richard was captured. Robin Hood appears as a character in this novel, and Scott writes with sympathy toward the Jews of the time (when Jews in England were struggling for emancipation in the 1830s).

1198-02-01 00:00:00

Legend of Robin Hood

One of the earliest mentions of Robin Hood dates to 1198. Ballads linking Robin Hood to Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire date to approximately 1420, and another monk makes reference to an archer named Robin Hood robbing the law-abiding and "infesting" Sherwood.

1200-01-01 00:00:00

The Tragedy of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark

Shakespeare's play, written about 1600, is based on the legend of Amleth, recorded by Saxo Grammaticus in the 13th century.

1200-02-01 00:00:00

Butterick 4574

Be Robin Hood or the Dread Pirate Roberts (leave off the jerkin and hat) in this ensemble inspired by the high Middle Ages.

1212-01-01 00:00:00


Loosely based on the historical Children's Crusade, a young knight joins Richard the Lionheart to protect orphans from the Black Prince.

1215-06-15 00:00:00

Magna Carta created

The Magna Carta ("Great Charter") was drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and agreed by King John as a peace treaty between the king and rebel barons. It was reissued (with offending bits removed) in 1216. It was issued again in 1225 for a grant of new taxes, and again in 1297. The laws contained in that version are part of English statutory law.

1270-01-01 00:00:00

William Wallace

One of the main leaders in the First War of Scottish Independence

1274-07-11 00:00:00

Robert the Bruce

He successfully fought for Scotland's independence against Edward I, later defeated Edward II re-establishing Scottish sovereignty. He is regarded as a national hero in Scotland.

1280-01-01 00:00:00


A movie adaptation of an epic poem by 15th century bard, "Blind Harry."

1296-01-01 00:00:00

First War of Scottish Independence

The English fought to maintain their rule in Scotland as the Scots tried to throw them out of the country.

1300-02-01 00:00:00

Butterick 5733

Historical accessories suitable for Middle ages or lower class Renaissance.

1300-02-01 00:00:00

Burda 7468

Medieval (French) dress and cap.

1300-02-01 00:00:00

Simplicity 1773

Early Medieval inspired dresses. View C is Medieval (French) inspired.

1337-01-01 00:00:00

Hundred Years' War

Isabella of France, mother of King Edward III, tried to claim the French throne for Edward when Charles IV of France died. The rejection of her attempted claim led to conflict between the two countries which eventually became the Hundred Years' War.

1338-01-01 00:00:00

The Black Death

A massive pandemic of the plague beginning in Asia and spreading along trade routes reduced the world's population by at least 100 million people.

1412-01-06 00:00:00

St. Joan of Arc

A saint and heroine of France, she received visions from Archangel Michael, St. Margaret and St. Catherine telling her to to support Charles VII in the Hundred Years' War, and regain France from the English.

1422-08-31 00:00:00

Henry VI, Part 1

Shakespeare's play written in 1591 (possibly in collaboration with another writer), it is essentially the prologue to the Wars of the Roses.

1431-12-01 00:00:00

Vlad the Impaler

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, was a Romanian folk hero for his protection of that population against corrupt boyars and the invading Ottomans.

Costumes & Culture

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