I agree on the shirring thing! Although, when I do it I usually use a much wider cut of fabric so there's more fullness. I use the entire 45" fabric width for all sizes from 18 mo - size 5 - it's just the length and armhole that changes. There for a while I had a pretty unique pattern since I liked having sleeves on my shirred outfits. Not sure how popular it is anymore, but there for a while it was the 'thing' for boutique eBay clothes.
Somewhere on this computer (although I can't seem to find where at the moment) I have some good shirring tips. If I find them I'll put them in the sewing thread.
Here are a couple I've done: