The whole idea behind carving parts separate is so the tough-to-get-to spots can be carved and painted. This is exceptionally helpful when working on arms, where it can get very tight under and toward the armpit. trying to carve this are out of one piece will often be a source of frustration and unhappiness for the less-than-expert carver - me. So, I am working on the arms today and, before taking too much material away, I will start on the fabric folds. This is a new area of detail for me. I have only made a few serious attempts at carving folds. I started doing some research as to how folds form and look. With my first attempt, I made three serious, novice mistakes. First - I carved the figure to "finished" dimensions which didn't leave enough enough material to work with when I didn't like some of the folds. Second - I carved way too many folds. It's best to keep details like this simplified for the best overall effect. Less is more. Third - Worst of all, I didn't use reference photos and later realized many of the folds were running in the wrong direction.
catalog of reference photos that will last me for some time.
Carving the first pass on the arm, I'm using my Denny 3/4" detail knife. Then I'll clean it up and smooth the folds with a small gouge and Denny 5/16" V-tool. It has a nice rounded bottom which is appealing on folds. Maybe I'll do a more detailed tutorial on carving folds someday, when I've master it!