Sleave Silk

Sleave silk (or sleeve silk) is a late sixteenth century English term for floss silk or unspun silk, which can be used for embroidery.

Shakespeare refers to sleave silk in his play Troilus and Cressida (written c. 1602):

No! why art thou then exasperate, thou idle immaterial skein of sleave-silk, thou green sarcenet flap for a sore eye, thou tassel of a prodigal’s purse, thou? (V, 1)

Also named: sleyed silk.


  • LEVEY, Santina M. (1998). An Elizabethan Inheritance: The Hardwick Hall Textiles, London: The National Trust, p. 43.
  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: ‘sleave-silk’


Last modified on Tuesday, 18 April 2017 17:09
More in this category: « Sleyed Silk Dacron »