Unless they recycle, most people toss their soft drink cans in the garbage when they're finished - but not Maricruz Martinez.

Maricruz loves fashion. She spends hours watching TV shows, reading magazines and browsing her online news feed learning more about the industry. She knows the latest trends and what all the celebrities are wearing.

"I want to be a fashion designer. That's my passion," Maricruz said.

She creates her own fashion trends by making dresses, accessories and other clothing.

Maricruz is also involved in Dublin High School's chapter of FCCLA (Future Career and Community Leaders of America).

Each year FCCLA puts students' sewing skills to the test in a fashion competition.

Maricruz entered the recycle and redesign category, where entries were required to be produced from 100 percent recycled material.

"I live in Dublin so of course I wanted to do something with Dr Pepper," Maricruz said.

Family and friends collected Dr Pepper cans that Maricruz used to make her 1980s rocker-inspired dress.

She tediously cut each can flattening some and curling others.

Needle and thread were not enough for this job. Each can was seamlessly stapled together to make the dress.

The dress was nearly complete with only days to go before the competition deadline. FCCLA advisor Mrs. Ryan Lewis suggested adding a jacket - a final touch to complete the ensemble.

The next day Erath County was covered in ice and schools were forced to shut down.

With a broken sewing machine of her own and no access to the machines at school, Maricruz took out a needle and thread and hand-sewed the jacket made of a trash bag.

The project took Maricruz three months.

"It was very hard and I cut myself quite a few times," she said. "My friends and Mrs. Lewis encouraged me to finish it. They knew I could do it."

Maricruz recently returned from the regional competition, where she earned second place in her division.

"I was so happy to have placed!" Maricruz said.

In addition to the dress, she also presented judges with a poster of design concepts, pictures and materials used and other information about the dress.

The crew at Dublin Dr Pepper learned off Maricruz's dress while attending a special convention dedicated to Dr Pepper.

"We are all incredibly impressed with her ingenuity," said Lori Dodd with Dublin Dr Pepper. "This takes loads of creativity."

Dodd received a picture of the dress on her phone and quickly shared with other fanatics of the soft drink at the convention in Waco.

"We would be so honored to feature this in our museum sometime," Dodd said.

Maricruz advanced to the state competition that will take place in Houston in April.

"Maricruz is very talented and has the skills to succeed at state," Lewis said.