Traditionally, handiras (or wedding blankets, as they’re often known) are woven by Berber women in the mountains of northern Morocco in preparation for a wedding. It can take weeks of work to complete, during which time the female family members will school the bride-to-be on the intricacies of marriage. Our DIY version is a tribute to these beautiful blankets.
You will need
Ofelia throw, Ikea
6m entwined tracks 20mm trim in gold and white, Josy Rose
sewing machine or needle thread
6m chunky chenille bullion fringe in cream, Josy Rose
6m suedette and sequin 23mm trim in dove grey, Josy Rose
6m 14mm snaked Lurex gimp threaded trim with 4mm silver sequins, Josy Rose
20mm silver sequins, Simply Sequins
1 Begin by mapping out your design. Lay the blanket out flat on the floor, and place the trims onto it, experimenting with different designs. The meterage we’ve supplied above will be enough to add four stripes of each trim – simply add or subtract to suit.
2 Pin your first stripe down and remove the rest, keeping a note of which order they went in (we placed ours in the following order: entwined tracks, chunky chenille, suedette and sequin; then added a zig-zag of snaked Lurex in between). Use as many pins as necessary – it’s important to hold the trim in place as you work as the blanket can pull and distort as you sew.
Image: Step 2
3 Once pinned, stitch your first stripe into place – you can do this by hand for a neater finish, or by machine, which will be much quicker but potentially more difficult depending on how well your sewing machine deals with thick fabrics. We stitched down both long edges of the ribbon to hold it flat and firmly in place.
4 Once the first ribbon is stitched, add your second stripe (in our case, the chunky chenille bullion fringe), pinning along the full length again to ensure it is held fast. Stitch into place.
Image: Step 6
5 Pin and stitch your third stripe (in our case, the suedette and sequin ribbon) into place, ensuring as you work that all stripes remain parallel and straight. We recommend you stop and lay the blanket out flat between each stripe, to ensure they stay in position. Repeat steps 2-5, adding your stripes in order until you have reached the opposite end of the blanket and all the stripes have been added. Trim any loose thread ends to neaten the edges.
6 Fray your fringing. Using a pair of small embroidery scissors, snip the end of each loop along the stripes of chenille bullion fringe. This will take some time but is worth the effort. Once snipped, ruffle the fringe with your fingers – the loops will unravel to become shaggy and full.
Image: Step 7
7 Add your sequin zig-zags. Working between two of your stitched stripes, pin and then stitch a zig-zag of the snaked Lurex trim to the blanket. Repeat, adding it between the same two stripes each time – we stitched ours between the entwined tracks ribbon, and chunky chenille fringe.
8 Complete your blanket by hand stitching a collection of sequins to it. You can add as many or as few as you like, in one or more colours. We chose to scatter ours between each stripe to get an even coverage all over.
Image: Step 8
Feature and styling: Sophie Holt
Photos: Lizzie Orme