Betsy Cook of National Picnic is on board this week in Wickedly Chic. Betsy is the creator of some of the most amazing handcrafted women’s clothing – sewn in the U.S.A. After you read all about National Picnic, you are definitely going to want to race over to her website to check it out.

You mention you stumbled upon your love for making clothes. How did you stumble and where did the name for your business come from?

Good equipment can make such a difference. I’ve always loved to sew, but when I traded in a decades-old Singer for a sweet new hot rod of a machine, what a revelation! I wanted to be sewing all the time. I began sewing “National Picnic” clothing in 2011 for friends and neighbors. I hand-delivered the tops and dresses myself, wrapped in brown paper packages tied up with strings.

My sister and I were pushing words around one night and National Picnic came together. It made perfect sense to name the brand after an outdoorsy activity that my clothing is perfectly suited for. There is a National Picnic Day, April 23. One of those National (whatever) Days like National Ice Cream Day or National Teacher Day. Interesting, casual holidays, what fun!


What do you believe sets your clothes apart from what is already out there and why do customers say they love your clothes?

Considering that there are usually thousands of copies of a single dress style in most chain stores (and more likely sewn under questionable conditions), how can you compare that to a dress that might only exist as one per size? Most of my popular styles are only made by the dozens. Any woman that’s taken the time to know National Picnic loves the story behind my handcrafted women’s clothing. I feel rooted for! But I get the most love from delivering cuteness with great fit and quality construction.

What have been some of your most rewarding styles to create and where does your inspiration come from most of the time?

I make it a point to try sewing up a new piece to feature each week on Instagram. I get inspired by the feedback, it can come from anywhere and from anyone. It’s a great reward that fuels my creativity. I get such a kick out the flurry of interest that a post might generate. My own daily routine inspires my style the most. Everything I sew needs to keep up with a busy life.


What is your personal favorite piece that you could never live without and why?

I love my popover shift. It’s become a National Picnic classic. It’s not the right time of year to wear it now, but it’s by far the most worn thing in my closet. In summer, it is simply the most everyday go-to piece I own.

I notice that you use some really comfortable fabrics like organic cotton and hemp. What are the benefits of wearing and purchasing clothes with these fabrics?

I love how these fabrics feel! These fabrics are about comfort of body and conscience. It feels good on, and you feel good about choosing something that uses gentler processes in their making.

national picnic clothing

Exactly how big is your closet and how do you know when you have enough clothes? 🙂

I don’t have a closet! A bedroom one, that is. I have a vintage 1930’s bedroom set to hold most of my clothing, I feel like a screen starlet when I’m getting ready to tackle each day. Out of season things are kept in containers under the bed. It’s fun to change seasons, to take everything out and be thoughtful about what gets to fit inside my furniture and what gets donated. Sometimes the drawers don’t close. Does that mean I have enough clothes, or need more furniture?

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