Title:
Lycramed stretchable hospital scrub top
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved hospital garment is herein disclosed. The garment is set forth in the context of a scrub top having a main body designed to extend from the shoulders to the hips of the wearer, short sleeves, two pockets located along the bottom of the main body, a V-shaped neckline, and a plurality of snap-type closures located at the front center of the garment to hold it closed. The hospital scrub top includes an improved fabric that weaves together two yarn types with at least one of the types being an elastomeric or hyper-elastic yarn such as LYCRA®, and the other being a synthetic or blend of natural and synthetic fibers such as cotton and polyester. This unique blend of polyester/cotton and elastomeric yarns creates a woven fabric having increased shape retention, versatility, and useful life (i.e. resistance to snagging, fiber fatigue, shrinkage, pinholing) as compared to those of conventional scrubs, and the wrinkle-free nature of the fabric permits the hospital scrub to be readily laundered without the need for ironing.



Inventors:
Walsh, Marigale (Vernon Hills, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/173548
Publication Date:
02/13/2003
Filing Date:
06/14/2002
Assignee:
WALSH MARIGALE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/12; A41D31/00; D03D15/08; (IPC1-7): A41B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROYAL W. CRAIG (BALTIMORE, MD, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A hospital garment, comprising: a main body extending from the shoulders to the hips of a wearer; two short sleeves; two pockets located along the bottom of said main body; a V-shaped neckline; a plurality of snap-type closures located at the front center of said scrub top to hold it closed.

2. The hospital garment according to claim 1, formed from a woven fabric comprising: a first yarn strand comprising polyester/cotton fiber having a fiber content of approximately 35% natural cotton material; a second yarn strand comprising LYCRA®; and said first and said second yarn strands being woven together in an overall resulting fabric blend comprising 99% of said first yarn strand, and 1% of said second yarn strand, and then sewn into the form of a hospital scrub top.

3. The hospital garment according to claim 2, further comprising a hospital scrub top formed from said woven fabric wherein said first yarn strand contains a blend of approximately 35% combed cotton and approximately 65% polyester.

4. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric as set forth in claim 3, wherein said first yarn strand is size 32/single.

5. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric as set forth in claim 3 wherein said second yarn strand is size 40 denier.

6. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric as set forth in claim 3 wherein said first yarn strand and said second yarn strand are woven together in a 1:1 ratio.

7. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric as set forth in claim 2 wherein the blend of woven polyester/cotton and elastomeric yarn of said woven fabric gives said scrub top increased shape retention, versatility, and useful life.

8. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric as set forth in claim 7 wherein said scrub top has no pleats or darts.

9. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric as set forth in claim 7 wherein said scrub top has a V-shaped neckline.

10. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric as set forth in claim 7 wherein said scrub top opens from a V-shaped neckline by a plurality of snap-type closures for rapid donning and removal.

11. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric comprising: a first yarn strand comprising polyester/cotton fiber having a fiber content of approximately 35% natural cotton material; a second yarn strand comprising LYCRA®; and said first and said second yarn strands being woven together in an overall resulting fabric blend comprising 99% of said first yarn strand, and 1% of said second yarn strand, and then sewn into the form of a hospital scrub top.

12. The hospital scrub top according to claim 11, wherein said first yarn strand contains a blend of approximately 35% combed cotton and approximately 65% polyester.

13. The hospital scrub top according to claim 12, wherein said first yarn strand is size 32/single.

14. The hospital scrub top according to claim 11, wherein said second yarn strand is size 40 denier.

15. The hospital scrub top according to claim 14, wherein said first yarn strand is size 32/single, said second yarn strand is size 40 denier, and said first yarn strand and said second yarn strand are woven together in a 1:1 ratio.

16. The hospital scrub top according to claim 15 wherein the blend of woven polyester/cotton and elastomeric yarn of said woven fabric gives said scrub top increased shape retention, versatility, and useful life.

17. The hospital scrub top according to claim 11 wherein said scrub top has no pleats or darts.

18. The hospital scrub top according to claim 11 wherein said scrub top opens from a V-shaped neckline by a plurality of snap-type closures for rapid donning and removal.

19. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven comprising: a first yarn strand comprising synthetic fiber; a second yarn strand comprising LYCRA®; and said first and said second yarn strands being woven together in an overall resulting fabric blend comprising 99% of said first yarn strand, and 1% of said second yarn strand, and then sewn into the form of a hospital scrub top.

20. A hospital scrub top formed from a woven fabric as set forth in claim 19 wherein said synthetic fiber comprises polyester.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application derives priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/298,598, filed Jun. 15, 2001.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to garments and, more particularly, to the functionality, comfort, and longevity of clothing known as hospital scrubs. More specifically, the present invention discloses a design for hospital scrub tops that increases comfort of the wearer and durability via the use of a fabric that possesses certain “stretchable” characteristics.

[0004] 2. Description of the Background

[0005] Currently, it is known in the art to provide hospital scrub tops that are made from only a blend of polyester and cotton yarns. These scrub tops made from conventional woven fabric do not possess the ability to give or stretch as the wearer moves. An uncomfortable garment of this type, one that works against the wearer, can be uncomfortable and ultimately contribute to the fatigue of the wearer. In hospital environments where long working hours provide sufficient cause for fatigue, the garments worn by staff members should not exacerbate the problem.

[0006] Another common problem associated with conventional, polyester/cotton blend scrubs is that they have a tendency to wear out over time due to friction at stress points. This friction results from individual yarns snagging and breaking, or from the fatigue of the fibers due to repeated washing and/or friction from wearing. Small fabric holes appear, especially in critical areas such as the inner thighs, knees and elbows. When the fabric holes get too large, or too numerous, the scrubs are taken out of service. A third problem with conventional scrubs is shrinkage. Repeated washings make them smaller and thus place greater restrictions on the comfortable movement of the wearer.

[0007] Others have attempted to address the issue of hospital scrubs by designing garments that possess (1) the ability to fit individuals of varying physical dimensions (e.g. U.S Pat. No. 3,721,998 to Meyers) or (2) increased utility (e.g. U.S. Pat. No. 4,791,681 to Dean). Occasionally, a new design represents a marked departure from traditional configurations (e.g. U.S. Pat. No. 5,652,961 to Knight-Yurt).

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 3,721,998 discloses a hospital scrub for use by women of varying physical dimensions. The scrub is straight-sided without utilizing a waist line so as to obtain greater comfort and better lines for women of varying shapes. A boat neck is employed which will fit any size neck comfortably. Easy entry to the dress is made possible by a slit shoulder on one of the sleeves. The shoulder slit is closed by flat ties. The use of such flat ties permits easy laundering and ironing with a power mangle. The upper edges of the sleeves are open so as to permit freedom of arm movement. There is no mention of the specifics of the fabric utilized in this design.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 4,791,681 discloses a health care uniform (jacket/blouse and pants) made from light-weight materials. The jacket/blouse possesses a conventional type of breast pocket and, at the bottom running across the full width of the jacket/blouse, a pocket panel with a vertical seam in the center to form two pouch pocket compartments. The bottom portion of the pocket panel has a separate piece of reinforcing material that is integral with the hemline along substantially the full width of the blouse. The pouch pocket openings are set at a convenient angle to allow for the entrance of the hand into the pocket while keeping objects from falling out. The outboard pant pockets have closures similar to those on the jacket/blouse pockets and are also reinforced along their bottom edges.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,652,961 discloses a new design for hospital scrubs that includes a strap at the neck. The strap is used to form a loop for holding a stethoscope. Detachable sleeves, held together with Velcro, are also provided to enable the user to remove the lower part of each sleeve to create standard length short sleeves. A two-pocket pouch at the waist area, with two separate flaps covering the pockets, is provided. The flaps are secured shut by Velcro, either one at a time, or simultaneously. The area behind the two pockets creates a third, wide pocket. There is also a double pocket on the sleeve for pens, pencils, etc.

[0011] While comfort improvement features such as removable sleeves are disclosed in the foregoing references (i.e. worn as long sleeves in winter and short sleeves in summer), relatively little attention has been paid to the utility of the fabrics utilized in the scrubs.

[0012] There remains a need for hospital garments designed to address the issues of wearer comfort and garment longevity via the use of an innovative fabric blend.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide hospital garments that provide additional comfort and durability by stretching as the wearer moves.

[0014] It is still another object to provide an improved fabric to be used in the manufacturing of hospital garments, and especially scrub tops, that is not subject to problems associated with garment wear and tear (e.g. pinholing, fiber fatigue, shrinkage).

[0015] An exemplary hospital garment as described in the context of a hospital scrub top according to one embodiment of the present invention. The primary components of the scrub include the main body designed to extend from the shoulders to the hips of the wearer, short sleeves, two pockets located along the bottom of the main body, a V-shaped neckline, and a plurality of snap-type closures located at the front center of the garment to hold it closed.

[0016] The present invention addresses many problems present in the prior art. It includes an improved fabric that remedies the comfort and longevity problems outlined above by weaving together two yarn types with at least one of the types being an elastomeric or hyper-elastic yarn. In the preferred embodiment, the first yarn type is comprised of a blend of natural and synthetic fibers, preferably a blend of cotton and polyester, while the other yarn is comprised of an elastomeric or hyper-elastic fiber such as LYCRA®.

[0017] This unique blend of woven polyester/cotton and elastomeric yarns creates a fabric having increased shape retention, versatility, and useful life as compared to those of conventional scrubs. The elastomeric yarn allows the fabric to stretch as the wearer moves. This stretching ability provides for greater comfort and less garment-induced fatigue during wear. Further, the elastomeric yarn and polyester/cotton yarn blend creates a more resilient fabric that is resistant to snagging, fiber fatigue, shrinkage, and pinholing, thereby increasing the useful life of the fabric. The nature of the fabric permits the hospital scrub to be readily laundered without the need for ironing. The wrinkle-free nature of the fabric avoids the expense of hand ironing as is necessary where snap-type closures are utilized because closures of that type can cause damage to automated ironing systems (e.g. tearing the roll of a power-operated mangle).

[0018] These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be clarified in the following description of the preferred embodiment in connection with the drawings, the disclosure and the appended claims, wherein like reference numerals represent like elements throughout. While the preferred embodiment of this invention addresses problems most associated with scrubs, both tops and pants, it is recognized that other products such as lab coats and patient gowns may be created from this inventive fabric.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments and certain modifications thereof when taken together with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0020] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a hospital scrub top 10 according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

[0021] FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary plan view of the fabric 30 utilized in a hospital scrub top 10, according to a first embodiment of the present invention, particularly illustrating the polyester/cotton and elastomeric yarn strands 32, 34, respectively.

[0022] FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary side cross-section of the fabric 30 as in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0023] The present invention is a hospital garment designed to address the issues of wearer comfort and garment longevity via the use of an innovative fabric blend. The invention is herein described in the context of a hospital scrub top.

[0024] FIG. 1 shows a front perspective view of a hospital scrub top 10 according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention. The five main areas of the scrub 10 include a main body 12, two short sleeves 14, two pockets 16, 18, a V-shaped neckline 20, and five snap-type closures 22.

[0025] The main body 12 preferably contains none of the features (e.g. pleats, darts) typically found in garment design/construction. Those features are not required in the present invention due to the nature of the fabric (discussed in greater detail below) utilized in its manufacture. Consequently, the elimination of needless features increases manufacturing economy.

[0026] The two sleeves 14 are slightly shorter than typical short sleeves. This design element provides the wearer with greater freedom and range of movement without encountering resistance from the sleeves 14.

[0027] The two opposing pockets 16, 18 vary slightly in their internal configuration. The right hand pocket 18 preferably includes two cloth loops attached to the rear, inside wall, while the left hand pocket 18 is devoid of any additional design elements. The cloth loops contained in pocket 16 assist in keeping instruments (e.g. scissors) or other paraphernalia from falling out.

[0028] A V-shaped neckline 20 is utilized in an effort to fit more comfortably around a wide variety of wearer neck sizes. A plurality of conventional snap-type closures 22 are included to facilitate either the rapid donning or removal of the scrub 10.

[0029] FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary plan view of the fabric 30 utilized in a hospital scrub top 10, according to a first embodiment of the present invention, particularly illustrating the polyester/cotton and elastomeric yarn strands 32, 34, respectively.

[0030] FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary side cross-section of the fabric 30 as in FIG. 2.

[0031] As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the fabric 30 of the preferred embodiment comprises a woven material having a yarn strand 32, made of a blend of natural and synthetic fibers, and an elastomeric strand or hyper-elastic yarn 34. The yarn strand 32 is woven together with the elastomeric strand 34 as illustrated in FIG. 2 to create a single piece of textile or fabric 30. An important aspect of the present invention lies in the fiber content and combination of the two strands of yarn 32, 34. The yarn strand 32 and the elastomeric strand 34 are woven together to form a fabric 30 which produces, in the preferred embodiment, a finished scrub 10 that measures approximately 30″ top to bottom, 23″ to 25″ across the main body 12 (when lying on a flat surface), and 32″ across from sleeve tip to sleeve tip. The scrub 10 weighs approximately nine ounces.

[0032] The yarn strand 32 contains approximately 35% natural fiber and 65% synthetic material. Although any suitable synthetic material may be used in the yarn strand 32, it is preferred that the synthetic material be polyester. Likewise, it is preferred that the natural material of yarn strand 32 be combed cotton. Thus, the yarn strand 32 is comprised preferably of a polyester/cotton blend. At a minimum, the yarn strand 32 should have a fiber content of at least 25% natural cotton material, the remainder being polyester.

[0033] The elastomeric strand 34 of the fabric 30 may be comprised of any elastic textile fiber, however, it is preferred that the material be made of the elastomeric fiber known as LYCRA®. Therefore, in the preferred embodiment, the fabric 30 comprises a blend of polyester/cotton yarn 32 and LYCRA® strands 34.

[0034] As seen in FIG. 2, the fabric 30 is woven so that there is a 1:1 ratio of elastomeric yarn 34 to polyester/cotton yarn 32. While the ratio of elastomeric strands 34 to yarn strands 32 is 1:1, the percentage blend of the polyester/cotton 32 yarn to elastomeric yarn 34 is not necessarily a 50/50 ratio. The fabric blend of a finished scrub 10 is typically 99% polyester/cotton and 1% elastomeric material. The variation in fabric blend is made possible by varying the size of the yarn strand 32 and the denier of the elastomeric strand 34.

[0035] Also evident in FIG. 2, from the interlocking arrangement of the elastomeric yarn 34 with that of the polyester/cotton yarn 32, is that the fabric 30 is woven such that it stretches in only one direction (as noted by directional arrow 36). The amount of stretch inherent in the knitted fabric 30 is 15.3%. The fabric 30 is utilized in the scrub 10 such that the direction of stretch is across the width of the garment (as noted by directional arrow 24 in FIG. 1).

[0036] Preferably, the yarn strand 32 is a size 32/single while the elastomeric yarn 34 is a size 40 denier. This combination of the size 32/single yarn strand 32 and 40 denier elastomeric material 34 produces a fabric 30 with an overall blend of 35% cotton, 64% polyester, and 1% elastomeric material. The weight and blend of the fabric 30 can be altered as desired by increasing/decreasing the denier size of the elastomeric strand 34, increasing/decreasing the size of the yarn strand 32, or increasing/decreasing both the size of the elastomeric strand 34 and the yarn strand 32. However, the foregoing specifications may be relied upon to give a satisfactory balance of comfort, stretch, durability and launderability. Specifically, for a section of resulting fabric cut from a yard roll and having a cuttable width of 61.25″, the foregoing specifications yield a weight of approximately 4.85 oz/yd2, a tensile warp of 140#, a tensile fill of 60#, a tear warp of 5.2#, a tear fill of 2.9#, shrinkage warp of -2.3%, shrinkage fill of −1.6%, stretch of 15.3%, and recovery of 2.0%. The fabric constructed in accordance with these specifications demonstrates superior performance in all colors and all tests.

[0037] Specifically, a Textile Laboratory Analysis Report has been rendered for the foregoing in a khaki-colored criss-cross tunic hospital scrub top embodiment. Throughout five wash-and-dry processing cycles using high-temperature cotton drying, the scrub top displayed comparatively low linting/pilling, fraying and color-loss characteristics without significantly increased shrinking. More specifically, there is minor pilling (groups of short or broken fibers on the surface of the fabric becoming tangled together in a tiny ball or “pill.” Pilling results from rubbing (abrasion) of the fabric during normal wear and use). There is no linting, fraying, or visible color loss of the fabric at all. Due to the mechanics of the knit, the garment displayed excellent shrinkage properties in both the widthwise position and from sleeve opening to sleeve opening. The lengthwise direction shows some shrinkage (4.9%), but traditional woven fabrics containing a straight 60/40 poly/cotton blend will show a shrinkage rate of around 2 to 4%. Thus, a 4.9% lengthwise shrinkage is an insignificant compromise. The specific shrinkage measurements follow: 1

Measurement
Before LaunderingAfter Laundering% Shrinkage
LWS-SLWS-SLWS-S
30.5″25.0″30.5″29.0″25.0″30.5″4.9%0%0%

[0038] The improved stretching ability provides for greater comfort and less garment-induced fatigue during wear. The wrinkle-free nature of the fabric permits the hospital scrub to be readily and repeatedly laundered without the need for ironing. Moreover, the addition of LYCRA® in sports uniforms and the like has been shown to actually increase athletic performance.1 1 Five years of research, conducted by Dr. William Kraemer and sponsored by DuPont from 1991-1995 at Penn State, showed that all types of fatigue (strength, endurance, and power) can be significantly reduced by wearing Lycra® Power garments. These findings showed both that an athlete's force and power production increased by an average of 12% and that 73% of the athletes tested increased the accuracy of their movements or body positioning.

[0039] To manufacture the fabric 30 of the present invention, one may use a standard fabric manufacturing machine such as a Fukahara Model FXC-3S. To obtain a 1:1 ratio of polyester/cotton yarn 32 to elastomeric yarn 34, the machine is fitted with special feeders such as the Meminger-Iro feeders. These feeders pass the LYCRA® or elastomeric yarn 34 to the bed of the machine. These special feeders are then used in an alternating fashion so that a 1:1 ratio of elastomeric yarn 34 to polyester/cotton yarn 32 is fed into the needles.

[0040] In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the fabric 30 is constructed as above except that the yarn strand 32 is made entirely of natural fibers. The preferred natural fiber is combed cotton, but silk, wool or other like substances could be utilized. No synthetic fibers are used in the yarn strand 32. Therefore, the overall fabric 30 comprises a blend of combed cotton and elastomeric material.

[0041] In yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the fabric 30 is again constructed the same as the fabric 30 of the preferred embodiment except that the yarn strand 32 is made entirely of synthetic fibers, preferably polyester. No natural fibers are used in the yarn strand 32 of this embodiment, and thus, the overall fabric 30 comprises a blend of polyester and elastomeric material.

[0042] Having now fully set forth the preferred embodiment and certain modifications of the concept underlying the present invention, various other embodiments as well as certain variations and modifications of the embodiments herein shown and described will obviously occur to those skilled in the art upon becoming familiar with said underlying concept. It is to be understood, therefore, that the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically set forth in the appended claims.





 
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