Title:
BIB WITH CUSTOMIZED DECORATIONS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bib preferably for young children to be worn around the neck and to protect the chest from soiling usually by spilled food during feeding features a transparent window in the chest protecting area of a front facing panel. A back panel forms gap behind the front panel creating a pocket into which can be placed a detached sheet bearing a decorative graphic design. The design is positioned such that it can be seen by a viewer looking through the window when the sheet is inserted in the pocket. The back side of the bib can also be formed by a lower, middle panel partially overlapping the upper back panel.



Inventors:
Ross, Melanie Ann (Washington, DC, US)
Beebe, Joel (Columbus, OH, US)
Carlson, Kathryn (Columbus, OH, US)
Application Number:
13/645022
Publication Date:
04/10/2014
Filing Date:
10/04/2012
Assignee:
ROSS MELANIE ANN
BEEBE JOEL
CARLSON KATHRYN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/49.1
International Classes:
A41B13/10
View Patent Images:
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20080115257Cap With Adjustable VisorMay, 2008Hernandez
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Primary Examiner:
ANNIS, KHALED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JEFFREY C. LEW (100 Maplewood Ln WILMINGTON DE 19810)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bib comprising a thin, flexible front panel defining an outwardly facing front side of the bib and a thin, flexible back panel positioned behind and substantially coextensive with the front panel, in which the front panel has (i) an elongated shape adapted to overlie the chest region of a wearer (ii) a pair of arms extending upwardly from opposite lateral sides of the front panel to define a neck opening therebetween, the arms operative to removably secure the bib around a neck of a wearer, and (iii) a window of a transparent film positioned in the front panel, in which bib the front panel and the back panel are joined together along a portion of their common peripheral edges, thereby forming a pocket defined by a gap between mutually facing surfaces of the front panel and the back panel.

2. The bib as in claim 1 in which the front panel and back panel are joined along their entire common peripheral edges except for at least one of two lateral sides of the bib.

3. The bib as in claim 1 in which the back panel is coextensive with only an upper portion of the front panel, the bib further comprising a thin, flexible middle panel having (a) a base behind and coexistensive only with a lower portion of the front panel being complementary to the upper portion, and (b) a flap extending upwardly from the base and positioned between the front panel and the back panel, and in which the front panel and the middle panel are joined together along their common peripheral edges.

4. The bib as in claim 3 which further comprises a profiled reclosable fastener adapted to revertibly join the second panel to the third panel.

5. The bib as in claim 1 in which the flap has a surface area adjacent the window.

6. The bib as in claim 5 in which the flap has a surface bearing a graphic design that is visible by observation through the window.

7. The bib as in claim 1 in which the window is coextensive with the entire front panel.

8. The bib as in claim 1 which further comprises a decorative sheet within the pocket, the sheet having a surface adapted to bear a graphic design that is visible by observation through the window.

9. The bib as in claim 8 in which the decorative sheet bears a preselected graphic design.

10. The bib as in claim 8 in which the decorative sheet is detached from the bib.

11. The bib as in claim 10 in which the pocket has a shape and juxtaposition with the window selected such that a decorative sheet of about 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) wide and about 5.5 inches (14 cm) high inserted into the pocket stably mates substantially precisely in central alignment adjacent the window.

12. The bib as in claim 8 in which the decorative sheet is adapted to bear a graphic design customized by a user.

13. A kit for a bib having replaceable, customized graphic designs, comprising (A) a bib comprising a thin, flexible front panel defining an outwardly facing front side of the bib and a thin, flexible back panel positioned behind and substantially coextensive with the front panel, in which the front panel has (i) an elongated shape adapted to overlie the chest region of a wearer (ii) a pair of arms extending upwardly from opposite lateral sides of the front panel to define a neck opening therebetween, the arms operative to removably secure the bib around a neck of a wearer, and (iii) a window of a transparent film positioned in the front panel, in which bib the front panel and the back panel are joined together along a portion of their common peripheral edges, thereby forming a pocket defined by a gap between inward facing surfaces of the front panel and the back panel, and (B) at least one decorative sheet bearing a graphic design, the sheet having a shape adapted to mate with the pocket such that the graphic design is visible by observation through the window with the at least one decorative sheet inserted into the pocket.

14. The kit as in claim 13 in which the back panel is coextensive with only an upper portion of the front panel, the bib further comprising a thin, flexible middle panel having (a) a base behind and coexistensive only with a lower portion of the front panel being complementary to the upper portion, and (b) a flap extending upwardly from the base and positioned between the front panel and the back panel, and in which the front panel and the middle panel are joined together along their common peripheral edges.

15. The kit as in claim 13 comprising a plurality of the decorative sheets.

16. The kit as in claim 13 further comprising an apparatus operative to produce a plurality of decorative sheets.

17. The kit as in claim 16 in which the apparatus includes a tracing template displaying a traceable image comprising an outline of the decorative sheet and an outline of an area corresponding to the position of the window.

18. The kit as in claim 16 in which the apparatus includes a die cutter operative to pressure cut a decorative sheet from a stock sheet.

19. The kit as in claim 16 in which the apparatus includes computer software operative to enable a user to create a customized graphic design and print the customized graphic design with a computerized printer on a stock sheet such that the graphic design is of a size coextensive with the window.

20. The kit as in claim 19 in which the computer software is further operative to print with the computerized printer on a stock sheet the customized graphic design in a position registered with an outline of the decorative sheet such that a decorative sheet excised from the stock sheet along the outline and inserted into the pocket renders the customized graphic design visible by observation through the window.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to protective clothing, particularly aprons, bibs and the like. More specifically, it relates to a child's bib having a transparent window through which a changeable, preselected decorative image can be displayed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of garment protective covers such as aprons, bibs, napkins and shields is known. A myriad of designs encompassed by the crowded prior art have been developed for the fulfillment of countless objectives and requirements.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,864,878 discloses a clear garment protector having a transparent main sheet designed to attach to the front of a wearer's garment. This garment protector includes a napkin attached to the bottom edge of the main sheet. U.S. Pat. No. 5,031,241 discloses a fashion preserving bib formed of a transparent plastic sheet with an upwardly open pocket along the lower edge positioned to catch food drippings when the bib is worn. Both the '878 and '241 articles are intended to protect the frontal area of the user's clothing while not eliminating the decorative appearance of the clothing.

A type of garment protective cover that has been highly developed is the bib for young children. Design of effective bibs for infants and toddlers in particular presents challenges. The child often finds the bib uncomfortable to wear and is typically too young to appreciate the need to keep it in place. It is desirable to have a child's bib that has aesthetic qualities that can make wearing the bib more pleasant such that the child is motivated to keep wearing it.

It is also desirable to have a bib that can display a decorative graphic design to satisfy aesthetic and utilitarian needs of the wearer's caregiver. For example, a parent might want to have a bib for the child that is pleasing to view. There is also a need to have a bib that can have changeable decorative graphic designs. Thus when a design becomes worn from repeated use or when the wearer or caregiver lose interest in a design, it can be replaced by a fresh and/or new design to make the bib appear cleaner and newer.

Morever, there is need to have a bib having a changeable decorative graphic design that can be customized by the caregiver. For example the parent of a child might want to change a message displayed on the bib to reflect the name of a different child, to call attention to a special occasion or to display an object to which the child has developed favorable attachment, e.g., a doll, toy train, and teddy bear, to name a few. By way of another example of a need for customizable bibs consider older adults such as those in nursing homes, it can be useful to have a bib that serves to identify the wearer by name in addition to protecting the wearer's clothing. When such bibs are reused by different individuals it is desired to change the name as the bib is passed from person to person.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention provides a bib preferably for young children to be worn around the neck and to protect the chest from soiling usually by spilled food during feeding. It has many typical features found on conventional bibs, such as neckstraps with easily disconnectible fasteners, and a protective liquid resistant material that can be easily cleaned by wiping and/or washing. Additionally, the bib of this invention has various novel features including a transparent window on its front side in the chest protecting area of a front panel. Also the back side preferably is formed by a lower middle panel and a partially overlapping upper back panel. A gap between the front side and back side panels forms a pocket into which can be placed a detached sheet bearing a decorative graphic design. The design is positioned such that when the sheet is inserted in the pocket, the design can be seen by a viewer looking through the window.

The sheet can be replaceable and different graphic designs can be used with a single bib by changing one sheet for another. The graphic designs can contain preselected subject matter such as text, drawings or photographs, or may have customized content made by the user. The novel bib can be supplied as part of a kit that includes an assortment of preselected graphic designs adapted for insertion into the bib, or supplies that enable the user to generate original graphic designs. Optionally, the decorative sheet can be formed from commonly available materials such as paper and markers.

The invention thus provides a bib comprising a thin, flexible front panel defining an outwardly facing front side of the bib and a thin, flexible back panel positioned behind and substantially coextensive with the front panel, in which the front panel has (i) an elongated shape adapted to overlie the chest region of a wearer (ii) a pair of arms extending upwardly from opposite lateral sides of the front panel to define a neck opening therebetween, the arms operative to removably secure the bib around a neck of a wearer, and (iii) a window of a transparent film positioned in the front panel, in which bib the front panel and the back panel are joined together along a portion of their common peripheral edges, thereby forming a pocket defined by a gap between mutually facing surfaces of the front panel and the back panel.

The invention also provides a bib as just described in which the back panel is coextensive with only an upper portion of the front panel, the bib further comprising a thin, flexible middle panel having (a) a base behind and coexistensive only with a lower portion of the front panel being complementary to the upper portion, and (b) a flap extending upwardly from the base and positioned between the front panel and the back panel, and in which the front panel and the middle panel are joined together along their common peripheral edges.

There is also provided a kit for a bib having replaceable, customized graphic designs, comprising (A) a bib comprising a thin, flexible front panel defining an outwardly facing front side of the bib and a thin, flexible back panel positioned behind and substantially coextensive with the front panel, in which the front panel has (i) an elongated shape adapted to overlie the chest region of a wearer (ii) a pair of arms extending upwardly from opposite lateral sides of the front panel to define a neck opening therebetween, the arms operative to removably secure the bib around a neck of a wearer, and (iii) a window of a transparent film positioned in the front panel, in which bib the front panel and the back panel are joined together along a portion of their common peripheral edges, thereby forming a pocket defined by a gap between inward facing surfaces of the front panel and the back panel, and (B) at least one decorative sheet bearing a graphic design, the sheet having a shape adapted to mate with the pocket such that the graphic design is visible by observation through the window with the at least one decorative sheet inserted into the pocket.

Still further there is provided a kit as just described in which the back panel is coextensive with only an upper portion of the front panel, the bib further comprising a thin, flexible middle panel having (a) a base behind and coexistensive only with a lower portion of the front panel being complementary to the upper portion, and (b) a flap extending upwardly from the base and positioned between the front panel and the back panel, and in which the front panel and the middle panel are joined together along their common peripheral edges.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of the front side of an embodiment of the novel bib.

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the back of the bib of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of the second panel of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an elevation view of a decorative sheet suitable for use with the novel bib of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a schematic section view of the bib of FIG. 1 taken along section line 5-5 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is an elevation view of the front side of another embodiment of the novel bib.

FIG. 7 is is an elevation of the back side of the novel bib of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a preferred embodiment of the bib 10 according to the present invention is seen to be formed of a front panel 11, a lower rear, middle panel 21 and an upper rear, back panel 31. The front panel 11 has a substantially elongated shape 12 intended to cover the chest region of a person, typically a child, wearing the bib. The panel includes a pair of arms 14 and 15, that each extend upwardly respectively from opposite lateral sides A and B of the bib. The arms curve toward each other such that they define a void space 16 between them. This space is a neck opening in which the wearer's neck is placed when the bib is donned. Arm 14 includes a fastener part 27 that can be positioned on the outer, back side surface of back panel 31, as illustrated. A corresponding fastener part 17 is shown mounted at arm 15 on the front side of front panel 11. Fastener part 17 is intended to mate with fastener part 27 so as to revertibly attach the two arms together behind the wearer's neck and thereby secure the bib in place overlying the chest region. The fastener parts may be matching hook elements and loop elements of a hook and loop type fastener, for example.

The front panel includes a window 18 of transparent film. The window is affixed to the material of the front panel 11 at the circumference of the window. A representative example of attachment element is shown as a bead of sealant 19. The sealant adheres the window to the panel and provides a leak tight barrier that prevents solid or liquid that might fall onto the front side of the bib during use from penetrating into the bib. The transparent film permits a person viewing the bib when facing the front to look through the window and observe a graphical design positioned inside the bib, as will be further described below.

The rear of the bib is formed by partially overlapping middle and back panels. An elevation view of middle panel 21 is shown in isolation in FIG. 3 for clarity. The relative location of window 18 when the middle panel is assembled adjacent to panel 11 is shown in phantom style by outline 30. The middle panel 21 is positioned behind the lower portion of the front panel 11. The bottom 22 of the middle panel is shaped to match the corresponding contour of the front panel such that the middle panel is coextensive with the lower portion of the front panel. The back panel 31 is positioned behind the middle panel. The outer boundary 32 of the back panel is shaped to match the corresponding contour of the upper portion of the front panel 11. Accordingly, the back panel is coextensive with front panel. The back panel is preferably shorter than the full length of the the front panel and terminates at a bottom edge 33. This edge is preferably linear and directly transits the distance between lateral sides A and B. Other contours of bottom edge 33 may be used. The length of bottom edge 33 is not affixed to middle panel 21 over which it lies.

Middle panel 21 includes a flap 23 that extends upward and between front panel 11 and back panel 31. The flap is integral to the lower portion of middle panel 21 and is not affixed to the front panel. Thus middle panel 21 is attached at its bottom 22 below and in the exposed bottom contour of the bib. As seen in FIG. 2, flap 23 is hidden below the back panel 31 and therefore is shown in dashed lines. The precise shapes of middle panel and flap can vary in different embodiments such that attachment of the middle panel to the front panel can extend upward some distance above the bottom edge 33 of back panel 31. However great preference is given to providing a significant amount of flap area detached from the front panel.

It should thus be understood that the outer peripheral edges of the front, middle and back panels, are mutually attached where they overlap. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, a relatively narrow bead of piping 20 joins the layered panels completely along the outer perimeter of the front panel. Generally, the piping joins front panel 11 and back panel 31 in the upper portion of the bib while the piping joins front panel 11 and middle panel 21 in the lower portion of the bib. Where the bottom edge 22 of front panel coincides with with outer peripheral edges of the middle and back panels as might occur in variants not shown, the piping joins all three panels.

Preferably the novel bib additionally includes a decorative sheet 41 as seen in FIG. 4. This sheet is a separate entity from the bib 10 and is detached therefrom. The sheet is a thin cross section web of preferably uniformly thick cross section dimension. It bears a graphic design on at least one of each of its two planar faces. The sheet is intended to be inserted into the bib. When inserted, that part of the graphic design on the sheet registered with the window 18 can be seen by a viewer looking toward the window. The relative location of window 18 when decorative sheet 41 is inserted into bib 10 is shown in phantom style by outline 30.

Construction of the novel bib and juxtaposition of the panels, window and decorative sheet can be better understood with reference to FIG. 5 which is a schematic section view of bib 10 taken along section line 5-5 in FIG. 2. Front panel 11 is on the right side of this drawing. Clear window 18 is fixed in position in front panel 11 by adhesive action of sealant 19. Behind (i.e. to the left of) the front panel is the middle panel 21. The bottom 22 of the middle panel is flush with the bottom of the front panel. The back panel 31 is behind the middle panel and overlies the upper portion of front panel 11. The bottom of the back panel is shown by reference number 33. The flap 23 of the middle panel is inside the bib between front panel 11 and back panel 31. It is seen that the flap is a continuous extension of and integral with the lower portion of the middle panel 21. The front and middle panels are joined together by piping 20 at the bottom of the drawing. Similarly piping 20 at the top of the drawing joins together the front panel and back panel. The joint of the piping with the panels can be made for example by adhesive, stitching or other conventional joining technique.

The internal region between the front panel 11 middle panel 21 defines a narrow pocket 42. Decorative sheet is adapted to insert into pocket 42. Moreover, the sheet inserts such that its bottom edge 45 (FIG. 4) descends and makes contact with the base 43 of the pocket. The graphic design is positioned on the face of the sheet at a preselected distance from the bottom edge 45. This distance is chosen such that area 30 (FIG. 4) is aligned with window 18 when the bottom edge 45 is biased against base 43. Consequently, the graphic design appearing on the decorative sheet adjacent the window will be visible to an observer.

Generally, the materials of the panels are flexible. Typically middle and back panels can be fabric of natural or synthetic fibers, for example cotton and polyester, or they can be polymeric film. The front panel preferably is a barrier material that is resistant to penetration or adhesion by foodstuff. For example it may be a polymeric film such as polyolefin, polyethylene vinyl acetate, polyvinyl chloride, or like polymer. Optionally it can be a composite of a fibrous fabric layer coated with a barrier film of such polymer. The window is usually a transparent polymeric film such as polyvinyl chloride. Child-safe, non-toxic formulations should be used, expecially for the polymeric compositions.

The decorative sheet can be slightly stiffer than the panel materials. It should be stiff enough to maintain its position when inserted into the bib so that the graphic design on the face of the sheet does not crumple but remains visible in the window. The sheet should not be so rigid that it prevents the bib from conforming loosely to the contours of the wearer's body. Ordinary stationery paper of about 75 g/m2 (20 lb) and about 90 g/m2 can be used. Preferably the decorative sheet can have the stiffness of heavy paper, card stock or paperboard stock material. Equivalent weight is preferably at least about 110 g/m2.

In a preferred embodiment the dimensions of the bib are selected such that inexpensive, standard 8½ inch by 11 inch size office paper can be used to make decorative sheets with custom designs. In this embodiment the bib construction is such that the pocket dimensions are about 8½ inch wide and about 5½ inch high. Thus a user can easily fold a sheet of standard size office paper in half to obtain a decorative sheet. No tools, including scissors, are required to create the decorative sheet. Additionally, the pocket shape and juxtaposition with the window of the front panel is such that the folded standard size office paper will centrally align adjacent to the window. That is, the folded sheet mates substantially precisely with the pocket. Thus the user merely needs to fold a standard sized office paper sheet in half, draw or attach a drawing such as a photograph of text message onto the folded sheet and simply insert the sheet into the pocket. Automatically, the graphic design on the sheet will show through the window by virtue of preselected juxstaposition of the pocket and the window.

The means for fastening the arms about the neck of the wearer is not critical. Devices such as button and button holes, snap fasteners, tying strings and hook and loop style fasteners, such as Velcro® fasteners. and the like can be used. Hook and loop fasteners are preferred. Optionally, the novel bib can include other advantageous features of garment-protecting aprons such as an upwardly directed spill-catching trough near the bottom of the front side of the bib as in U.S. Pat. No. 5,031,241.

The decorative sheet can be changed from time to time at discretion of the user so that a different graphic design shows through the window. The graphic design can include text of a message. The user can change the message by changing the sheet. The sheet may tend to degrade due to repetitive removal for cleaning of the bib from time to time. Because the sheet is likely to be changed and discarded, inexpensive, disposable materials for the sheet, such as cellulose based products are preferred. More durable materials such as stiff polymeric film compositions can also be employed.

The user may select a bib with a preselected graphic design pre-installed. The arms of the bib are placed around the neck of the wearer and the fastener parts are connected to join the arms, thereby securing the bib to the neck with the panels of the bib overlying the wearer's chest area.

Occasionally the user may want to install a different decorative sheet having a new or fresh graphic design. This is accomplished by placing the bib with its window facing down on a convenient horizontal surface, for example, a table top. The user inserts fingertips between the middle panel and the back panel at bottom edge 33 and reaches upward into the back of the bib. The top of flap 21 can be grasped and pulled out of the bib thereby exposing the pocket. If a decorative sheet is present in the bib, it can then be removed. A new decorative sheet can then be placed into the pocket. The sheet should be oriented such that the desired graphic design aligns with the window. The flap of the second panel can then be tucked back into the bib between the front and back panels. The flap is thus behind the inserted decorative sheet and stabilizes the decorative sheet in place against the inner surface of window film 18 as seen in FIG. 5.

Other structures for the novel bib are contemplated. In another preferred embodiment the middle panel has a very short flap, that is, the flap extends only a short distance upward from the base such that the back panel overlaps about ¼ to about 1 inch of the middle panel. In the area of overlap, the facing surfaces of the middle and back panels bear mating components of a horizontally disposed, profiled reclosable fastener. Such profiled reclosable fasteners typically include a male rib component and a female rib component on opposing surfaces to be reclosably joined. This sealing technique is the same or similar to that used in well known Ziploc® plastic bags. The profiled reclosable fastener of the novel bib can be closed by pressure applied directly by the user's fingers. Optionally the fastener can include a slider element to facilitate closing and opening the joint between the middle and back panel in the form and manner similar to a zipper slide. Representative examples of profiled reclosable fastener technology that can be used with this invention are disclosed in patents U.S. Pat. No. 3,426,396, U.S. Pat. No. 4,212,337, U.S. Pat. No. 4,419,159, and U.S. Pat. No. 8127,279, to identify a few.

In another contemplated embodiment, the novel bib 60 comprises only two panels as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. Front panel 61 has similar features and structure as the front panel 11 (FIG. 1). FIG. 7 shows that the back side of bib 60 is constituted by single back panel 71. The front and rear panels are approximately completely coextensive. They have a common peripheral edge 63 extending along nearly the whole outer perimeter of the bib. However, the perimeter of back panel 71 diverges laterally inward 65 which exposes a small area of the inside surface 66 of front panel 61 as viewed in FIG. 7. The front panel and back panel are joined together only along common segment of peripheral edge 63. The segment of peripheral edge 64 of front panel 61 and of peripheral edge 65 of back panel 71 are not joined to the opposite panels. Thus the bib provides a lateral opening between segments 64 and 65 to access the pocket between the front and back panels. The decorative sheet is inserted into and retrieved from the pocket through this lateral opening. A part of a decorative sheet 68 within the bib is visible in FIG. 7. The lateral inward divergence of panel 71 at perimeter 65 provides for easy access to the decorative sheet. In another embodiment (not shown),

Back panel is fully coextensive with the front panel. In that embodiment, perimeter segment 65 of the back panel lies adjacent to perimeter segment 64 of the front panel, and these two perimeter segments are not joined together so that there still is a channel to the pocket of the bib. The unjoined segments of perimeter can be on either lateral side C or D of the bib. Optionally, both lateral sides C and C can be left not joined together to permit access of the user's hand from opposite sides to facilitate insertion of the decorative sheet.

Although specific forms of the invention have been selected in the preceding disclosure for illustration in specific terms for the purpose of describing these forms of the invention fully and amply for one of average skill in the pertinent art, it should be understood that various substitutions and modifications which bring about substantially equivalent or superior results and/or performance are deemed to be within the scope and spirit of the following claims. The entire disclosures of all U.S. patents and patent applications identified in this application are hereby incorporated by reference herein.





 
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