But in January, as the teenager was looking to celebrate her birthday in September, she wanted to attempt something bigger.
"I decided to crochet my quinceañera dress," said Mendez.
A quinceañera is a Hispanic rite of passage celebrated on a girl's 15th birthday, signifying her transition into becoming a woman. The day is marked with a church service followed by a celebration with family and friends.
"It is a beautiful tradition in our culture. So, I was really excited when she did decided she wanted to have a quinceañera," said Daisy Hernandez, Mendez's mother.
With her mother's support, Mendez got to work crocheting her quinceañera dress. The self-taught teen wasn't confident the dress would turn out the way she wanted, but she kept on going.
"If you think you can, I believe you can, and if for some reason it doesn't work out, we'll just buy one," Hernandez said. "I am very proud of her for accomplishing that."
Mendez documented her journey on her Instagram account showing her hours of work putting her steel blue dress into shape. She also added magenta piping for a pop of color, along with butterflies and flowers to the skirt.
The painstaking process taking months to complete.
"I crocheted for one week, and then I took two months off but then if I were to add it all together I would probably would say I took around four months to crochet this dress," said Mendez.
On Saturday, Mendez celebrated her quinceañera, unveiling her creation to family and friends. She says she hopes one day the dress will become part of her family's tradition.
"It's special to me," the teenager said. "Like if I was to have a child some day, I could give it to my daughter, if she wants it."
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Editor's note: This story was originally published on Sept. 23, 2022.