I've used the Extra-Large pipe cleaners(pc)to make streamer bodies and believe I first saw the method in one of the Fly Tyer magazines. It may have even been on the cover of the magazine. The pipe cleaners used were the elongated oval types but you can use the extra wide pc's too.
Using a streamer hook place the thread at bend. Create the tail with feathers or an extension of the chenille. Tie in 2 pc's(oval) or 4(reg shaped), one (or 2 reg shaped) on each side. Move the pc out of the way and wrap just the thread to the neck. Add weight along the shank if you choose. Then pull each pc toward the thread and tie each one (or each pair) down on a side of the neck. Clip off with wire cutters. You can then add whatever you want for the shoulder, wing, collar, eyes.
If memory serves me right, the article said that some of these were used for salt water as well as fresh-water baitfish imitations.