Sleeve flounces became popular in the mid 18th century and remained popular as long as elbow length sleeves were worn. These, of course, are a style suited to your fancier gowns, as they can get in the way. They're also best suited to lightweight fabrics that can hold a cut edge, though at least one gown in the Victoria and Albert (I believe--I think I saw it in person, but I can't find a picture, either in my own or the V&A site) has hemmed sleeve flounces. The technique I used for my flounces is illustrated in Costume Close-Up. I used the sleeve flounces in Patterns of Fashion for the shape, but as my silk was extremely thick and stiff (I think it may have been overstock rain coat fabric), I altered it so the lower two flounces were half flounces.
First, gather your first sleeve flounce and sew it to the back 2/3 or so of the sleeve. This is your longest sleeve flounce. Next, gather your second flounce and attach right over it. The second flounce should be shorter than the first.
Then gather the bottom of your third ruffle and fit it to the bottom of the sleeve. This one goes around the entire sleeve, forming a cuff. It's the shortest of the three ruffles so the others show. Then, gather near the top, and pull to fit. I would recommend finer gathers than I made here, but I was doing the best I could with the fabric I had. This yellow, while gorgeous, was extremely stiff and difficult to work with. See raincoat comment above!
Sew the flounce down, and add any trim! Baste your sleeve ruffles inside. My dress could've used slightly larger ones, and I probably will make larger ones if I get another opportunity to wear this dress.