Title:
CONTINUOUSLY KNIT TUBULAR HOSIERY GARMENT BLANK AND PANTYHOSE GARMENT FORMED THEREFROM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A circularly knit tubular hosiery blank and a garment formed therefrom, the blank having panty, thigh, knee, ankle and foot portions separated from each other by increasing and decreasing diameter graduation portions and a constant number of wales throughout. The blank is thereby configured to conform to the natural shape of a female leg with gradually increasing and decreasing diameters to avoid abrupt diameter changes and maintain the integrity of the blank fabric's appearance.



Inventors:
Myers, Jonathan (WINSTON-SALEM, NC, US)
Application Number:
09/195017
Publication Date:
08/16/2001
Filing Date:
11/18/1998
Assignee:
MYERS JONATHAN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
66/178R
International Classes:
A41B11/14; D04B1/24; (IPC1-7): A41B1/00; A41B11/00; A41B11/04; A43B17/00; D04B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WORRELL JR, LARRY D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHARLES Y LACKEY (KILPATRICK STOCKTON 1001 WEST FOURTH STREET, WINSTON SALEM, NC, 27101, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A continuously knit tubular hosiery blank for making a hosiery product to cover the female leg, the blank having a fixed unchanging number of wales, a plurality of courses, and a varying diameter comprising: panty, thigh, knee, ankle and foot portions selectively separated by increasing and decreasing diameter graduation portions to configure the blank to conform to the natural shape of a female leg.

2. The blank as claimed in claim 1 wherein the panty portion has an upper panty portion with a constant diameter, a panty graduation portion with an increasing diameter and a lower panty and upper boot portion with a constant diameter.

3. The blank as claimed in claim 1 wherein the thigh portion has a decreasing diameter.

4. The blank as claimed in claim 1 wherein the knee portion has a constant diameter, the blank including a lower leg graduation portion with a decreasing diameter.

5. The blank as claimed in claim 1 wherein the ankle portion has a constant diameter.

6. The blank as claimed in claim 1 wherein the foot portion has a constant diameter.

7. The blank as claimed in claim 1 having an instep graduation portion connecting the ankle and foot portions with the instep graduation portion diameter increasing from the ankle portion to the foot portion.

8. The blank as claimed in claim 2 wherein the thigh portion has a decreasing diameter.

9. The blank as claimed in claim 2 wherein the knee portion has a constant diameter, the blank including a lower leg graduation portion with a decreasing diameter.

10. The blank as claimed in claim 2 wherein the ankle portion has a constant diameter.

11. The blank as claimed in claim 2 wherein the foot portion has a constant diameter.

12. The blank as claimed in claim 2 having an instep graduation portion connecting the ankle and foot portions with the instep graduation portion diameter increasing from the ankle portion to the foot portion.

13. The blank as claimed in claim 3 wherein the knee portion has a constant diameter, the blank including a lower leg graduation portion with a declining diameter.

14. The blank as claimed in claim 3 wherein the ankle portion has a constant diameter.

15. The blank as claimed in claim 3 wherein the foot portion has a constant diameter.

16. The blank as claimed in claim 3 having an instep graduation portion connecting the ankle and foot portions with the diameter increasing from the ankle portion to the foot portion.

17. The blank as claimed in claim 3 wherein the knee portion has a constant diameter, the blank including a lower leg graduation portion with a decreasing diameter, the ankle portion has a constant diameter, the foot portion has a constant diameter, and the blank having an instep graduation portion connecting the ankle and foot portions with the instep graduation portion diameter increasing from the ankle portion to the foot portion.

18. A pantyhose garment formed by joining two blanks each of which like that claimed in claim 1.

19. A pantyhose garment formed by joining two blanks each of which as claimed in claim 17.

20. A pantyhose garment formed by joining two blanks each of which as claimed in claim 18.

Description:

[0001] This is a continuation-in-part application of pending application Ser. No. 08/909,245 filed Aug. 11, 1997.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The invention relates to a seamless knit hosiery blank and a garment formed thereby and more particularly to a contoured blank formed by a plurality of increasing and decreasing diameter portions configuring the blank so that it conforms to the natural shape of a female leg.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Pantyhose and hosiery manufacturers have long searched for a construction that would enable leg covering hosiery garments to more precisely conform to the shape of the wearer's leg, thus enhancing fit characteristics and garment appearance. Traditionally, some shaping has been possible on fixed needle circular knit hosiery machines through the use of graduated stitches whereby the top of the blank which conforms to the waist of the pantyhose formed from two such blanks starts at a given maximum diameter opening and then gradually is reduced in diameter as the garment is continuously knit toward the toe to thus more precisely fit the leg upper portion and the smaller leg lower portion to the foot. Graduated stitches are stitches that have been reduced in stitch length, thus removing yarn from each course that utilizes the smaller stitches. While this technique has been generally effective to provide a garment with good fit characteristics through the tapering process in conjunction with the use of stretch yarn, there is still a long felt need to develop a technique to fully configure such a garment to both decrease and selectively increase the blank and garment therefrom diameter where the leg follows such a general shape. It is to this need that the present invention is directed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention is for a circularly knit constant wale tubular hosiery blank having panty, thigh, knee, ankle and foot portions which are selectively separated by increasing and decreasing diameter graduation portions to configure the blank to conform to the natural shape of a female leg. The blank for a pantyhose garment utilizing two such blanks joined together is usually knit starting at the welt or waist portion and then extending downwardly through the upper panty portion, the lower panty portion, the thigh portion, the knee portion, the ankle portion and finishing at the foot portion with the diameter of the tubular blank generally decreasing by the use of graduated stitches throughout the length. In the present invention, the blank is started at an upper panty portion on all of the needles of the machine, thus having a fixed number of wales and a constant diameter and then extends to a panty graduation portion of increasing diameter, then to a lower panty/upper boot portion of constant diameter and thereafter to the thigh graduation portion having a decreasing diameter. Formation of the knee with a constant diameter follows with a lower leg graduation portion of decreasing diameter connecting the knee portion to an ankle portion of constant diameter. A final instep graduation portion of increasing diameter extends to a formed foot portion of constant diameter. Thus, the blank experiences selectively positioned areas of at least two graduation portions of increasing diameter and two graduation portions of decreasing diameter. The number of needles and resulting wales remains the same throughout the blank.

[0007] From this summary, it can be seen that a primary objective of the present invention is to provide a hosiery blank and garment made therefrom having superior fit and appearance characteristics brought about by the selective use of graduation stitches during the knitting process.

[0008] Another objective of the present invention is to provide a pantyhose garment utilizing two identically formed circularly knit tubular blanks which, when joined, form a panty portion and individual leg and foot portions. Additional fit characteristics can be provided by including a gusset of appropriate size along the juncture line formed when the tubular blanks are slit and sewn together along their slit edges.

[0009] Thus, there has been outlined in summary form, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are obviously additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways.

[0010] It is also to be understood that the phraseology and terminology herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting in any respect. Those skilled in the art will appreciate the concept upon which this disclosure is based and that it may readily be utilized as a basis for designing other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is also to be understood that the abstract is neither intended to define the invention of the application, which is measured by the claims, nor to limit its scope in any way.

[0011] This summary and these objectives of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects obtained by its use, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which like characters of reference designate like parts throughout the several views.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIG. 1 is a frontal view of the hosiery blank comprising the invention, illustrated in emphasized fashion the selective inclusion of a plurality of graduation portions of increasing and decreasing diameter separating the panty, boot, knee, ankle and foot portions; and

[0013] FIG. 2 is a frontal view of a pantyhose garment comprising the present invention formed by joining two hosiery blanks like that shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0014] Prior to describing the present invention in detail, reference is made to the blank shown in FIG. 1 and generally designated 10 and to the application of typical prior art practices. Blank 10 is intended to be one which is to be paired with another of similar construction, slit and seamed and formed into a pantyhose garment. According to conventional prior art practice, the blank will have a double welt tubular portion of say 144 courses which may be of stretch nylon or of stretch, elastic, non-spandex yarn. This is followed by a second tubular portion of the same diameter having somewhere between 700 to 800 courses in a typical case. The measured diameter when measured as a “stretched diameter” might, in a typical case be about 13 inches. While stitch type may vary, a plain jersey stitch is typically used. At the end of this tubular portion, the garment is narrowed in diameter by the utilization of graduated stitches so that the stitched length utilized in each course is reduced. The graduation stitches continue or selectively stop and recommence at locations down the leg until the smallest diameter area is reached at the ankle and foot portion. The same number of needle-formed wales are used throughout.

[0015] The present invention represents a dramatic departure from this conventional practice in that it results in a garment having superior fit and appearance characteristics over those produced by conventional practice. The blank comprising the invention is generally designated 16 and is formed by commencing with a double welt tubular portion 18 followed by an upper panty portion 20 having a constant diameter d, which is the same as the diameter of the double welt portion 18. Upper panty portion 20 is followed by panty graduation portion 22 of an increasing diameter d2 until the lower panty/upper boot portion 24 having a constant diameter d3 is commenced.

[0016] Upon completion of portion 24, a thigh graduation portion 26 is commenced and formed with a decreasing diameter d4, and thereafter knee portion 28 having a constant diameter d5 is formed and terminates with the commencement of a lower leg graduation portion 30 having a decreasing diameter d6. After portion 30 is completed, ankle portion 32 is formed with a constant diameter d7. Blank 16 is completed by the formation of an instep graduation portion 34 having an increasing diameter d8 and foot portion 36 with a constant diameter d9.

[0017] The selectively positioned increasing and decreasing diameter portions d2, d4, d6 and d8 are done gradually so that fabric flaws normally associated with abrupt graduation changes are avoided.

[0018] Also, forming a part of the present invention is a pantyhose garment shown generally as 38 formed by joining two blanks 16 like that previously described along edges 40 formed from slitting each blank in a longitudinal direction and joining the two blanks 16 along those cut edges. Additional and favorable fit characteristics are included in the garment by the provision of a gusset 42 of a preselected size.

[0019] The now joined blank 16 thereby forms panty garment 38 which has a continuous welt 44, a tubular upper panty portion 46 and a panty graduation portion 48 of increasing diameter fashioned to cover that portion of the wearer's body which extends from the waist outwardly to the widest portion of the hips. Since the torso is generally uniform from the hips through the lower panty/upper boot portion 24, the diameter through each remains constant. The balance of the garment in each leg is like that previously described for a single blank, decreasing in diameter through the thigh graduation portion 26, holding with a constant diameter through knee portion 28, decreasing again in diameter through lower leg graduation portion 30, and holding a constant diameter through ankle portion 32. Instep graduation portion 34 includes a decreasing diameter, and the garment terminates with a foot portion 36 of constant diameter.

[0020] In summary, the invention provides a new construction for forming a hosiery blank and pantyhose therefrom that includes contouring technology resulting in a configuration that contours to the shape of the body for a superior fit from the waist to the toe of the garment.

[0021] In the drawings and specification, there has been set forth the best mode presently contemplated for the practice of the present invention. Although specific terms are employed, they are used in the generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention being defined in the claims.