When Sophia Daly was 13, the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing and she was looking for a hobby to pass the time. So she took out the old sewing machine left to her by her late grandmother, found two blue pillowcases under her bed and got to work.
"I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and learned how to sew," Daly said. "I call it my Cinderella dress because it’s light blue."
Daly describes her design style as historical wear. She’s made dresses that's designs date back to the 1500s.
"You see clothes now and they are really pretty, but I don’t know, I want more," she said. "I want the pizzazz, I want the ruffles and the fabric."
Daly’s mother, Gina, remembers the day they were taking a drive through the neighborhood when her daughter found inspiration.
“She found a couch on the side of the road that they were getting rid of and she was like, 'Mom I want fabric,'" Gina Daly said.
While 2020 was a difficult year for everyone, Gina Daly said her daughter found joy in designing and sewing.
“She will tell you that it was the best year of her life,” she said. “She loved the year 2020 ... it showed her a talent that she plans to turn into her career, designing, with an emphasis on historical fashion.”
When she was going into the eighth grade, Daly elected to learn virtually, sewing for hours every day after her studies.
Gina Daly said she believes her child is a “teen prodigy" in costume and fashion design.
Two years after she first picked up those blue pillowcases — and more than 14 dresses later, Daly is hosting a runway fashion show to raise money for The Dragonfly Foundation, a local nonprofit that brings joy and support to families who are living through childhood cancer.
“I have always told my daughter to use her talent for good and I love that at 15 she’s already starting,” Gina Daly said.
Daly wants to attend Parsons School of Design in New York and Paris.
Anyone who wishes to donate to The Dragon Fly Foundation in Daly's name can text 23FFTC15 to 71777.
This story was originally published by WCPO in Cincinnati, Ohio.