While at my parents for Father's Day (mid June), my mom found this fabric. It was a pre-shirred piece, sold by Simpsons-Sears, is 50% cotton/50% polyester, and probably from the mid-70's. I had a very similar (commercially made) shirred dress, in the same shade of green, but plaid. I wore it when I was about 5, it's a little too short for Meg to wear as a dress by today's standards (ever look at old patterns and wonder about just how short those little girl dresses were?!). There's no way Lucy would wear green flowers, so I had to make Meg a new dress.
The fabric is about 52-56" wide along the unshirred edge. The package said you could make a dress for up to a 36" chest. Indeed, I tried to stretch it to fit me, and it wouldn't. I think that the more shirring there is, and the closer together it is, the less it will expand back out. Also, commercially shirred fabric uses a different stitch than a home sewing machine, so maybe this affects it too.
I cut off some from the bottom for straps and to shorten (I cut maybe 6-8") and blindhemmed it flat. Then I went to sew the side seams (Meg has a 28" chest, so I didn't take anything off the width). I lined up the shirred section and pinned the smooth skirt. And one side was longer than the other!
I ripped back a few inches of the hem on either side, and lengthened one while shortening the other so that they'd meet at the edge. Annoying.
This is Meg and my cousin's daughter, who is almost 3. She's adorable!
I'm glad I got the chance to sew this up for Meg, it was pretty quick and easy and looks commercially made (I guess cause most of it is). Stay tuned for more shirring escapades that weren't quite so quick and easy!