Title:
ARTICLE OF HEADWEAR WITH INTEGRAL CLOTH PANEL CAPABLE OF ERASABLY RECEIVING MARKINGS THEREUPON AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An article of headwear comprises a plurality of panels joined together along one or more seam lines. At least one of the panels is a piece of cloth capable of erasably receiving markings thereupon or comprising the piece of cloth. The piece of cloth faces outwardly, is co-extensive in size with the at least one panel, and may have a stiffening substrate such as buckram attached to its interior face. The at least one panel may form part of a crown, peak or brim of the article. The at least one panel may be embroidered or have an eyelet defined therethrough.



Inventors:
Higgins, Alan Norman (Toronto, CA)
Application Number:
11/548435
Publication Date:
04/17/2008
Filing Date:
10/11/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANATTA, AMY B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Smart, And Biggar (438 UNIVERSITY AVENUE, SUITE 1500 BOX 111, TORONTO, ON, M5G2K8, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An article of headwear comprising: a plurality of panels joined together along one or more seam lines, at least one panel of said panels being a piece of cloth capable of erasably receiving markings thereupon or comprising said piece of cloth, with said piece of cloth being outwardly facing and co-extensive in size with said at least one panel.

2. The article of headwear of claim 1 wherein said at least one panel comprises a stiffening substrate attached to an interior face of said piece of cloth.

3. The article of headwear of claim 2 wherein said stiffening substrate is buckram.

4. The article of headwear of claim 1 wherein said at least one panel forms part of a crown of said article of headwear.

5. The article of headwear of claim 1 wherein said at least one panel forms a peak of said article of headwear.

6. The article of headwear of claim 1 wherein said at least one panel forms a brim of said article of headwear.

7. The article of headwear of claim 1 wherein said at least one panel has an eyelet defined therethrough.

8. The article of headwear of claim 1 wherein said at least one panel is embroidered.

9. A method of manufacturing an article of headwear, comprising: joining a plurality of panels together along one or more seam lines, at least one panel of said panels being a piece of cloth capable of erasably receiving markings thereupon or comprising said piece of cloth, with said piece of cloth being outwardly facing and co-extensive in size with said at least one panel.

10. The method of claim 9 further comprising attaching a stiffening substrate to said at least one cloth panel.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein said stiffening substrate is buckram.

12. The method of claim 9 wherein said at least one panel forms part of a crown of said article of headwear.

13. The method of claim 9 wherein said at least one panel forms a peak of said article of headwear.

14. The method of claim 9 wherein said at least one panel forms a brim of said article of headwear.

15. The method of claim 9 further comprising defining an eyelet through said at least one panel.

16. The method of claim 9 further comprising embroidering said at least one panel.

17. The method of claim 9 wherein said joining comprises sewing.

Description:

FIELD OF TECHNOLOGY

The present invention relates to headwear, and more particularly to an article of headwear with an integral cloth panel for erasably receiving markings thereupon and a method of manufacturing same.

BACKGROUND

It is known to attach to an exterior portion of a hat a writing surface that is capable of erasably receiving writing thereon. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,253,368 describes a cap having writing surface permanently or impermanently attached to the exterior of the crown. The writing surface is capable of erasably receiving writing, e.g. from a non-permanent erasable marker or pen, thereupon. The erasability of the writing permits the cap to be easily personalized by the wearer and changed as desired.

Manufacturing of the above-described cap may entail first constructing the cap (or at least the crown portion of the cap) and thereafter attaching a writing surface to its exterior. Depending upon the nature of the writing surface to be attached, the step of attaching the writing surface may require the use of equipment that is not conventionally used for making caps. This may be the case for example if the writing surface is a stiff board (e.g. a “whiteboard”) that is not readily attachable by equipment intended for handling cloth. In this case, manufacturing the cap may entail an added step such as adhering the writing surface to the exterior of the cap using a suitable adhesive. The added step and the possible need for additional equipment to perform the added step may disadvantageously increase manufacturing costs in comparison to the cost of manufacturing conventional caps. Moreover, caps or other headwear manufactured using this approach may be considered to be undesirably bulky due to the attached writing surface, which may add to the stiffness and weight of the cap.

A new form of headwear which obviates or mitigates at least some of the above-noted disadvantages, and a method for manufacturing same, would be desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An article of headwear comprises a plurality of panels joined together along one or more seam lines. At least one of the panels is a piece of cloth capable of erasably receiving markings thereupon or comprising the piece of cloth. The piece of cloth faces outwardly, is co-extensive in size with the at least one panel, and may have a stiffening substrate such as buckram attached to its interior face. The at least one panel may form part of a crown, peak or brim of the article. The at least one panel may be embroidered or have an eyelet defined therethrough.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention there is provided an article of headwear comprising: a plurality of panels joined together along one or more seam lines, at least one panel of said panels being a piece of cloth capable of erasably receiving markings thereupon or comprising said piece of cloth, with said piece of cloth being outwardly facing and co-extensive in size with said at least one panel.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of manufacturing an article of headwear, comprising: joining a plurality of panels together along one or more seam lines, at least one panel of said panels being a piece of cloth capable of erasably receiving markings thereupon or comprising said piece of cloth, with said piece of cloth being outwardly facing and co-extensive in size with said at least one panel.

Other aspects and features of the present invention will become apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the art upon review of the following description of specific embodiments of the invention in conjunction with the accompanying figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the figures which illustrate example embodiments of this invention:

FIG. 1 is left side perspective view of an article of headwear with an integral cloth panel for erasably receiving markings thereupon;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the article of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the article of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of the article of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is perspective view of another article of headwear with an integral cloth panel for erasably receiving markings thereupon; and

FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the article of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, an article of headwear exemplary of an embodiment of the present invention, namely a cap 10, is illustrated. The cap 10 has a dome-shaped crown 12 and a peak 14 extending from the crown.

The crown 12 of cap 10 is made from six substantially triangular cloth panels 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 (best seen FIG. 2) which are joined together along seam lines to define a cavity 32 for receiving a head of a wearer. Of the six panels, four panels 20, 22, 24 and 28 are made from a cloth such as cotton, polyester, or wool. The other two panels 28 and 30 are made from a cloth that is capable of erasably receiving markings thereupon. The cloth may for example be one of the flexible writing surfaces described in U.S. patent Publication No. 2003/0118972 published Jun. 26, 2003, which is hereby incorporated by reference hereinto. As of the filing date of the instant application, the cloth may be obtained from any one of a number of vendors. For example, Denver Fabrics in Colorado, U.S.A. (www.denverfabrics.com) presently sells cloth under the name “Erasable Chalkboard Cloth” which could be used. This cloth is made from black polyvinyl chloride (PVC) on a 75% polyester/25% cotton backing with a clear coating that enhances the capacity of the cloth to erasably receive chalk markings. Alternatively, the cloth could be black vinyl cloth sold under the name “Chalk Cloth” or “Chalkboard Fabric” by Vogue Fabrics of Illinois, U.S.A. (www.voguefabricsstore.com). The cloth from which panels 28 and 30 are made is referred to hereinafter generically as “erasable cloth”. This term is understood include any cloth that is suitable for erasably receive markings thereupon, regardless of exact composition and source and regardless of whether the markings is made by chalk or some other medium (e.g. a dry-erase marker). As will be appreciated, integration of these cloth panels into an article of headwear is a focus of the present description.

In the present embodiment, the interior face of the erasable cloth of each of panels 28 and 30 has an attached stiffening substrate 38 (see FIGS. 3 and 4). In the present embodiment, the stiffening substrate is buckram. The buckram 38 stiffens the panels 28 and 30 and thereby provides structure to the cap 10 so that the cap better retains its shape. The attachment of buckram is a known approach used for stiffening other types of cloth in the manufacture of caps or other structured headwear. Advantageously, the same approach can be use to stiffen cloth panels 28 and 30, despite the fact that this cloth is intended to serve as a marking surface. For example, the buckram 38 may be attached to the interior surface of the erasable cloth by machine pressing the two layer together, using a combination of heat and pressure to activate fusing of the layers. The panels 28 and 30 may thereafter be cut from the fused layers. The stiffening substrate 38 attached to each panel 28 and 30 is co-extensive in size with that panel.

Each of the panels 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 includes an eyelet 40. The central apertures of eyelets 40 serve as vents for venting excessive heat from the head of a wearer. Each eyelet is made using a known approach which involves the punching of a hole through the cloth (and, in the case of panels 28 and 30, through the buckram 38) and the stitching of a periphery of the hole to create the eyelet. The stitching prevents fraying of the edges of the punched cloth. Advantageously, this approach for creating eyelets can be used in panels 28 and 30 despite the fact they are intended to act as a marking surface because panels 28 and 30 are a type of cloth and are therefore capable of being punched and sewn like other forms of cloth. This is in contrast to other types of known writing surfaces (e.g. whiteboards) that are not easily punched or sewn due to their relative rigidity.

The panels 28 and 30 may also be embroidered with decorative patterns or text (not illustrated). Such decorative patterns or text could constitute permanent design elements to which a wearer may add erasable markings as desired. For example, the pattern may be an outline of a face whose expression can erasably be drawn in by the wearer to indicate the wearer's mood (e.g. by adding a smile or a frown).

Manufacturing of the cap 10 is performed in a manner that is similar to the manufacturing of conventional caps. Cloth panels 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 are placed adjacent to one another (not necessarily all at once), and the adjacent panel edges are joined together, by sewing, to create seam lines. To reinforce the seam lines, seam tapes 50, 52 and 54 (see FIG. 3) are sewn to the interior surface of adjacent panel edges. Each strip is sewn to the panels using a pair of substantially parallel lines of stitches 60a, 60b and 60c that flank the corresponding seam, which stitches are visible on the exterior surface of the crown 12 (see FIGS. 1 and 2). The color of the thread that is used for stitches 60a may be chosen to match the color of the panels 28 and 30 (e.g. black) so as to present a marking surface of uniform color. Advantageously, the fact that panels 28 and 30 are made from cloth permits conventional sewing equipment to be used to join the panels 28 and 30 to each other and to adjacent cloth panels 20 and 26. That is, the same technique can be used to join the panels regardless of whether the adjacent panels are made from conventional cloth, erasable cloth or one of each.

After the panels have all been joined together to form the article, a substantially head-shaped metal steamer may be used for final shaping and smoothing of the article.

The cap 10 is topped with a cloth-covered button 62, which is attached in a conventional manner at the point where the six panels 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 meet. The button 62 may be attached using a conventional method of attachment, since the above-noted six panels, including panels 28 and 30 which constitute the marking surface, are all made from cloth.

Panels 22 and 24 have a cutout portion 34 which accommodates a conventional plastic adjuster 36 (FIGS. 3 and 4) for adjusting the size of cap 10 to fit different head sizes. A sweatband 64 extending from one side of the adjuster 36 to the other side of adjuster 36 is sewn around the inner periphery of crown 12 (FIGS. 3 and 4). At the front of crown 12, the sweatband 64 is sewn directly to the inner surface of panels 28 and 30 (i.e. directly to the inwardly facing side of the marking surface). Conventional sewing equipment may be used to attach the sweatband 64.

Some embodiments of cap 10 may have an attached pocket, container or other carrying means (not illustrated) for carrying one or more writing implements for use in making markings on the exterior of panels 28 and 30. For example, a pocket for holding chalk could be sewn to an exterior of at least one of panels 20, 22, 24 or 26. The pocket may have an attached flap which permits the pocket to be selectively opened or closed, e.g. using a hook-and-loop fastener or snap.

In use, a wearer of cap 10 may make markings upon the exterior of panels 28 and 30, e.g. using chalk. The markings may for example constitute a personalized message (e.g. as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2) or an illustration. When it is desired to change the markings, the wearer may erase the markings using an appropriate eraser, such as a chalkboard eraser, dampened cloth, tissue or other substrate, and new markings may thereafter be applied to panels 28 and 30.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, an alternative embodiment of the present invention, namely a bucket hat 100, is illustrated. The hat 100 has an integral cloth panel 108 for erasably receiving markings thereupon. Panel 108 may be made from the same cloth as panels 28 and 30 of FIGS. 1 and 2 for example. Unlike panels 28 and 30 of FIGS. 1 and 2, however, panel 108 does not have an attached stiffening substrate (see FIG. 6). This is due to the fact that the bucket hat 10 is an unstructured hat which is intended to be soft and pliable. This illustrates the fact that attachment of a stiffening substrate to the interior surface of the erasable cloth panel(s) is not required in all embodiments. The panel 108 is sewn to cloth panels 102 and 104 to define a cavity 106 for receiving a head of a wearer. Panels 104 and 108 are also sewn to panel 110, which serves as a downwardly sloping brim 110. The panels 102, 104 and 110 of hat 100 may for example be canvas or denim.

Four eyelets 105 similar to eyelets 40 of FIGS. 1 and 2 are sewn into panel 104 for ventilation. One or more of the eyelets could be made in panel 108 if desired (not shown).

Manufacturing of the hat 100 is performed in a similar fashion to the manufacturing of conventional bucket hats. Cloth panels 102, 104 and 108 and brim 110 are placed adjacent to one another (not necessarily all at once), and the adjacent panel edges are sewn together (or otherwise joined) to create seam lines. To reinforce the seam lines, seam tapes 112, 114, 116 and 118 (see FIG. 6) are sewn to the interior surface of adjacent panel edges and to the brim 110. Each strip is sewn to the hat 100 with a pair of substantially parallel lines of stitches 120 that flank the corresponding seam. The stitches 120 are visible on the exterior of hat 100 (see FIG. 5). A design or text may optionally be embroidered into panel 108. Conventional sewing equipment may be used for manufacturing the hat 100.

In use, a wearer of hat 100 may make markings upon the exterior of panel 108, as shown in FIG. 5. In view of the pliability of panel 108, the wearer may prefer to place the hat 100 on a hard, flat surface to facilitate the marking of panel 108. When it is desired to change the markings, the markings may be erased in the manner described above for cap 10, and new markings may be made.

As should now be apparent, the integration of one or more erasable cloth panels into an article of headwear advantageously eliminates the need for separate equipment for the purpose of attaching a conventional marking surface, such as a whiteboard, to the headwear exterior. The marking surface is pliable and thus may more easily shaped than certain known writing surfaces (e.g. whiteboards). For example, a curvature which conforms to the head of a wearer may be defined. The amount of conventional cloth required to manufacture the article may be less than for known designs, because the erasable cloth may define a panel of the article rather than merely being sewn over top of panel of conventional cloth. The absence of a separate, attached marking surface may also reduce the weight and overall stiffness of the cap in comparison to known designs. Conveniently, folding of the marking surface portion of the cap, e.g. for storage, may be possible (although some creasing may result in the case where a stiffening substrate such as buckram has been applied to the erasable cloth).

As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, modifications to the above-described embodiments can be made without departing from the essence of the invention. For example, it will be appreciated the alternative embodiments may be articles of headwear that are neither caps nor bucket hats, but rather are other types of headwear, such as visors, knitted headwear, ivy caps, newsboy caps, or fedoras.

In the case where the erasable cloth has an attached stiffening substrate for providing structure to the article, the substrate is not necessarily buckram. Other stiffening substrates, such as interfacing, foam liner, or fusible-type reinforcements, may be used for stiffening the cloth.

Although the above embodiments illustrate the incorporation of one or two panels of erasable cloth into an article of headwear, it will be appreciated that the number of panels of erasable cloth could be more than two in some embodiments. The panels may be part of the crown of a hat, as in the illustrated embodiments, or may constitute other parts of the article, such as a peak or brim. The panels which are not intended for marking may made from cloth, as described above, or from any other material capable of being used for making headwear (e.g. plastic mesh or foam).

In both of the embodiments described above in conjunction with FIGS. 1-6, the panels comprising the article are joined by sewing. Of course, it is conceivable that other methods of joining panels, such as sonic welding, heat bonding or adhesion using heat-activated or pressure-activated adhesives, could be used to assemble alternative embodiments. The use of alternative joining methods may depend upon the nature of the panels being joined. For example, in the case of plastic mesh, which is capable of being melted, it is possible that two panels could be attached through the application of heat.

The color of the erasable cloth is not necessarily black in all embodiments. For example, if the erasable cloth is made from PVC, the PVC may be dyed to virtually any color.

It will also be appreciated that incorporation of eyelets into articles of headwear, whether in the erasable cloth portion or in the body portion of the article, is optional. If eyelets are incorporated, the eyelets are not necessarily sewn (e.g. they may be metal eyelets).

FIGS. 3-4 illustrate the incorporation of a plastic adjuster 36 into an exemplary article of headwear. It will be appreciated that the adjuster 36 is not necessarily present in all embodiments. Some embodiments may have a wholly closed back, providing an adjustable fit by way of a substantially elastic headband used in conjunction with stretchable substrates comprising the crown. If an adjuster is used, it may be one of, but is not necessarily limited to, a standard plastic fastener, hook-and-loop (e.g. Velcro®) adjuster, slider, metal clasp, buckle or other adjustment device used in the industry.

Other modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art and, therefore, the invention is defined in the claims.