Title:
Adaptive clothing and fabrication thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adaptive garment (10) having two or more joining portions (14,16) which are releasably attached together by at least one easily detachable fastener (24), which is not visible to an observer when fastened. At least one false fastener assembly (22) is included, which gives the appearance of a standard fastener.

Another embodiment of an adaptive garment is pants (78) having legs (80), knee portions (82), calf portions (85) and cuffs (96), which include at least one easily accessible pocket (84), which allow easy access to contents.

Both embodiments may have optional weights to improve the drape of the material, and recloseable seam openings for easier access.




Inventors:
Newman, John (San Jose, CA, US)
Springer, Margaret (Los Gatos, CA, US)
Puma, Debra Dee (Los Gatos, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/856139
Publication Date:
11/04/2004
Filing Date:
05/28/2004
Assignee:
NEWMAN JOHN
SPRINGER MARGARET
PUMA DEBRA DEE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/12; (IPC1-7): A41D1/00; A41B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
George, Steres M. (20200 PIERCE RD, SARATOGA, CA, 95070, US)
Claims:
1. 1-39. (canceled).

40. A method of constructing an adaptive garment 10, having an outer front panel 50, an inner front panel, at least one easily detachable fastener having a inner portion 30 and a outer portion 26 and at least one false fastener assembly having a false button 18 and a false button hole 20 , the steps comprising: (A) attaching first interfacing 42 to said outer panel 14 adjacent to a free edge 51 of said outer panel 14, said first interfacing disposed on either side of a fold line 48, said fold line 48 spaced away from and extending parallel to said free edge; (B) attaching said outer portion 26 of said easily detachable fastener to a distal portion of said outer panel 14 of said adaptive garment between said free edge 51 and said fold line 48; (C) constructing said false button hole 20 over a proximal portion of said first interfacing 42 spaced distal from said free edge 51 and said fold line 48, said button hole positioned to overlay said fastener outer portion 26 when said distal panel portion is folded under said proximal panel portion along said fold line 48; (D) attaching said false button 18 of said false fastener assembly to said distal portion of said outer panel 14 of said adaptive garment, said false button 18 positioned to overlay said outer fastener portion 26; (E) attaching said inner portion 30 of said easily detachable fastener to said inner panel 16 of said adaptive garment. (F) Folding said outer panel along said fold line 48 so that said proximal panel portion and said distal panel portion overlay each other with said button hole 20 overlaying said fastener outer portion 26 and with said interface 42 disposed between; (G) Stitching through said overlaying folded outer panel portions to secure them together.

41. The method of claim 40, wherein: said outer portion of said easily detachable fastener is a first member of a hook and loop fastener assembly, said first member consisting of a hook portion and a loop portion and said inner portion of said easily detachable fastener is the opposite member of said hook and loop fastener assembly.

42. The method of claim 40, wherein: step (D) includes attaching a second interfacing 46 to said inner panel portion before attaching said inner portion of said easily detachable fastener.

43. The method of claim 42, wherein: said first interfacing 42 is attached to the underside of said outer panel portion before folding said outer panel along said fold line; and said second interfacing 46 is attached to the underside of said inner panel portion.

44. The method of claim 43, wherein: said false buttonholes are formed in a top layer portion of said outer panel, which is folded at a fold line 48 to position said top layer portion on top of a lower layer portion which includes said two layers of said first interfacing 42.

45. The method of claim 43, wherein: said first interfacing is attached to the underside of said outer panel portion; said false buttonholes are formed in a portion of said outer panel portion that includes said first interfacing; and step (B) includes folding said interfacing along a fold line so that a top layer including said false button holes covers a lower layer including said inner portion of said easily detachable fastener.

46. An adaptive garment 10, having an outer front panel 14, an inner front panel 16, at least one easily detachable fastener having a inner portion 30 and a outer portion 26 and at least one false fastener assembly having a false button 18 and a false button hole 20, the garment further comprising: A. A first interfacing 42 attached to said outer panel 14 adjacent to a free edge 51 of said outer panel 14, said first interfacing disposed with a proximal portion disposed on a proximal side of a fold line 48 and a distal portion disposed a the distal side of fold line 48, in which said fold line is 48 spaced away from and extending parallel to said free edge; B. In which said outer portion 26 of said easily detachable fastener attached to a distal portion of said outer panel 14 of said adaptive garment between said free edge 51 and said fold line 48; C. In which said false button hole 20 is constructed over said proximal portion of said first interfacing 42 spaced distal from said free edge 51 and said fold line 48, said button hole positioned to overlay said fastener outer portion 26 when said distal panel portion is folded under said proximal panel portion along said fold line 48; D. wherein said false button 18 of said false fastener assembly is attached to said distal portion of said outer panel 14 of said adaptive garment, said false button 18 being positioned to overlay said outer fastener portion 26; E. wherein said inner portion 30 of said easily detachable fastener is attached to said inner panel 16 of said adaptive garment. F. And further wherein said outer panel is folded along said fold line 48 so that said proximal panel portion and said distal panel portion overlay each other with said button hole 20 overlaying said fastener outer portion 26 and with said interface 42 disposed between; G. In which said overlaying folded outer panel portions are secured together by a line of stitching.

47. The garment of claim 46, wherein: said outer portion of said easily detachable fastener is a first member of a hook and loop fastener assembly, said first member consisting of a hook portion and a loop portion and said inner portion of said easily detachable fastener is the opposite member of said hook and loop fastener assembly.

48. The garment of claim 46, wherein: a second interfacing 46 is attached to said inner panel portion and said inner portion of said easily detachable fastener is attached to both said inner panel portion and said second interfacing 46.

49. The garment of claim 48, in which said proximal portion of said first interfacing 42 is attached to the underside of said proximal portion of said outer panel portion; and said distal portion of said first interfacing 42 is attached to the underside of said distal portion of said outer panel portion; and said second interfacing 46 is attached to the underside of inner panel portion.

50. The garment of claim 49, wherein: said false buttonholes are formed in a top layer portion of said outer panel, which is folded at a fold line 48 to position said top layer portion on top of a lower layer portion which includes said two layers of said first interfacing 42.

51. The garment of claim 49, wherein: said first interfacing is attached to the underside of said outer panel portion; said false buttonholes are formed in a portion of said outer panel portion that includes said first interfacing; and said outer panel is folded along said fold 48 line so that a top layer including said false button holes covers a lower layer including said inner portion of said easily detachable fastener.

Description:

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/159,336, filed Oct. 13, 1999.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates generally to adaptive clothing used by persons with disabilities and more particularly to clothing which allows persons with disabilities to dress themselves more easily while still maintaining style, comfort, and the look and feel of normal, quality clothes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Many people have physical problems dressing in normal buttoned clothing due to limited motion, missing limbs, etc. One solution is clothing which employs Velcro® closures as found in other patents (U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,033,124, 4,803,740, 4,145,763, 4,104,742), however, these examples are not designed to appear as normal clothing in use in everyday wear. There is also clothing with Velcro® closures which appears as institution and hospital clothes. Again the resulting clothes do not appear “normal” to the eye or “off the rack”.

[0004] Thus there is a need for adaptive clothing which has the appearance of off the rack clothing, but which utilizes closures which are easier to manipulate than button and hole fasteners.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

[0005] This invention presents an alternative to the above solutions by making available the concept of a closure which appears to be a normal button but employs Velcro® for the actual closure.

[0006] Also included are special design techniques to aid people in dressing and more comfortably wearing the clothing. Improved concepts in pockets for the wheelchair bound and for those living an active lifestyle where alternative pockets are desired are presented.

[0007] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide clothing which utilizes closures which are easier to manipulate than button and hole fasteners.

[0008] Another object of the invention is to provide clothing, which although it uses such fasteners, retains the look of button and hole fasteners.

[0009] And another object of the invention is to provide clothing which has pockets which are more easily accessible to people confined to wheelchairs.

[0010] A further object of the invention is to provide clothing which is fitted with weights to provide proper drape to the material.

[0011] An additional object of the invention is to provide clothing with recloseable seams which provide easier access for disabled persons.

[0012] Briefly, one preferred embodiment of the present invention is an adaptive garment having two or more joining portions which are releasably attached together by at least one easily detachable fastener, which is not visible to an observer when fastened. At least one false fastener assembly is included, which gives the appearance of a standard fastener.

[0013] A second embodiment of an adaptive garment is pants having legs, knee portions, calf portions and cuffs, which include at least one easily accessible pocket at knees calves or cuffs, which allow easy access to contents.

[0014] An advantage of the present invention is that the closures have the appearance of traditional button-and-hole fasteners although they actually employ Velcro® fasteners which are much easier to manipulate.

[0015] Another advantage of the invention is that pockets may be provided at the knee and calf for the wheelchair bound.

[0016] And another advantage of the invention is that weights may be provided at skirt and dress hems, and pants cuffs to make the material “hang” better.

[0017] A further advantage of the invention is that the weights may mask the physical problem, and minimize interference to movement of artificial limbs.

[0018] These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become clear to those skilled in the art in view of the description of the best presently known mode of carrying out the invention and the industrial applicability of the preferred embodiment as described herein and as illustrated in the several figures of the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] The purposes and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description in conjunction with the appended drawings in which:

[0020] FIG. 1 illustrates a front plan view of an adaptive garment, as worn by a user;

[0021] FIG. 2 shows a detail view of the fastener assembly included in the detail circle A of FIG. 1;

[0022] FIG. 3 illustrates the inner and outer front panels of an adaptive garment in the first step of assembly of a first preferred embodiment;

[0023] FIG. 4 shows the inner and outer front panels of an adaptive garment in the second step of assembly of a first preferred embodiment;

[0024] FIG. 5 illustrates the inner and outer front panels of an adaptive garment in the third step of assembly of a first preferred embodiment;

[0025] FIG. 6 shows the inner and outer front panels of an adaptive garment in the final step of assembly of a first preferred embodiment;

[0026] FIG. 7 illustrates the outer front panel of an adaptive garment in the first step of assembly of a second preferred embodiment;

[0027] FIG. 8 shows the outer front panel of an adaptive garment in the second step of assembly of a second preferred embodiment;

[0028] FIG. 9 illustrates the inner and outer front panels of an adaptive garment in the third step of assembly of a second preferred embodiment;

[0029] FIG. 10 shows the inner and outer front panels of an adaptive garment in the fourth step of assembly of a second preferred embodiment;

[0030] FIG. 11 illustrates the inner front panels of an adaptive garment in the final step of assembly of a second preferred embodiment;

[0031] FIG. 12 shows a cut-away view of pant leg showing a slash-leg pocket of an adaptive garment; and

[0032] FIG. 13 illustrates a cut-away view of pant leg showing a slash-leg pocket of an adaptive garment.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0033] A preferred embodiment of the present invention is an adaptive garment which has been provided with fasteners which have the appearance of standard buttons and button-holes, but which are actually some form of fasteners which requires less complex manipulation than standard buttons. One example of such fasteners is Velcro®, although there may be other types of fasteners used as well. As illustrated in the various drawings herein, and particularly in the view of FIG. 1, a form of this preferred embodiment of the inventive device is depicted by the general reference character 10.

[0034] This invention 10 involves a line of adaptive clothing which is specifically designed to aid persons with disabilities to dress themselves more easily while still maintaining style, comfort, and the look and feel of normal, quality clothes. The adaptive attribute of the clothing design is also of a nature to be preferred by many people without physical problems in dressing. It includes improved clothing fasteners, pockets, addition of weights, and modified openings and involves methods of constructing clothing which is easy to put on while still appearing similar to clothing as presently worn in society (“off the rack”).

[0035] FIG. 1 shows an adaptive garment 10, in this case a short sleeve blouse, (although it should be understood that other garment items such as long sleeve shirts and blouses, as well as dresses and pants, and jackets can all be used as variations, and are usable for both men's and women's clothing. The adaptive garment 10 has at least two joining portions 8 which can be the front closure of a shirt, blouse or coat, portions of a sleeve, trousers or shoes, or any other portion of a garment which separates to allow entrance to the garment, and which is then desired to be closed around some portion of a wearer's body. These joining portions 8 include a number of disguised fasteners 12 which fasten the outer front panel 14, in this case the right hand side, in relation to the wearer, to the inner front panel 16, in this case the left hand side, thus being designed according to the convention of women's apparel.

[0036] Also seen in FIG. 1, are the edge of the right panel 38 and the edge of the left panel 40, as well as an optional button band 36, which will be discussed below.

[0037] There may also be recloseable seams 41 which allow easy entry to the garment 10, and these recloseable seams may also be fitted with easily detachable fasteners 24, which may or may not have false fastener assemblies 22 associated with them. These recloseable seams 41 may be positioned at either or both shoulders, or on either or both sides, including a portion of the sleeve, as shown.

[0038] FIG. 2 shows a detail view of the disguised fastener 12, which is shown in detail circle A of FIG. 1. The outer front panel 14 is shown to have a false button 18 and false button hole 20, to make a false fastener assembly 22. An easily detachable fastener 24, in this case Velcro®, is shown partly in dashed lines where the soft portion, called the loop portion 26 of the fastener 24 has been sewn or otherwise attached to the underside 28 of the outer front panel 14. The hook portion 30 of the fastener 24 has been sewn or otherwise attached to the inner front panel 16. It will be obvious that the position of the loop and hook portions could be reversed, and that the portions do not need to have the relative sizes shown with respect to the buttons, or the shapes shown. The portion of the fastener 24 attached to the outer front panel 14 will be additionally referred to as the outer fastener portion 32, which could therefore be either the loop 26 or the hook portion 30. Likewise, the portion of the fastener 24 attached to the inner front panel 16 will be termed the inner fastener portion 34.

[0039] The method of constructing the adaptive garment 10 is critical to the successful achievement of a properly operational no-button closure. In normal clothing construction, the button-hole and the button are the last step. In the case of the no-button closure, the opposite is true. Sewing through the Velcro® significantly decreases its effectiveness and normal construction procedures result in closures which are almost useless.

[0040] A simplified description of actual construction procedure is as follows:

[0041] 1) Construct the stitched portion of the button hole.

[0042] 2) Sew on the Velcro® (first half).

[0043] 3) Sew on the button.

[0044] 4) On the mating piece of the garment, sew on the mating piece of the Velcro®.

[0045] The method of construction of a first preferred embodiment, which includes a button band 36, (see FIG. 1) is shown in FIGS. 3-6. A button band is found on most shirts (men and women). The method shown here is performed on a shirt having the false buttons 18 on the left side, and thus follows the convention of button placement used in men's clothing. The sides containing the panel will be termed the “right side 50” and “left side 52”, again as seen from the perspective of the wearer, and thus opposite to that of the viewer. The outer front panel 14 is thus on the left side from the wearer's perspective, and the inner front panel 16 on the right. It will be noted that the false button holes 20 presented here extend vertically, rather than horizontally, as in FIG. 1, but the same principles apply.

[0046] The term “interfacing” used below refers to material that is added to provide added body, stiffness or structural support to a garment.

[0047] FIG. 3 shows the garment material 44 is prepared by attaching a first piece of interfacing 42 to the underside (as indicated by the dashed lines in the interfacing crosshatching) of the inner front panel 16 on the right side 50. A second piece of interfacing 46 is attached to the front side of the outer front panel 14 on the left side 52. The right side fabric will be folded along a fold line 48 to lead to the view in the next figure.

[0048] In FIG. 4, the right panel edge 38 of the garment 44 has been folded under along fold line 48 in FIG. 3, and stitched on both edges of the first piece of interfacing 42 to form the right button band 54. On the left side 52 of the garment, the false buttonholes 20 are sewn from the back side of the material 44 on the inner front panel 14.

[0049] In FIG. 5, the hook portion 30 of the Velcro® is installed on the inner front panel 16 on the right side 50 of the garment 10. The loop portion 26 of the Velcro® is sewn to the underside of the outer panel 14 on the left side 52 of the garment 10 as shown in the drawing. The area surrounding the false buttonholes 20 will be termed the top layer 58, and the adjacent lower layer 60 region is separated from this by a fold line 48. The material is then folded along this fold line 48 so that the top layer 58 rests on the lower layer 60.

[0050] In FIG. 6, the right side 50 of the garment 10 is finish sewn on both edges of the right button band 54 with stitches 62. The left side 52 of the garment 10 has been folded along the fold line 48, seen in FIG. 5, and sewn along both edges to complete the left button band 56. The false buttons 18 are then added at the top edge of the false button holes 20 and sewn clear through to catch the top edge of the Velcro® loop portion 26.

[0051] The above procedure describes the manufacture of a shirt with button holes on the left side of the garment. A mirror image procedure is used to manufacture a shirt with button holes on the right side of the garment.

[0052] A method of construction of a second preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 7-11. This is referred to as the “Classic Style 70”. In this example, the false fasteners are applied to the right side, so that the outer front panel is on the right side, in the style of women's shirts. Once again all right and left directions are in reference to the wearer, and opposite to that of the viewer.

[0053] FIG. 7 shows interfacing material 42 which is attached to the back side of the material 44 on the right side 50 of the garment 10. For ease of viewing the dashed cross-hatch lines which indicate the hidden interfacing material have not been included here. The interfacing is held in place by stitching 62.

[0054] In FIG. 8, the Velcro® loop portions 26 are mounted and the false button holes 20 are formed on the right side 50 of the garment 10.

[0055] In FIG. 9, a second piece of interfacing 46 is attached to the back side of the left side 52 of the garment 10. The material has preferably been previously folded under to form a folded under layer 64, and stitched along lines 62. The hook portions 30 of the Velcro® are sewn to the front of the left side 52 of the garment 10 as shown. The sewing passes clear through the edge of the Velcro® pieces, the interfacing 46 and the folded under material 64. The false button holes 20 and the Velcro® loop portions 26 are attached to the front side of the right side 50. The right side 50 is folded along fold line 48 so that top layer 58 is above lower layer 60.

[0056] FIG. 10 shows the material after folding on line 48 on the right side of the garment in the previous figure. A line of stitching 62 is used to secure the fold. False buttons 18 are sewn to the false button holes 20 to complete the outer fastener portions 32. The false buttons 18 are preferably sewn on clear through the Velcro® loop portions 26 to stabilize the position of the button 18 with respect to the Velcro® 26.

[0057] FIG. 11 shows the final step of stitching the left side to the shoulder (not shown) and the hem (not shown) to keep them from pulling.

[0058] The above procedure describes the manufacture of a garment with button holes on the right side of the garment. A mirror image procedure is used to manufacture a garment with button holes on the left side of the garment.

[0059] The adaptive garments 10 of the present invention may also include pants as well as shirts, and in addition to the disguised fasteners, they may also have specialized pockets which are specially designed to allow easy access by users with limited mobility, and who may difficulty in accessing pockets which are attached in the standard position near the user's waistline. FIGS. 12 and 13 show cut-away views of portions of pants 78 having legs 80 a knee portion 82 and a calf portion 85 to which leg/knee pockets 84 having pocket openings 86 have been attached.

[0060] Leg/knee pockets 84 are designed so that they retain their position in the leg of the pants 80 by a lining 88 which is sewn into the hem 90 of the pants 80 for stability. In addition, the bottom 92 of the pocket 84 is preferably designed square to help retain pocket contents during high activity, but may be of other shapes as well. The pockets 84 in the figures are shown to be attached to the sides of the legs 80, but it will be understood that the pockets may also be attached to the fronts or backs of the legs to accommodate the range of motion of the user.

[0061] Additionally, optional weights 94 may be provided at pants cuffs 96 as shown, and at skirt and dress hems, to make the material “hang” better, mask the physical problem, and minimize interference to movement of artificial limbs. These are useable either with or without pockets and disguised fasteners discussed above, and the weights may be either tacked in place or allowed to fall anywhere within a sewn enclosure.

[0062] Generally, pockets in pants may be available at the knee, and calf for wheelchair bound users. Pockets may be available as patch pockets or as slash pockets in the seam. Shirts and blouses may be provided with 2 pockets where desired.

[0063] It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that many additional variations and modifications may also be included. To aid in dressing, recloseable seams 41 (see (FIG. 1) may be available, i.e. on polo shirts, other sport clothes, and long sleeve dress shirts, as discussed above. It is anticipated that recloseable seams will benefit most persons who cannot move arms far enough for normal dressing. These recloseable seams may also use false fastener assemblies as described above, especially when used on the shoulder seams, but may also use hidden easily detachable fasteners to maintain the “normal” look of the clothing.

[0064] While various embodiments have been described above, it should be understood that they have been presented by way of example only, and not limitation. Thus, the breadth and scope of a preferred embodiment should not be limited by any of the above described exemplary embodiments, but should be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their equivalents.