Title:
Sun Hat with rigid bill, continuous stitching pattern, tri-sectioned fit feature, and semi-rigid, continuous side protection
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention is directed toward a sun hat with a stiff bill and continuous, 360-degree coverage, where the bill and brim are made from the same material and contain the same multiple, parallel line stitching pattern. The stitching pattern combined with the relatively thick fabric gives the brim substantial rigidity without the need for an insert. The inside of the head band provides a uni-directionally or bi-directionally stretchable band divided into multiple horizontal sections, with each section attached to the other section(s) with reinforcing fibers such that the head band can expand to the circumferences of different head sizes, thereby giving each “size” of the hat a wider range of suitable head sizes than is found with traditional sun hats. The lack of a need for a means of size adjustment in the back of the hat allows for the brim to cover the entire neck and ear regions.



Inventors:
Cunliffe, Steve E. (US)
Application Number:
11/757894
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
06/04/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/195.1
International Classes:
A42B1/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eric, Hanscom (7395 PORTAGE WAY, CARLSBAD, CA, 92011, US)
Claims:
What I claim is:

1. A sun hat, comprising: a crown portion, where the crown portion comprises a front section and a rear section, where the front section is a piece of front section material with sufficient rigidity to maintain the front section in a substantially upright position, and where the rear section consists of one or more panels of rear section material, a bill portion, a brim portion, a head band portion, and a stretch band which comprises means of adjusting the sun hat to different head sizes, where the crown portion defines a head band line, where the bill portion and the brim portion are attached to the crown portion at the head band line through any known means of attachment found in baseball caps, visors, tennis hats and similar items of headgear, where the bill portion and the brim portion have the same width out from the head band portion, where the bill portion and the brim portion comprise two pieces of shade material, an upper piece and a lower piece, where the two pieces of shade material are substantially the same size and shape, where the bill portion additionally comprises a semi-rigid stiffening member located below the upper piece of shade material and above the lower piece of shade material, where the upper piece of shade material and the lower piece of shade material are attached to each other by a stitching pattern, where the stitching pattern comprises a plurality of lines of stitching, where the lines of stitching are substantially close to each other and where the lines of stitching are close enough to each other to impart to the upper piece of shade material and the lower piece of shade material adequate rigidity to allow the brim to stand out at approximately a 60 degree angle from the head of the wearer of the sun hat without the inclusion of any stiffening member in the brim portion of the sun hat, and where the stitching pattern is the same through the bill portion and the brim portion of the sun hat.

2. The sun hat of claim 1, where the shade material is 7 ounce cotton twill.

3. The sun hat of claim 1, where the upper piece of shade material and the lower piece of shade material are made from the same type of material.

4. The sun hat of claim 3, where the front section material and the rear section material are 7 ounce cotton twill.

5. The sun hat of claim 4, where the stitching pattern comprises at least four lines of stitching where each of the at least four lines of stitching is placed less than ⅓ inch away from at least one of the at least four lines of stitching.

6. The sun hat of claim 1, where the bill and brim of the hat form one continuous rim around the headband where the rim is not interrupted by any means of adjusting the size of the rim.

7. The sun hat of claim 1, where the stitching pattern comprises at least three lines of stitching where each of the at least three lines of stitching is placed less than ½ inch away from at least one of the at least three lines of stitching.

8. The sun hat of claim 1, where the stitching pattern comprises at least three lines of stitching where each of the at least three lines of stitching is placed less than ⅓ inch away from at least one of the at least three lines of stitching.

9. The sun hat of claim 1, where the stitching pattern comprises at least four lines of stitching where each of the at least four lines of stitching is placed less than ½ inch away from at least one of the at least four lines of stitching.

10. The sun hat of claim 1, where the stitching pattern comprises at least four lines of stitching where each of the at least four lines of stitching is placed less than ⅓ inch away from at least one of the at least four lines of stitching.

11. The sun hat of claim 1, where the stretch band comprises a strip of uni-directionally stretchy material.

12. The sun hat of claim 1, where the stretch band comprises a strip of bi-directionally stretchy material.

13. The sun hat of claim 1, where the stretch band comprises a strip of bi-directionally stretchy material.

14. The sun hat of claim 13, where the stretch band additionally comprises at least two strips of bi-directionally stretchy material, where the at least two strips are attached to each other by reinforcing fibers, and where the lowermost strip is longer in circumference than the uppermost strip.

15. The sun hat of claim 14, where the reinforcing fibers are bi-directionally stretchy.

16. The sun hat of claim 13, where the stretch band additionally comprises at least three strips of bi-directionally stretchy material, where the at least two strips are attached to each other by reinforcing fibers.

17. The sun hat of claim 13, where the stretch bank additionally comprises at least two strips of uni-directionally stretchy material, where the at least two strips are attached to each other by reinforcing fibers, and where the lowermost strip is longer in circumference than the uppermost strip.

18. The sun hat of claim 17, where the reinforcing fibers are bi-directionally stretchy.

19. The sun hat of claim 17, where the stretch band additionally comprises at least three strips of uni-directionally stretchy material, where the at least three strips are attached to each other by reinforcing fibers.

20. A sun hat, consisting of: a crown portion, a bill portion, a brim portion, a head band portion, and a stretch band which comprises means of adjusting the sun hat to different head sizes, where the crown portion defines a head band line, where the bill portion and the brim portion are attached to the crown portion at the head band line through any known means of attachment found in baseball caps, visors, tennis hats and similar items of headgear, where the bill portion and the brim portion have the same width out from the head band portion, where the bill portion and the brim portion comprise two pieces of shade material, an upper piece of shade material and a lower piece of shade material, where the two pieces of shade material are substantially the same size and shape, where the bill portion additionally comprises a semi-rigid stiffening member located below the upper piece of shade material and above the lower piece of shade material, where the upper piece of shade material and the lower piece of shade material are attached to each other by a stitching pattern, where the stitching pattern comprises a plurality of lines of stitching, where the lines of stitching are substantially close to each other and where the lines of stitching are close enough to each other to impart to the upper piece of shade material and the lower piece of shade material adequate rigidity to allow the brim to stand out at approximately a 60 degree angle from the head of the wearer of the sun hat without the inclusion of any stiffening member in the brim portion of the sun hat, and where the stitching pattern is the same through the bill portion and the brim portion of the sun hat.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS:

None.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

This invention was not federally sponsored.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention: This invention relates to the general field of headgear and more specifically, to a sun hat with a stiff bill and continuous, 360 degree coverage, where the bill and brim are made from the same material and contain the same multiple parallel line stitching pattern. The stitching pattern combined with the relatively thick fabric gives the brim substantial rigidity without the need for an insert. The inside of the head band provides a bi-directionally stretchable band divided into multiple horizontal sections, with each section attached to the other section(s) with reinforcing fibers such that the head band can expand to the circumferences of different head sizes, thereby giving each “size” of the hat a wider range of suitable head sizes than is found with traditional sun hats. The lack of a need for a means of size adjustment in the back of the hat allows for the brim to cover the entire neck and ear regions.

Baseball caps, visors and tennis hats are among the most popular methods of keeping the sun or rain out of a user's face. They are widely used by adults and children for all sorts of outdoor activities where it is desirable to shade a user's face from the sun and, in some cases, rain. A quick look at any beach, outdoor sporting event, outdoor mall, golf course or park will reveal a number of people using sun hats of various shapes and sizes. As concern over skin cancer and other damage from the sun grows, the popularity of sun hats has grown and will continue to grow in the future.

Baseball caps and visors are immensely popular, but neither provides 360 degree protection from the sun. The bill portion provides shade from the sun over the eyes, but the ears and neck are left relatively unprotected. Since most baseball caps and visors are adjusted in the back, there is no brim portion in the back; thus the neck is left completely exposed to the sun. There are visors and baseball caps which provide some sort of ear and neck protection, but these are usually lacking in a sophisticated appearance and thus have not proven popular.

Such hats and visors are also difficult to produce, and they involve attaching various pieces of fabric to the rim of the hat.

Tennis hats, or sailor's hats, are also popular, as they provide 360 degree protection from the sun. These hats, however, are lacking in adequate support on the sides such that they flop over the forehead, ears and neck of the user, producing an unstylistic appearance as well as not protecting the nose and face as well as the rigid bill of a baseball cap or visor does. These hats tend to appear wrinkled and disheveled after a few uses, prompting many users to iron or otherwise treat the hats between uses to maintain the appearance. As such, tennis pros and even nationally and internationally competitive sailors are rarely seen in a tennis or sailor's hat.

Thus there has existed a long-felt need for hat that provides superior 360 degree protection from the sun, has a means to adjust to different head sizes, and can maintain a stylistic and attractive appearance without the need to iron or otherwise treat the hat between uses.

The current invention provides just such a solution by providing a sun hat with a stiff bill to keep the sun of the user's eyes, and a semi-rigid brim extending 360 degrees around the ear and neck portions. The bill and brim of the hat are made from two layers of the same material, cut to the same length, with the same stitching pattern through both the reinforced bill and the non-reinforced sides and back. The stitching pattern comprises two or more parallel lines of stitching through the material, preferably 7 denier cotton twill, where the multiple lines of stitching are located proximately enough to each other such that the inability of the two layers of material to slide past one another creates a semi-rigid, semi-stiff brim which stands out away from the user's ears and neck. The fact that the sides and back of the hat do not “flop” down upon the user's ears and neck provides not only better sun protection, but also a more attractive appearance. The stitching pattern combined with the relatively thick fabric gives the brim substantial rigidity without the need for an insert.

The sun hat can be used on a wider range of head sizes that traditional “tennis hats”, as there is a head band inside of the hat which accommodates a relatively wide range of head sizes. Thus, a manufacturer of the hat need produce a lesser number of “sizes” to accommodate the same number of head sizes that would be accommodated by a larger number of traditional hats without adjustment means. The fact that one hat can fit a variety of head sizes also allows people to lend or switch hats without the need to adjust the size. The head band is a bi-directionally stretchable band divided into multiple horizontal sections, with each section attached to the other section(s) with reinforcing fibers such that the head band can expand “vertically” to the circumferences of different head sizes, thereby giving each “size” of the hat a wider range of suitable head sizes than is found with traditional sun hats. The head band is also conically tapered at its upper end, such that the lower end can fit over a larger head and the upper end can rest snugly on a smaller head. The lack of a need for a means of size adjustment in the back of the hat allows for the brim to cover the entire neck and ear regions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a principal object of the invention to provide a sun hat which provides 360 degree protection from the sun.

It is another object of the invention to provide a stitching pattern which, when applied to a suitable material, creates a semi-stiff brim without the need for reinforcing inserts.

It is an additional object of the invention to allow for the use of two pieces of material of the same width to be sewn together to create an effective sun hat without the need for attachment of ear flaps, neck protection, or other pieces of material.

It is a further object of the invention that the combination of a rigid insert in the bill and the semi-rigid brim created by the stitching pattern creates a sun hat which stands out from the user's face, ears, and neck such that it not only provides superior protection from the sun but also is attractive.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a bi-directionally stretchable head band which is horizontally divided into two or more sections, where each horizontal section is attached to the other section(s) by reinforcing fibers, such that the head band stretches not only horizontally to accommodate slightly different head sizes, but also vertically such that at least one of the horizontal bands rests comfortably upon the crown of the head of a variety of head sizes.

It is a final object of this invention that the simplicity of material cuts, continuous width of material and stitching pattern, use of a single type of material for both the bill and brim, and reliance only upon a rigid insert in the bill portion of the hat provides an inexpensive and yet superior sun hat.

It should be understood the while the preferred embodiments of the invention are described in some detail herein, the present disclosure is made by way of example only and that variations and changes thereto are possible without departing from the subject matter coming within the scope of the following claims, and a reasonable equivalency thereof, which claims 1 regard as my invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a cutaway view of the head band, showing the tapered head band divided, in this iteration, into three distinct horizontal sections.

FIGS. 5A and 5B are close-up views of the head band being stretched, showing both the unidirectionally stretchable version and the bi-directionally stretchable version, and also illustrating the use of connecting fibers to hold the horizontal bands together.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention. FIG. 2 is a front view of the invention. FIG. 3 is a top view of the invention. FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 show the exterior characteristics of the invention. The sun hat, generally referred to by reference number 1, has a stiff bill 2 to keep the sun of the user's eyes, and a semi-rigid brim 3 extending 360 degrees around the ear and neck portions. The sun hat has a crown portion with a front section 5 and a rear section 6, where the front section is a piece of material with sufficient rigidity to maintain the front section in a substantially upright position, and where the rear section consists of one or more panels of mesh cloth. Optionally, rear section 6 can be made from the same non-mesh material as front section 5, and, again optionally, front section 5 can be made from the same mesh material as rear section 6.

The bill and brim of the hat are made from two layers of the same material, cut to the same length, with the same stitching pattern 4 through both the reinforced bill and the non-reinforced sides and back of the brim 3. The stitching pattern 4 comprises two or more parallel lines of stitching through the material, preferably 7 denier nylon twill, where the multiple lines of stitching are located proximately enough to each other such that the inability of the two layers of material to slide past one another creates a semi-rigid, semi-stiff brim which stands out away from the user's ears and neck. The fact that the sides and back of the hat do not “flop” down upon the user's ears and neck provides not only better sun protection, but also a more attractive appearance. The stitching pattern combined with the relatively thick fabric gives the brim substantial rigidity without the need for an insert.

FIG. 4 is a cut-away view of the head band and the internal construction of the brim. The brim is comprised of two pieces of material which have a similar shape and width extending out from a person's head. There is an upper piece 41 and a lower piece 42 which are attached to each other by a stitching pattern 4, here consisting of 4 lines of stitching. Because the upper piece 41 and the lower piece 42 are made from relatively thick material, a preferred embodiment of the invention uses 7 denier cotton twill, the lines of stitching hold the upper piece and the lower piece closely together in a number of places and thereby creates adequate rigidity in the brim 3 such that the brim stands out from the head in a relatively horizontal direction indicated by reference number 43, rather than flopping down along the side of the head as does a traditional tennis hate, as indicated by reference number 44.

The head band in this figure is comprised of three strips of stretchy material, with a lower band 45 having a larger circumference than the upper band 47. The middle band 46 holds the lower band 45 and the upper band 47 together through a series of reinforcing fibers embedded between the strips. Because the upper band 47 has a smaller circumference than the lower band 45, and because each band can stretch vertically and/or horizontally due to the reinforcing fibers, the sun hat fits a wider range of head sizes due to the increased number of adjustment mechanisms. Because all the adjustment mechanisms are internal and within the head band, there is no need for the traditional means of adjusting baseball caps, which then prevents a brim from extending 360 degrees to cover the ears and neck of the user.

The sun hat can be used on a wider range of head sizes that traditional “tennis hats”, as there is a head band inside of the hat which accommodates a relatively wide range of head sizes. Thus, a manufacturer of the hat need produce a lesser number of “sizes” to accommodate the same number of head sizes that would be accommodated by a larger number of traditional hats without adjustment means. The fact that one hat can fit a variety of head sizes also allows people to lend or switch hats without the need to adjust the size. The head band is a bi-directionally stretchable band divided into multiple horizontal sections, with each section attached to the other section(s) with reinforcing fibers such that the head band can expand “vertically” to the circumferences of different head sizes, thereby giving each “size” of the hat a wider range of suitable head sizes than is found with traditional sun hats. The head band is also conically tapered at its upper end, such that the lower end can fit over a larger head and the upper end can rest snugly on a smaller head. The lack of a need for a means of size adjustment in the back of the hat allows for the brim to cover the entire neck and ear regions.

FIGS. 5A and 5B are close-up views of the head band being stretched, showing both the unidirectionally stretchable version and the bi-directionally stretchable version, and also illustrating the use of connecting fibers to hold the horizontal bands together.

In FIG. 5A, the head band is comprised of two strips of unidirectionally stretchy material (31 and 32), here with a vertical stretchability. It should be noted the unidirectionally stretchy material which is horizontally stretchable is also contemplated, and the inclusion of more than two strips is also considered. As the two strips 31 and 32 are stretched, their initial width A is elongated to B in the area in which they are being stretched, in a direction indicated by 33. The strips are connected to each other with reinforcing fibers 34 which can be of a variety of shapes, but here are shown as cross-linked, bidirectionally stretchable fibers. The fibers are comprised of stretchable nylon or any other known and suitable type of material which can be embedded into the strips and flexibly link them.

In FIG. 5B, the head band is comprised of two strips of bi-directionally stretchable material (35 and 36). When the strips are pulled apart in a direction indicated by 37, the stretch of both the strips and the reinforcing fibers 38 is bi-directional. In the strips, there is a horizontal stretch component E and a vertical stretch component D which combine to produce a stretch direction C which is in the direction of the pull 37. The reinforcing fibers 38 also show a horizontal stretch F and a vertical stretch G such that the head band has additional capacity to conform to a person's head over the unidrectionally stretchy version show in 5A.