I was chatting with some other artist earlier and we got on the subject of OOAK art dolls. I explained my steps and said I thought I had some pictures of a doll in stages. So I looked and found a few. It's not complete. I'll try and fill in the blanks.
First I build a wire armature. I usually just use a wire coat hanger. It's a heavy gage and I've got plenty of them to spare. I just bend it into a stick-man including a circle for the head. Then I make a ball of tinfoil and attach it to the circle. This is so the doll doesn't get top-heavy and also so the clay dries all the way thru. Sorry, no pictures of this step.
Next I sculpt the head, hands and legs. I use paper-clay so I don't have to fire it. It's also very user friendly. I can always add more clay, even after it dries, if I need to make some corrections. It also paints very nicely. You could also use polymer clay and fire it. I also have plans to do a doll out of PMC. But I can't fire that one on the wire armature because the metal will corrupt the PMC. Below I have a photo of a head. For this particular doll I wasn't in the mood to sculpt hands. So I put her in a straight jacket.
Next I wrap the wire armature in foam. And then I wrap it in duct-tape. This will all be covered by fabric so don't worry about using the duct-tape. It gives the piece a nice smooth finish. And I tend to use whatever's handy.
Next I cover the body in cotton fabric. I sew this directly on the body. Over this I start to build the clothing. My dolls are not the kind you dress and undress. The clothing is part of the dolls character. I sew the clothing directly on the doll starting with the bottom layer and working up. If I have rough edges I'll cover them with lace or other embellishments.
And here she is: Crazy Mollee