I like kits, bundles, precuts, and fabric lines. I know that many of you delight in the search for exactly the right fabric, but ... I don't. Here's what I have learned through the purchase of many such things:
If the ad for the kit does not show a picture of a completed quilt, I won't purchase it. I have two small layer cakes right now that I bought by theme and price (wanted Little Golden Book characters and they were really good deals.) I can use maybe 5 of the 20 fabrics - the rest don't seem to go. The ad said you just sewed these squares together and you had a quilt. Well, you'd have a really ugly quilt! I ended up making 4-patches from 4 of the fabrics and usingthe Golden Book character block by itself. Had to buy sashing and border fabric to bring it together. The second one has 2 fabrics I'll use. Good thing there are 4 of each of those fabric in the layer cake. I'm adding one more fabric, sashing, and border.
If the ad does not show complete pieces of each fabric then I won't get it. That applies more to precuts than kits. On Missouri Quilt Co's site you click on the precut and you get a look at every fabric included. Wonderful! Some kits have a tab for "here's what's included". Again, wonderful! If not, I've learned not to buy it.
If the bundle or kit has too many solid fabrics I won't buy it.
If the web store says they have the right to substitute fabrics in a kit then expect that they will. I ordered a kit I loved from one site. It was a baby quilt with a lot of orange in it. I liked it so much - and so did the friend I gave it to - that I ordered another one. I wrote in the "comment" section - "Please do not substitute. If the kit is not available as pictured, please do not send". When I received it yellow fabrics had been sutstituted for all the orange. Written by hand on the order form - right next to my comment section that said "Please do not substitute" - was a note that substitutions had been made. It's still a cute kit and I will eventually use it, but not for my University of Texas alumni friends whose school colors are orange and white.
Be prepared to supplement the kit. I'm working on a kit for a precious Sunbonnet Sue baby quilt. There is no fabric included for the Sue's arm. Since I bought this a while back I have no idea what source I used. I've googled the kit title, but still can't figure it out. It's a tiny little piece and I have a fabric that will work, but ... would have preferred a complete kit.
I know that fabric choices and colors are personal preference. I'm including a picture of one of the layer cake fabrics to give you an idea. I have a friend who collects Little Golden Books and is pregnant with twins or I would not have ordered this at all. I can make it work, but don't feel I should have to! (out of 20 10"squares I expected to get more than 6 different fabrics - there's something else to read very carefully and look closely at the pictures on the site.) The description of this layer cake says that you can sew the blocks together and have a quilt ready in less than an hour. I will be able to use some by cutting them into small pieces and creating blocks from those.
Even given these things - I still love kits, bundles, precuts, and fabric lines! I live in a small town and work with a limited budget and sometimes the deals are very good. Sometimes....
When I've purchased a quilt shop kit or bundle, I have never been disappointed. You see what you're getting - including a made-up sample of the quilt. Some sites never disapoint - I have several Connecting Thread kits. All good. Fabric Cafe has 3 and 5 yard bundles. You see a pic of a completed quilt and see clear, large pictures of each fabric that's included. Great!
Any other words of wisdom on kits?