Title:
Garment reinforcement made of thermoplastic film
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garment reinforcement constituted of a thermoplastic film provided with a heat sealing surface and is capable of being applied under heat and pressure. The film of the reinforcement preferably has a thickness between 25 and 250 microns and is made from at least one of the following polymers: polyurethane, polyamide, polyester, polyolefine (polyethylene and polypropylene), polyvinyl chloride.



Inventors:
Barthelemy, Antoine (Annecy Le Vieux, FR)
Application Number:
10/212248
Publication Date:
10/16/2003
Filing Date:
08/06/2002
Assignee:
SALOMON S.A. (Metz-Tessy, FR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41H27/00; (IPC1-7): A41D27/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NERBUN, PETER P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBLUM & BERNSTEIN, P.L.C. (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A garment reinforcement comprising a thermoplastic film having a heat sealing surface capable of being applied to a garment under heat and pressure.

2. A garment reinforcement according to claim 1, wherein the film has a thickness comprised between 25 and 250 microns.

3. A garment reinforcement according to claim 2, wherein the film has a thickness comprised between 25 and 100 microns.

4. A garment reinforcement according to claim 1, wherein the film is made from at least one of the following polymers: polyurethane; polyamide; polyester; polyolefine (polyethylene and polypropylene); polyvinyl chloride.

5. A garment reinforcement according to claim 1, wherein the film comprises a single layer.

6. A garment reinforcement according to claim 1, wherein the film comprises at least two layers.

7. A garment comprising a garment reinforcement, said garment reinforcement comprising a thermoplastic film having a heat sealing surface capable of being applied to a garment under heat and pressure.

8. A method for reinforcing a garment, comprising: cutting out a piece of thermoplastic film provided with a heat sealing surface; applying said piece under heat and pressure on a predetermined area of the garment; cooling.

9. A method for reinforcing a garment according to claim 8, wherein the application temperature is comprised between 80 and 180° C.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is based upon French Patent Application No. 02.01660, filed Apr. 10, 2002, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference thereto in its entirety, and the priority of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. §119.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a garment reinforcement adapted in particular to protect against abrasion of the material of the garment and against tearing thereof caused by contact with sharp objects.

[0004] The present invention applies more particularly to the field of sportswear, particularly garments for gliding sports, skiing, mountaineering, etc.

[0005] 2. Description of Background and Relevant Information

[0006] Traditionally, in garment-making, the areas that are the most stressed can be reinforced by sewing yokes made of different materials.

[0007] International patent publication WO 01/67903, for example, discloses the covering of exposed portions of garments with an additional yoke made of a high-resistance polyamide, such as that known under the trademark CORDURA®.

[0008] Likewise, U.S. Pat. No. 6,286,150, which relates to a pair of pants, teaches two ways of protecting the lower leg from the strokes of the ski running edges, namely by adding a yoke made of a thick polyamide that is relatively rigid, or by providing a specific yoke, made of a material known under the trademarks KEVLAR®, CORDURA®, or SPECTRA®, that is added into a corresponding cutout of the pantleg.

[0009] From U.S. Pat. No. 6,044,493, it is also known to provide a non-slip protective coating on the palm of a glove by PVC induction, i.e., the application of this material in liquid form and then curing.

[0010] In all cases, the reinforcements thus obtained always call for a double thickness that has a negative effect on the comfort and appearance of the garment.

[0011] Furthermore, this double thickness prevents the garment from having a surface that is smooth and continuous and, as a result, constitutes a “catching” area that weakens the reinforcement.

[0012] Additionally, the sewn yokes require additional stitching and can cause additional sealing problems if they are applied to impermeable garments, since the seams will then need to be sealed.

[0013] As for reinforcements that are set by induction, their positioning requires several minutes for drying/curing. Also, induction is easier to carry out on a flat surface.

[0014] Lastly, since these reinforcements are set in liquid phase, one must always provide for the evacuation of solvents, which can also raise issues with regards to the environment if these solvents are dangerous or harmful for the environment and/or for those who handle them or breathe the emanations thereof.

[0015] At any rate, the additional yokes or reinforcements set by induction present an excess weight that cannot be disregarded.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] An object of the present invention is to overcome the aforementioned drawbacks and to provide a new concept of garment reinforcement.

[0017] This object is achieved in the reinforcement according to the invention in that it is constituted of a thermoplastic film provided with a surface that can be heat sealed and applied under heat and pressure to the garment.

[0018] Indeed, it is surprising to note that these reinforcements constituted by thermoplastic films have enough resistance to abrasions, tears and cuts, in spite of their thinness, to constitute reinforcements for sportswear, particularly ski pants.

[0019] Preferably, the film constituting the garment reinforcement has a thickness comprised between 25 and 250 microns, or yet between 25 and 100 microns.

[0020] Furthermore, these reinforcements offer many advantages:

[0021] they constitute a slight double thickness in the reinforced area;

[0022] given their thinness, there is no risk of catching the edges of the reinforcement and therefore of weakening the latter;

[0023] the stiffening of the reinforced area is minimum and light since the film is thin;

[0024] the reinforced area is impermeable to water and air, and it is possible to use these reinforcements for a localized limitation of air permeability on a very permeable garment. It is also possible to apply this material so that it straddles two pieces, overtop a seam, which will allow both to protect the seam against abrasion and to seal it;

[0025] the manufacturing process is economical since it avoids having to use costly materials and additional stitching, given that it is very quick, the gluing is immediate and occurs during the curing phase, without having to eliminate solvents;

[0026] depending on the desired effect, various layers of film can be superimposed or various types of film can be used. Thus, elastic films are preferably used in deformable and/or joint areas (elbows, knees, etc.);

[0027] in the case of tearing, these reinforcements can be easily repaired by ironing, at a temperature corresponding to their softening temperature which is lower than the gluing temperature, as the material begins to soften and to close the edges of these tears.

[0028] The film(s) used can also serve as decoration due to their color, transparency or translucence, as well as their surface appearance (glossy, glazed, mat).

[0029] The feel of the film can also be an important element of the garment.

[0030] The film can also be an area for communicating to the user. In this case, the information, logos, pictographs, etc., can be printed on the outer surface of the film, or on the inner surface, or on the textile support to be protected. The last two cases will guarantee excellent longevity to these markings throughout use and washing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0031] The invention will be better understood and other features thereof will be shown in the following description, with reference to the attached schematic drawing showing, by way of a non-limiting example, a preferred embodiment, and in which:

[0032] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the manufacturing process;

[0033] FIG. 2 is a top view of a garment having a reinforcement according to the invention;

[0034] FIG. 3 is a detailed view of the reinforcement of FIG. 2 before assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0035] FIG. 1 shows the method for applying a reinforcement 10 according to the invention to a garment 1.

[0036] In the case presented, the reinforcement 10 is constituted, before it is positioned, of a piece of thermoplastic film 11 covered by a non-adhesive paper 12, for example silicone-coated paper. This assembly is positioned on an outer surface of the garment 1 to be reinforced, the film 11 being in direct contact with the garment 1.

[0037] The assembly is hot-pressed at a pressure of several bars by means of a press 20.

[0038] As soon as the pressure is exerted, the pressing plate 21 rises and cooling is almost immediate. One then only needs to remove the non-adhesive paper 12 and the reinforcement 10 is perfectly glued to the garment.

[0039] The gluing temperature depends on the type of thermoplastic film used. In any event, it must be higher than the softening temperature of the film.

[0040] As an example, the thermoplastic film can be made of polyurethane, and the gluing temperature then varies between 100 and 175° C.

[0041] For polyamides, the gluing temperature is on the order of 140° C.

[0042] For polyesters, the gluing temperature is comprised between 130 and 185° C.

[0043] For polyolefines, the gluing temperature is comprised between 80 and 150° C., and for polyvinyl chlorides, the gluing temperature is on the order of 120° C.

[0044] The thermoplastic films used are in fact films known for sealing seams and/or for assembling various layers of material with glue.

[0045] In this known application, the films are generally used in the form of strips and are always positioned inside the garment.

[0046] These are adhesive films, for example, that are sold by the company Bemis under the trademarks DEWFACE® and CLARENSE®, by the company West Bridgford Machine, or by the company Ardmel.

[0047] FIGS. 2 and 3 show the application of the reinforcement according to the invention to a sports element, in this case, ski pants 30.

[0048] In this case, the reinforcement 40 is constituted of a thermoplastic film 11 covered with a non-adhesive paper 12. The reinforcement 40 has a triangular shape and is applied to the medial surface 31 of the lower pantleg 30, on the outer side of the garment, by hot-pressing according to the method shown and described in relation to FIG. 1.

[0049] Once the reinforcement 40 is glued, the paper 12 needs only to be removed.

[0050] It is noted that this manufacturing process is very simple, inexpensive, and in particular avoids having to use additional seams. The reinforcement 40 is cut to the shape desired and simply positioned by hot-pressing in the desired spot of the garment.

[0051] As indicated previously, various layers of film can be superposed or various types of film can be used. Thus, elastic films will be used preferably in the deformable or joint areas.

[0052] A very interesting aspect of the invention is that the reinforced area of the garment is stiffened only slightly due to the thinness of the film used. Additionally, the absence of double thickness of the reinforcement with respect to the garment reduces the risks of catching and tearing the reinforcement.

[0053] As mentioned previously, the concept of using such films for making reinforcements arranged on the outer surface of garments, particularly sportswear, is completely novel, and it surprisingly enables one to obtain reinforcements that are sufficiently strong, even for an application, for instance, to ski pants to protect from the strokes of the running edges, despite the thinness of the film used.

[0054] Such an invention also goes completely against known concepts which consist in always having reinforcements that are several millimeters thick.

[0055] It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the particular embodiments described herein, but encompasses all similar or equivalent embodiments.