For about the first 10 months of my sewing career, I spent a lot of time on the floor...hunched over material with scissors and pins...or in front of the mirror...pinning clothes together directly on myself, or at times, into myself (ouch!).
Now with my dress form I'm able to pin fabric designs together, add embellishments to shirts, drape fabric, and see it all in a much more realistic way. It's so much easier to view designs from all angles, instead of trying to make alterations while eyeing myself in the mirror (although I am still known to do that from time to time).
I decided on a set-size dress form, in my size, rather than getting an adjustable dress form (i.e. Dritz and Singer), a plaster mannequin, or making myself one out of duct tape (good tutorial from Prudent Baby).
I based my decision on A) what I wanted it for (my clothes versus clothes for other people), B) reviewer ratings of all forms, and C) my sister's opinion (a soon-to-be graduate from FIDM in L.A.) who said she loved working with a set-size dress form, as it gave her a realistic view of her own size.
I loved that idea. My own body double! No more pinning to myself. No more guessing.
And so for my birthday, my husband bought my dress form here.
And now I have a 3 dimensional friend to try everything on for me, who also happens to look just like me (minus the head anyway).
And sewing life hasn't been the same since.
It's been much, much better.