Puffed sleeves have been a thing for a while, but they are still going strong, as you can see in this Bird by Juicy Couture Striped wool-jersey top ($230).
Butterick 5562 is a good entry in the genre. It lacks the drama of this Pre-Fall 2012 Thakoon (which is completely awesome), but is more wearable on a day-to-day basis.
In addition to a shawl-style top, the pattern comes with two variations on the puff sleeve, a short sleeve version and a long sleeve version.
The two sleeves are not drafted the same, which is odd. The short sleeve has a large dart at the shoulder, which gives more volume and a higher lift to the puff. The elastic for gathering does not come up to the sleeve cap but starts lower down, which also allows for higher lift. The long sleeve just has the rounded "microphone" shape at the top. The short sleeve is definitely superior to the long sleeve in design.
However, I think there is an error in the short sleeve pattern, in the odious "guide for elastic." The elastic length is only about an inch shorter than the area to be gathered. I double-checked to make sure it wasn't my error. I cut it to about 2/3 the length to be gathered.
While the sleeves are great, I found the draft of the shirt appalling. It is described as "close-fitting" but I found it quite huge. It comes in RTW-sizing, XS-XXL, which sort of lulls you into thinking it might not have the Big Three Ease of Doom, but you'd be wrong. I cut an XS at shoulders and bust, M at the waist, and L at the hips. I should have taken a picture of the short-sleeve version before fixing the fit, but I took a good 3-4 inches out of the waist.
In addition to the general fit, I found the neckline too wide.
And then there are my personal body quirks. You can see in the closeup photo how it is catching above the bust (which led me to take a tiny shortening tuck in developing my TNT tee). You can also see the dreadful swayback, even though I added a CB seam. Ugh!
For the long sleeve version, I played it safe and just attached the Butterick sleeves to my TNT tee pattern. That solved my fit problems, though the bulkiness of this stretch lace fabric didn't help. I'm afraid that whole set of purchases from Fabric.com was a mistake. This fabric was $7/yd, and is only going to last a few wears as it snags on *everything.*
I underlined it with a rayon knit, one of the fabrics I purchased in Hong Kong with AllisonC in 2009.
To make the elastic gathers in the long sleeve version, I found it easier to push the fabric underneath the elastic as I sewed it than to try to stretch the elastic to the proper length. This ends up with sort of approximate gathering lengths, but it all worked out fine.
The sleeves are looooong. Even after gathering the ends they were way too long, so I had to cut off three inches and then add more elastic on the back end.
If I were making the long sleeves again, I'd do the sleeve cap elastic gathering before setting in the sleeve, so the top of the elastic would be caught in the armscye seam.
The aqua version is one of the wicking fabrics I got from Fashion Fabrics Club. I sewed it up at the last minute to take to Ecuador. Alas, the fit is so terrible that I wore it on vacation but not otherwise (of course, it has nominally been winter as well). Other than the swayback, though, in the pics it looks cute so maybe I'll give it another try this summer (weekend wear only).
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.