An Abba super fan, who puts in up to 14 hours a day and has spent over £850 making fabulous handmade costumes to turn her family and their dog into ‘Super Troupers’, is preparing to see the band iconic live for the first time.
Retired chief council officer Jane Henry, 57, who attends Abba events with her daughters Lucy Henry, 27, and Chloe Henry, 23, every few months is so picky about the Swedish supergroup that she now makes matching costumes for her 19-month-old youngest daughter. -old Yorkshire terrier-Pomeranian crossbreed dog Simba.
Jane, who lives in Tynemouth, North Tyneside, with her husband Richard Robson, 58, chairman of a property group, said: “As a family, Abba has been a constant source of happiness.”
She added: “We love dressing up because it’s so much fun. And since we have Simba he’s been part of our family so he loves dressing up too. I wouldn’t dream of making a new outfit without it. make one for him.
Jane spent nearly four months making Greek-themed outfits for her daughters and Simba, affectionately known as Simb-Abba, for a Mom Mia to party.
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She said, “When I did the Mom Mia their outfits were different from Abba’s. In a stylish way, I was looking at things that were more Greek-themed.
“No more ruffled sleeves and embellishments and more Mediterranean.
“It took me a long time to make the outfits, three months because I sewed all the stones by hand. But we all looked absolutely amazing, especially Simba.
Now, the smart seamstress says her focus has shifted to the nine sequin-scalloped outfits she’s due to complete as part of a tribute gear wardrobe to watch the band’s Avatar gig, Voyage, in London in May and June this year.
Jane said: “It’s not a job and I don’t open the office to sew every day, but I have the sewing machine outside all the time.
“I’m going to Voyage on opening night alone and I’m getting an outfit with Simba. But he can’t come, unfortunately.
She added, “Then we’re all going together on June 10, so I have to do everyone’s outfits.
“I make white bomber jackets with ABBA on the back, leather belts with feathers. It’s gonna be amazing.
“I start at 8:30 and will work until I go to bed to finish them.”
She added: “Apart from my family, my life is Abba.
“My whole floor is covered in sequins and black mesh. Fabric is just everywhere.
It will be the first time Jane has seen her idols perform live – a dream she’s had since she was just nine and saw Abba win the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 on TV singing. Waterloo.
She added: “Abba’s image and costumes are just as iconic as their music.
“Remembering being on the carpet as a nine-year-old watching Eurovision, I was just as stunned by what they were wearing as what they were singing.
“Whatever they did, every time they played, they always changed their appearance.”
Although the avatars tour was hailed as a big comeback for the iconic band, Jane insists the supergroup never split in her mind because the songs, costumes and experiences she shared with his daughters kept “Abba fever” alive for his family.
She said: “These events take me straight back in time. Every time I take my girls, it brings me so much joy.
“I can take them to Abba-themed events that I could never afford to go to at their age and I still want them to be able to have those experiences.”
Jane added: “When I asked my mum to bring me their vinyl records, it was difficult for my family because there were so many of us.
“But I promised myself that I would always give my children everything I could.
“Abba never really broke up for me. They were always in my life. Their music, their costumes.
Every few months, Jane goes to an Abba-themed event – often with her daughters – and many other fans now ask her where she buys her amazing tribute gear.
When they find out she does all the costumes, they always ask if she could do some for them too.
Jane said, “It’s a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot more effort and time than money, so I don’t have time to do them for other people.”
She’s been especially busy, pulling out all the stops for this summer’s big event, which will be the first time she’s seen the band perform live.
She said: “When I go to Voyage, for me it will be Abba on stage. I don’t understand avatars, but it’s like magic.
“It will be a dream come true for this little girl watching the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time.”
She added: “I’ve always wanted to see Abba live. It’s my dream and I’m going to see them. It’s just pure magic.
“I’m so emotional just thinking about it, I can’t wait, it’s amazing. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
“I never thought I’d see them together again and I am. I’m not sleeping because I’m so excited!
Despite all the hard work, Jane says she can’t wait to get stuck creating everyone’s outfits.
She said: “I love doing this even though it’s very time consuming.
“I can’t wait to see the 12 new outfits that will be unveiled at Voyage and recreate them myself. To continue the journey.
She added, “I will never stop doing this.
“Abba is the happiest music ever and the girls love it. They are always so excited to see the new outfits.
“Chloe is always thrilled when Simba gets a new outfit. She sends me all of Simb-Abba’s measurements. My girls love it just as much as I do.
Jane even hosted an Abba-themed girls’ night out in May 2016, for which she made Mamma Mia outfits for all her pals.
She said: “Abba really provided a sort of glue or golden thread that connected me to my daughters and we created so many happy memories.
“It’s this one constant thing that has brought us together and brought us so much happiness.”
Credit: Joe Pagnelli, PA.
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