|Bucilla (or Plaid Bucilla)||
kits are the easiest to find, especially if you wish to purchase brand-new
kits (as opposed to buying unopened kits off ebay).
Bucilla Kits (usually identifiable by the font used on the brand logo)
are of better quality than the newer ones.
|Disney (Bucilla)||Disney kits are sometimes difficult to identify who manufactured them
because the words disney are identified in big letters and "Paragon" or "Bucilla" appears
in small print in a corner. However, I have never seen any Disney kits
not made by a brand I would hesitate to recommend. They're good kits.
[-] There is a Disney copyright logo on the back of Pooh's shirt, which in and of itself is not a problem except that you can't tell this from the outside of the package
|Disney (Paragon)||[+] Quality is similar to other Paragon kits
[-] I have not been able to yet obtain a copy of a Paragon-Disney kit
[+] kits include fun designs like Disney and Care Bears
[-] Hard to find, I've only seen these on Ebay, I have not worked any paragon kits.
|Better Homes & Gardens||[?] Quality of kit unknown
[?] whether or not these are pre-stamped is unknown
[-] Hard to find brand, even on ebay
[-] I have not been able to locate a copy of one of these kits to evaluate
|Sultana||[+] Pre-Stamped (typically dotted rather than thick solid lines)
[+] Goldilocks & the Three Bears and the Little Old Lady who Lived in a Shoe are Sultana kits
[+] Directions include multiple pictures per ornament to show how to assemble more complicated steps (very helpful, especially if you're a visual learner).
[-] Textual directions are a little sparse, and no text accompanying stitch guide
[+] Directions gives enough detail on needle-type ("Sharps No. 10") to replace if lost or damaged
[+] Single-language english directions
[+] Stich guide is clear
[-] Step by step instructions are a little vauge with steps like "Attach appliques 1 through 14 for SANTA/S FRONT" leaving you to figure out for yourself the proper order of attachment.
[+] Some fun and cute designs
|Design Works Crafts||
Outside of package in french and english. Rarely described by the brand name in Ebay auctions. Brand name is in small print on bottom corner of front of kit.
[+] Really fun and cute designs
|(picture of plain ol' felt goes here)|
|This is what comes in most kits you could buy in a store today such as Plaid Bucilla kits. The lines are very thick and easy to follow, but do require you to cut carefully to get all the border off the front of the finished applique. Typically they don't give margin for cutting inside the lines easier, so if you are not extremely precise in cutting close to the line but on the inside of it, you'll have a hard time with sequins near the edge of the fabric.||Older kits from before the photocopier era often are printed with dotted lines instead of solid. The dotted lines are nice because the thinner weight of the line makes it easier to cut off the marking completely. The downside is sometimes the marks can seem to "vanish" on their own.||Unstamped kits require you to lay out pattern pieces onto the felt and cut them out yourself. This can be tricky because it is hard to draw thin lines on felt. Most felt tip or markers smear or bleed too much, but pencil will only draw well on really stiff felt and requires a soft lead. Paint works good at marking lines--if you can find a brush or paint pen with a fine-enough point. Typically on unstamped felt, it is best to only draw your lines on the back of the felt so that they don't show on the finished project if they smear.|
Felt ornament kits can be tricky to find in stores (try craft stores like Micheals or Beverlys or other stores with large crafts sections like Walmart). It is much easier to buy them online.
PlaidOnline the website for Plaid sells Plaid-Bucilla ornament kits directly, having the full selection of all their current year's designs plus overstock of less popular designs from previous years.
Mary Maxim Catalog sells Plaid-Bucilla kits as well, and their stock may vary slightly from Plaid's current available choices in having different slightly older kits avalable.
Ebay has not only a huge selection (varies seasonally, many more to choose from near the holidays) but also carries lots kits that are no longer in print or from brands that have gone out of business. Plus the prices are really reasonable unless you're bidding on a rare-and-popular old kit (eg. Bucilla Alice in Wonderland kit)
Stuffing. A big bag of polyester fiberfill is inexpensive. You'll definitely want to pick up a bag of this to go with your kit.
Sewing scissors. Really. They're smaller and sharper and cut through fabric and floss better than "normal" scissors.
Sewing Wax. If you're having a hard time keeping your thread from tangling and knotting, this will make the thread stiffer while you sew so it tangles less.
If your kit doesn't include pre-stamped patterns, carbon paper for fabric is needed to transfer the patterns to the felt (you can try without but its a lot harder)
Jessica's Homepage -> Art -> Crafts -> Brand Chart