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Kits - the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly.

Kits - the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly.

Old 12-27-2012, 08:42 PM
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Default Kits - the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly.

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?
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Last edited by JanTx; 12-27-2012 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:50 PM
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I agree. The fabric does not look like it would work together in a quilt. Prints are too varied.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:07 PM
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I have only ever purchased one kit, that was a tree skirt from connecting threads a few months ago. I just made it and was really surprised how generous they were with the fabric. I am careful how I cut, and had in a few of the fabrics, about 1/4 yard at least, left over. I also bought a very large Moda jelly roll on clearance at Annie's on line, and will use it to make a few purses and accessories. The only other pre cut I ever had was a gift and held on to it for a year because I didn't like the pattern that came with it. I decided to try sewing strips together and made a purse that came out really nice, and have enough left for two more. In these cases, I think they all went together well, so not seeing all them doesn't matter. I probably will never buy any more pre cuts, though, and doubt if I will buy another kit, unless I really can't live without it. I like picking out fabrics myself, and besides, I have 4 or 5 quilts waiting for me to make, so I think that will be a year or two's work at least with the purses I will still make.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:08 PM
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I think you have covered it all and I am in the same boat as you are as I buy A LOT of precuts and kits (I collect them...lol) but noticed one thing though when I look at a precut layercake for example I don't like their choice of fabrics as the way they put colors together but when I see one displayed finished quilt with that layercake I like how they came along together. I am also with you that I would love to always see the finished quilt before buying a kit but when buying precuts price plays a role with me too
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:09 PM
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This is such good information and totally relevant. I understand your frustration. I have experienced the same thing, and it does help to know I am not the only one who has gone through this.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:51 AM
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I bought a kit about 3-4 years ago at a big quilt show. It comprised squares of soft florals, which were meant to be sewn together to make an easy quilt BUT when I looked at it this year, I realised that my ambitions (and modest skills) had moved on and I would be bored stiff just sewing the squares together. Luckily they were ideal to make easy pinwheels, (by sewing right sides together around all 4 sides and then cutting on the diagonals). So that is another factor to keep in mind -- by the time you get around to a kit, you may wish for something more exciting/challenging.

Last edited by gspsplease; 12-28-2012 at 02:51 AM. Reason: misspelling
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:18 AM
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I bought a fish pattern quilt kit from keepsake and fallowed it point by point. When I got to the last block it was short 6 inches. I called and reported same and had to answer 20 questions. First one was why did you wash it. Because the directions told me too. I never ordered again from them . They never made good on 6 inches. I never look at their catalogue. Bad taste in my mouth.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:49 AM
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I am working on a kit that I purchased 2 years ago at a show. The challenge is that the picture and instructions refer to the original fabrics and the shop owners had put together a different set of fabrics (which I loved in their display).
So I had to figure out which fabric they used where! Many were cut into strips which helped to narrow down the options.

Just wish I had taken a photo of their display quilt, so I would know for sure!
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:25 AM
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thanks for sharing your experiences.... they provide many hints to watch for when we make our purchases
Nancy in western NY
before you speak T.H.I.N.K. T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by skothing View Post
I bought a fish pattern quilt kit from keepsake and fallowed it point by point. When I got to the last block it was short 6 inches. I called and reported same and had to answer 20 questions. First one was why did you wash it. Because the directions told me too. I never ordered again from them . They never made good on 6 inches. I never look at their catalogue. Bad taste in my mouth.
It's a shame this happened to you. I've only had good experiences with that company but have never bought a kit from them.
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