When learning about making original sculpted dolls, the planning or designing of your doll to be a specific character, or a doll that is doing something that expresses your idea, is where you begin. That idea may evolve, even change completely, but that is the starting point.
Let’s talk about sculpture and costume in relation to what you are trying to tell the viewer about your little character. The costume is just as important as the sculpted form and face to express the doll’s image. In addition to its costume, the doll’s body position completes the story. As you work to finish your doll, ask yourself if everything that could be done to express your point, has been done (and done as well as you can).
Most OOAK dolls are a representation of a human figure, real or imaginary. The problem you face when costuming is creating an illusion that the doll’s costume is the same as a real human (it need not be an exact duplicate). When assembling fabrics, fibers and other materials you must give the illusion that the doll’s costume is the same. You must take liberty to fake and fudge in order to create that illusion. How do you do that?
• Scale: selecting the correct size of the fabric and materials; the weight, the texture, and the colors. Fabrics are made for real humans. Susanna Oroyan said that “it becomes our job to learn how to deceive the viewer into believing that the human scale fabric is really made by elves to fit dolls.”
• Color: color is scaled in brightness. To get the illusion of bright, you usually have to tone down several shades. Toning down brings the brightness to the scale for your doll’s size. As a general rule, the smaller the scale, the less bright the color. Materials that are too bright can be bleached, tea dyed, and recolored with paints, dyes and chalks, etc.
• Fit: the costume must look like it fits the doll. You must give the illusion of weight to the fabric as it pulls down. The fabric must have wrinkles where the body bends and it must pull where the body is turning. And the fabric must show there are bones at bent elbows and knees; this relates to how well you sculpted joints on the doll.
(From the book Fantastic Figures by Susanna Oroyan...a good reference with lots more on this and other topics)