Having spent over £850 hand-crafting ‘super trouper’ outfits for her family, she’s now turned her hand to canine couture – making two costumes for her daughter’s new dog.The retired council chief officer has customised garments for her two daughters – Lucy, 26, a digital media executive, and Chloe, 23, a photographer – and jumped at the chance to make a bedazzled onesie for her youngest’s pet.
Jane, of Tynemouth, ran up two 70s-style onesies for 13-month-old Yorkshire terrier-Pomeranian cross Simba, saying: ‘We call him Sim-babba now!’ While spending 40 hours making Abba gear for dogs may sound barking mad to most people, Jane’s obsession with the Swedish stars is something her family – including company chairman husband Richard, 57, and son Thomas Henry, 25, an admin assistant – are used to.
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She said: ‘I’ve been Abba mad since I was nine and not only are my family used it now, they love them, too. My daughters, especially, love dressing up and coming to every Abba event I can find with me.’
The family now have matching white and gold jumpsuits, with Simba getting involved in the Swedish pop fun. ‘It was my idea, to make some costumes for Simba,’ said Jane, adding that ‘Chloe, who got him during lockdown in November 2020, was all for it.’
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The mum continued: ‘Simba loves Abba. He’s a really musical dog and loves getting ready with us for a night out. He poses with us for photos, but we can’t take him to tribute gigs, sadly.
‘He’s like my grandchild, so I couldn’t wait to make him his own customised Mamma Mia outfits.’ Jane started creating costumes for her family before her hen night in May 2016 and has since spent £850 making 17 outfits. She’s currently working on nine more for her Abba-themed year, to celebrate the band’s recent comeback. And she has plans to follow everything they do in 2022, including to the island of Skopelos (where Mamma Mia was filmed) for a concert, and to the Abba museum in Sweden.
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‘I average six Abba events a year, not including tribute bands, and have a book of all my themed visits,’ she said.
While Simba can’t attend the events, Jane has vowed to proudly show off his unique style at every opportunity possible.His newest outfit – doggy dungarees – is based on a set worn by singer Björn Ulvaeus, while the other canine costume is a frilly affair.‘I based the latest outfit on the dungarees Bjorn actually wore,’ said Jane.
‘Simba’s first outfit was a white frilled onesie with ABBA on the back. He loves them both and really enjoys wearing them. I think he likes being part of our family fan club.’ To make the pieces, Jane starts with a basic dog onesie with velcro or popper fastening. She then uses fabric scraps and a dash of creativity to decorate them fit for any Dancing Queen.
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And Jane says she’s got plenty more designs up her sleeve for next year.
She said ‘I’m going to get a new embroidery machine so I can do the detailing better.
Once your dog has removed all of the fabric from the ball, you can stuff the scraps right back in!
‘I’m always thinking of designs, and I’ve already got another three in my head to do for next year. I’m so excited about 2022, it’s going to be a real Abba year.
‘Everyone thought I was barking mad for Abba – but now I really am!’
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