As part of my personal challenge to only knit from yarn already in my stash this year I am working with a lot of handspun and want to squeeze every last yard out of my yarn. A great way to maximise your yarn usage is to work top down patterns.
For example, I worked this Still Light tunic from the top down:
The sleeves were divided off and left on holders after I finished the yoke, so that once I was happy with the length of the body I could go back and, dividing the remaining yarn in half, complete the sleeves for as long as the yarn lasted. The scraps I had left after completing the sleeves were used to deepen the pockets.
Alternatively, if sleeve length is important, then you can complete the sleeves to their desired length first and then work the body until you use up all of your yarn, as I attempted with this jumper (but still had yarn leftover without turning it into a dress):