‘Get creative’: Helen Cody’s guide to making a fabric face mask at home

The Irish fashion designer demonstrates how to sew a mask, with a printable pattern

The Irish fashion designer Helen Cody has created this video guide to making masks at home, with a printable sketched pattern for cutting out the shape required.

Cody, whose video appears at the top of this article, advises people to use fabrics with a high thread count, as they provide a higher degree of filtration. In her guide, she recommends using two layers of fabric, with an elastic strap of ties made from ribbon. As a glasses wearer, Cody says, she prefers a single strap of elastic around the back of her head, as it sits more comfortably than two straps around her ears.

Cody says it is possible to hand sew the masks together if a sewing machine is not available, although it will take longer. She advises sewing several rows across the elastic or ties, where they join the mask, to ensure they are secured for wearing.

Cody also says that, as a fashion designer, she plans to “get creative” with the masks, and use fun and elaborate fabrics such as lace, but adds that she will always line them with cotton, and will aim to use materials which are still practical.


It is important to remember that guidance on whether to wear a face mask to limit the spread of coronavirus has been evolving. The Taoiseach says the Government is now advising people to wear face coverings on public transport and in crowded places indoors. It is still most important to limit trips outside and to wash your hands frequently. As the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, warned today, face coverings are not “some kind of magic shields against the disease”.

Most people should not use medical-grade masks, which must be reserved for frontline healthcare workers. But those who are sick with Covid-19 can help limit the spread of respiratory droplets by wearing a fabric mask, and that applies to those who are asymptomatic or undiagnosed as well.

To make Helen Cody’s mask, you will need:

  • The printable pattern
  • Scissors
  • Breathable, high thread-count fabric
  • Cotton lining fabric
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread, or a sewing machine
  • Elastic or ribbon for a strap or ties