Top arms are a brides nemesis....bit of a sweeping statement, but it seems to come up a lot. (Well, that and back fat!) No mater how many kettlebells you lift, some of us just can't get that top arm toned to look as svelte as we'd like!
Recently, more brides have asked for boleros to be made to wear as a cover up or sleeves to be added to their gowns as they know they want coverage all day long. Sleeves are the dish of the day so remember they are a simple addition to most dresses, and keep that in the back of your mind when you are shopping. Lace has been really popular in the last few years, and a lace sleeve looks really lovely and delicate on the arm - it provides the coverage you might need but still looks soft and not too heavy. You really want to keep continuity with the sleeve addition and never want the sleeve to look like its been bolted on. A lot of the manufacturers might let you buy extra lace from them, so check with your boutique if they can arrange for fabric to be ordered, or they might sell you lace appliqués (pieces) individually. If you need to order a length, try and get a meter for your sleeves, and if you need appliqués, ask advice from the boutique as it will vary on the size of each appliqué piece. Usually I would say around 4/5 appliqués per arm on average. Half of the time, your seamstress might have a good stash of lace fabric that she can use which is a near perfect match, and the sleeves can be made from that. We're pretty cunning us seamstresses and have all kinds of tricks up our sleeves to customise your dress!
I don't mean to harp on about lace as there are so many other fabrics out there. Other light sleeves have been made from tulle (that really soft net a veil is made from) and other sleeves can be added from satins or the heavier fabrics, but they would be pretty hot so take that into consideration when sleeves are keeping you awake at night. If you want flexibility with your coverage and think, "Heck, I'm going to be a bit tipsy come 10pm and I want to be able to go nuts on the dance floor and couldn't give a damm about my arms by then!" then go bolero! I'll come to boleros another day, but they give you the flexibility to have two looks and you can take it off if you get hot!
Word of warning with sleeves...dum dum daaaa....a fitted, beautiful lady-like sleeve isn't going to give you the freedom of movement your comfy house jumper sleeves give you. There's a good chance you won't be able to get your arms right up in the air to do the YMCA. You should be able to give someone a hug, so do arms out like a zombie test, but arms in the air like you just don't care, could be limited.
I wish I was better at remembering to take pictures of the bucketloads of sleeves I've added over the years, but I'm rubbish and haven't, so here's one example of a Lou Lou tea dress. I managed to pinch a bit of the lace edging from the hem of the dress and put it on the cuffs of the sleeves so they blended it in and looked like they'd always meant to be there!