Written by Nancy Scott of Masterpiece Quilting
Today we are talking about quilt kits, those beautifully styled bundles of fabric with a pattern included that capture our attention every time we walk into our favorite quilt shop. You know the ones – they are typically displayed next to a stunning quilt or stacked playfully near the checkout counter. They have a come hither look that begs to say – take me home with you!
While tempting as they can be, if you aren’t familiar with quilt kits, you may be asking what the benefits of buying one are. Can’t I buy the fabrics myself and skip the kit? Absolutely! That is always an option, but there are times when purchasing a kit is advantageous. I started a quick list of my favorite reasons for buying a quilt kit. Here they are in no particular order.
1. The fabrics in the kit are pre-selected, so you have confidence that all the materials work well together in the final project. Typically a color photo is included with the kit or on the online sales page, so it becomes a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get situation. This scenario is great for any quilter who isn’t sure of their ability to select fabrics or wants to make a quilt exactly like the photo. We often get finished with a quilt and are disappointed in our fabric choices. A kit eliminates that disappointment because you can see how all the fabrics look together in advance.
2. Quilt kits are great for gifting or being gifted. Who doesn’t love to receive supplies for their favorite hobby? Our family, friends, or co-workers often like to gift us something useful, but they don’t have the expertise to purchase the fabric. The option of buying a quilt kit is a great way to make their buying super easy and ensures that you receive precisely what you want.
3. You can save money. Yes, spending money can save you money! If impulse buying always busts your budget when you go to the quilt fabric store, purchasing a kit is a simple way to get what you need for the project and stay within budget.
4. You can save even more money! If you are making a quilt that requires a lot of different fabrics but in small quantities, then you can end up purchasing more fabric than needed when it’s cut by the yard. If your project calls for a fat eighth of a specific print, but your quilt shop or online retailer only sells ½ yard cuts as a minimum, then you will be overspending to get the fabric that you need.
5. You are a social sewist, and you probably do a lot of sewing with others, at retreats, classes, quilting bees, etc. It can get cumbersome and time-consuming to pack up all the fabrics needed for a project, and inevitably you will forget an essential fabric. (Yep, I’m guilty of that!) A quilt kit is a great way to take just what you need and ensure that you have everything you need.
6. You like efficiency. Quilt kits will allow you to assemble a project as quickly and efficiently as possible with minimal frustration on your end. Some kits even have the fabrics precut into the needed patch sizes, so all you need to do is assemble. How easy is that? My favorites are the kits that include applique shapes precut with a fusible already adhered. Talk about speeding up my quilting process and ensuring perfect results every time.
7. You sew in a small space. Not everyone has a substantial dedicated hobby space. Quilters will figure out a way to quilt regardless of their space. If you are a small space stitcher, then a kit doesn’t take up as much space as yardage or bolts of fabric. Gone are the days of dumping totes and searching through bins of stash fabric to find the exact color you need; everything is in one place.
8. Quilt kits will save you time. No waiting in line at the quilt shop for cutting and checkout. No driving or calling from shop to shop to see if they have the fabric you need. No scouring the internet searching for that one fabric only to find a ½ yard when you need a yard and a half. Just pop in the shop, grab a pre-packaged kit, and away you go.
9. Quilt kits are perfect for projects not in your preferred colorway. If your stash is predominately florals and brights, but your grandson wants you to make him a quilt that isn’t floral and isn’t bright, then a quilt kit is a great option to get the specific fabrics needed for that special quilt without purchasing fabric that doesn’t fit your style.
10. You are a seasonal quilter. Not everyone quilts every day. Many quilters work on their hobby during the winter months or in spurts. Quilt kits get you everything you need up-front. I think most of us have started a project, needed more fabric, and when we went back to the quilt shop, the fabric wasn’t available. That left us with making substitutions that sometimes didn’t work. Even if no one else can tell which fabrics are “new to the mix,” as a quilter, we always know. By purchasing a quilt kit, you can eliminate that worry about whether or not the fabric will still be available when you are ready to make the quilt.
11. The kit, the instructions, and the project have been tested. In most cases, the quilt shop has made the project using the pattern and the fabrics they include in the kit. This allows you the comfort of purchasing a tested project. You have the comfort of knowing the pattern is accurate, precise, and complete, the fabric requirements are correct, and you receive the proper amounts of fabric needed with some room to spare.
12. Quilt kits are great for beginners. Teaching someone to quilt for the first time is an enriching experience, and a quilt kit is ideal for them to work with. Because they can see what their finished quilt will look like from the start, you can focus on teaching them quilting techniques and building their confidence stitch-by-stitch. The investment is also lower, especially if you can share your supplies and tools.
13. You are making a quilt outside your usual style or using new techniques. I’m a patchwork quilter who likes a bit of raw-edge fusible applique. The first time I made a paper-pieced quilt, I purchased a kit. Knowing that everything was included in the kit and making a quilt to match the photo gave me the courage to try a new technique when I didn’t even know what I needed! It was the perfect win-win.
So the next time you are shopping for quilt projects, don’t forget to take a look at those kits and be sure to bring one home with you.