Title:
METHOD AND PRODUCT OF ENHANCED DURABILITY WRINKLE RESISTANT AND/OR PUCKER FREE GARMENTS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Wrinkle resistant garments produced by the cross-linking of cellulose and/or pucker free garments produced by adding a fuse tape into an edge seam are treated with chemicals such as sodium tetraborate and/or similar compounds having a pH of about 9-10 or higher in a process that can significantly improve the garment's durability. The selected chemical is applied to areas of the garments which are subject to excessive abrasion during daily wear and laundering.



Inventors:
Siu, Linus Y. (Singapore, SG)
Application Number:
10/162719
Publication Date:
12/11/2003
Filing Date:
06/06/2002
Assignee:
SIU LINUS Y.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41B3/00; A41B7/00; A41D27/24; (IPC1-7): A41B1/00; A41D1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
VANATTA, AMY B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Houtteman Law LLC (Merrifield, VA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A wrinkle resistant garment having at least one enhanced wear edge component, said garment comprising: a generally wrinkle resistant garment formed with cross-linked fabric having generally flat panel components; said generally wrinkle resistant garment having at least one component reversibly bent forming an edge; and a cross-linking inhibitor applied on said at least one reversely bent edge prior to curing of said wrinkle resistant garment wherein cross-linking at said at least one reversely bent outermost edge is reduced as compared with said flat panel components of said garment.

2. A wrinkle resistant garment having at least one enhanced wear edge component as defined in claim 1 wherein: said cross-linking inhibitor being applied to an outer actuate edge surface of said reversely bent edge in an arc having a length of from 90 to 120 degrees.

3. A wrinkle resistant garment having at least one enhanced wear edge component as defined in claim 1 wherein: said cross-linking inhibitor being applied to an outer actuate edge of said reversely bent edge to a depth of at least fifty percent of the thickness of said garment fabric.

4. A wrinkle resistant garment having at least one enhanced wear edge component as defined in claim 1 wherein: said cross-linking inhibitor being applied to an outer actuate edge of said reversely bent edge to a depth of one hundred percent of the thickness of said garment fabric.

5. A wrinkle resistant garment having at least one enhanced wear edge component as defined in claim 1 wherein; said cross-linking inhibitor comprises a sodium borate solution.

6. An enhanced wear component of a wrinkle resistant shirt collar, said collar comprising: an interior fabric collar component reversibly bent at an outermost edge; an exterior fabric, collar component reversibly bent at an outermost edge; said exterior fabric collar being formed with a generally wrinkle resistant cross-linked fabric; a bonding strip interposed within said collar peripherally at an outer edge of said collar and adjacent to said exterior fabric collar component; a stitch extending through said reversibly bent portions of said interior collar fabric said bonding strip and said exterior collar fabric; and a cross-linking inhibitor applied on said outermost edge of said exterior fabric collar.

7. An enhanced wear component of a wrinkle resistant shirt cuff, said cuff comprising: an interior fabric cuff component reversibly bent at an outermost edge; an exterior fabric, cuff component reversibly bent at an outermost edge; said exterior fabric cuff being formed with a generally wrinkle resistant cross-linked fabric; a bonding strip interposed within said cuff peripherally at an outer edge of said cuff and adjacent to said exterior fabric cuff component; a stitch extending through said reversibly bent portions of said interior cuff fabric said bonding strip and said exterior cuff fabric; and a cross-linking inhibitor applied on an outermost edge of said exterior fabric of said cuff.

8. An enhanced wear component of a winkle resistant shirt center placket, said center placket comprising: an interior fabric center placket component reversibly bent at an outermost edge; an exterior fabric, center placket component reversibly bent at an outermost edge; said exterior fabric center placket being formed with a generally wrinkle resistant cross-linked fabric; a bonding strip interposed within said center placket peripherally at an outer edge of said center placket and adjacent to said exterior fabric center placket component; a stitch extending through said reversibly bent portions of said interior center placket fabric said bonding strip and said exterior center placket fabric; and a cross-linking inhibitor applied on an outermost edge of said exterior fabric of said center placket.

9. A method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment comprising the steps of: applying a wrinkle resistant finishing solution to a garment; applying a cross-linking inhibitor to edges of the garment subject to excessive wear; and curing the garment.

10. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying a solution having a pH of about 9 to about 10.

11. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying a solution having a pH of approximately equal to greater than 9.

12. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying a tetrasodium salt solution.

13. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying a borate salt solution.

14. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying a sodium borate solution.

15. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying the inhibitor to the garment areas manually.

16. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying the inhibitor by a method selected from the group consisting of: brushing, dropping or using a rotary applicator.

17. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: coating at least an outermost reversely bent edge of a seam of the garment with the cross-link inhibitor along a cross-sectional arc of between ninety degrees and one hundred and twenty degrees.

18. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: coating the cross-link inhibitor along a cross-sectional arc of approximately one hundred and eighty degrees around the edge of the seam.

19. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying the cross-link inhibitor along a cross-sectional arc at the edge of a seam to a depth of approximately fifty percent the fabric of the seam.

20. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying the cross-link inhibitor along a cross-sectional arc at the edge of a seam to full penetration of the seam up to a position adjacent to a sewn stitch of the seam.

21. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying the finishing solution comprises: dipping the garment in the finishing solution.

22. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying the finishing solution comprises: spraying the garment with the finishing solution.

23. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying the finishing solution comprises: applying the finishing solution to the garment areas by a vapor phase process.

24. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 23 wherein: the inhibitor is applied prior to the vapor phase process.

25. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein: the inhibitor is applied by at least one of a brush, dropper or rotary applicator.

26. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein: the garment is a shirt collar having a pucker free seam.

27. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein: the garment is a shirt sleeve cuff having a pucker free seam.

28. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein: the garment is a shirt center platen having a pucker free seam.

29. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein: the garment is a pair of pants with a pucker free/wrinkle free edge seam in the cuffs.

30. The method for improving the durability of a wrinkle resistant garment as defined in claim 9 wherein said step of applying a cross-linking inhibitor comprises: applying a compound in solution, wherein the compound is selected from the group consisting of borate salts, tetrasodium salts, decahydrates, sodium diborate decahydrate, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, Solubor, sodium borate, disodium tetraborate decahydrate, sodium borate decahydrate, borascu, baricin, gerstly borate and sodium pyroborate decahydrate.

Description:

RELATED PATENTS

[0001] This application relates to prior U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,568,779 entitled “Pucker Free Garment Seam and Method of Manufacture;” 5,590,615 entitled “Pucker Free Garment Seam and Method of Manufacture;” 5,713,292 entitled “Pucker Free Pocket Garment Seam and Method for Production;” 5,775,394 entitled “Pucker Free Sleeve Placket Garment Seam and Method for Production;” 5,782,191 entitled “Pucker Free Right Front Hem Garment Seam and Method for Production;” 5,950,554 entitled “Pucker Free Yoke-To-Front and Yoke-To-Back Garment Seam and Method for Production;” 6,070,542 entitled “Pucker Free Collar Seam and Method of Manufacture;” and 6,079,343 entitled “Pucker Free Garment Side Seam and Method for Production;” all of common assignment with the subject application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to wrinkle resistant and/or pucker free garments. More particularly, this invention relates to a method and garment of enhanced durability that maintains previously achieved advances in wash-n-wear technology of wrinkle resistant fabric and/or smooth, pucker free, garment seams.

[0003] Fabric wrinkle resistance is the result of chemical finishing by cross-linking of the fibers that make up the fabric. This finishing improves the quality of the resulting fabric in many ways. Cross-linking, for example, provides not only good wrinkle resistance, but also dimensional stability, fabric smoothness and crease retention. Furthermore, these improvements to the fabric are relatively permanent and the finish has good durability to washing.

[0004] Chemical finishing is essentially a two-step process. First, the cellulosic material is treated with a chemical finishing solution. Next, molecular cross-links are formed in a process known as “curing.”

[0005] Since at least the 1990s, enhanced chemical finishing technology has been utilized to advantage with natural cellulose fabrics, e.g. cotton, linen, ramie and their blended garments, including shirts, pants, jackets and knitwear have been developed that exhibit advantages previously available in synthetic fabric finishing. Cotton is made up of cellulose. Crosslinking agents have been developed that result in cross-linking of these cellulose fibers. In addition, sharp creases can be set on the front and back pleat of pants and sleeves of shirts. Finishing of natural fibers, and fabric made from 100% natural fibers, has continually evolved and improved to the point that a wrinkle resistant wash-n-wear garment of 100% cotton is a commercial reality.

[0006] In addition to wrinkle resistant fabric “pucker free” seams have been developed, as disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,070,542. In traditional 100% natural fiber garments, seams joining two panels of fabric exhibit a wavy appearance or puckering along the seams after laundering. Laundering induces shrinkage of sewing threads at a rate greater than the surrounding fabric material, or vice versa. This shrinkage differential, which is exacerbated with repeated washings, creates waviness or pucker along garment seams.

[0007] Research by the assignee of the subject invention developed a truly pucker resistant seam. In this, two panels of fabric are reverse folded and stitched together with a relatively narrow strip of thermoplastic resin. The seam is then heated and pressed, causing the resin to flow onto and around the threads of the fabric and the sewing thread. The resin binds the fabric and sewing thread together to form a secure seam structure that is resistant to normal thread and yarn shrinkage. Consequently, the garment seams remain smooth and resist puckering.

[0008] The foregoing wrinkle resistant and pucker free processes, however, may have adverse effects on garment wear. As an example, wrinkle resistant finishing can reduce the tensile strength, tear strength and abrasion resistance of fabric. This is especially noticeable in locations where the fabric is reversely bent to form a sharp seam or garment edge. Dress shirts often include interlinings on cuffs, collars and both sides of the center plackets of shirts, which make these elements stiffer than the rest of the garment. In the instance of wrinkle resistant pants, excessive abrasion at certain areas can wear the pants out prematurely. For example, the bottom hem, particularly near the front and back creases will often fray long before the rest of the pant fabric. In addition, the edge of the fly (zipper of pants) front and back mouths of pants pockets and in essence all edges of outerwear that are subject to contact and thus wear if a fabric is brittle. In these edge regions, fiber breakage can occur and frays can form before significant wear is detected in other regions of the garment. The same concern regarding premature wear applies to parts of jackets that are subject to abrasion.

[0009] During use and laundry the sharp edges of these stiffened parts can fray more rapidly than remaining portions of a garment. As a result, the garment's useful life span may be reduced even though the fabric panels are completely serviceable.

[0010] The foregoing noted limitations regarding durability point out that while significant advances have been achieved in wrinkle resistant and/or pucker free wash-n-wear garments in the past, ever with 100% natural fiber garments, room for worthwhile improvement exists.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0011] It is a general object of the invention to provide a novel process and garment that will exhibit all of the advantageous characteristics of a wrinkle resistant and/or pucker free technology while concomitantly enhancing the wear life of the garment.

[0012] It is a related object of the invention to provide a method and garment that exhibits wrinkle resistant characteristics and/or pucker free appearance but does not suffer from a decrease in abrasion or wear resistance along any sharp edge of the garment.

[0013] Another object of the invention is to provide a wrinkle resistant and/or pucker free garment with increased durability of the fabric along critical wear seams, such as for example, an outer collar seam, an outer cuff seam and/or a front platen seam of a shirt. It is a related object of the invention to provide a novel wear enhancement method for outer garments and for pants, where fraying and wear of a bottom edge of the pant cuff, center fly and/or pocket edges will be obviated.

[0014] Another object of the invention is a method and garment of improved durability while simultaneously maintaining the wrinkle resistant and/or pucker free characteristics of the garment.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The invention comprises an improved method of producing wrinkle resistant and/or pucker free garments by applying a chemical cross-linking inhibitor to critical wear areas of the garment prior to curing the garment or pressing a pucker free seam component of the garment.

DRAWINGS

[0016] Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0017] FIG. 1 is a plan view of an exemplary garment comprising a wrinkle resistant and pucker free dress shirt having areas of enhanced durability in accordance with the subject invention;

[0018] FIG. 2 is a detail view of the shirt in FIG. 1, emphasizing the seams of a shirt collar and center placket;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view, taken along section lines 3-3 in FIG. 2, showing internal detail of a collar seam before pressing;

[0020] FIG. 4 shows a partial detail view of a center placket with a frayed distal edge seam (fraying can also occur on the inner edge of the center placket however the outer edge is often subject to initial wear);

[0021] FIG. 5 is a partial detailed view, taken along section lines 5-5 in FIG. 4, showing internal detail of a shirt center placket;

[0022] FIG. 6 shows a partial detail view of a shirt sleeve cuff with a frayed or worn distal edge; and

[0023] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view, taken along section lines 7-7 in FIG. 6, and shows internal structural detail of an outer edge of a shirt sleeve cuff before pressing.

[0024] FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional detail view of an outer edge of a center platen of a dress shirt disclosing application of a cross-linking inhibitor to one type of seam construction; and

[0025] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of an edge of a cuff or collar of a dress shirt showing application of a cross-linking inhibitor to another type of seam construction.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0026] Context of the Invention

[0027] This invention pertains to improving wrinkle-resistant and/or pucker free garment of enhanced durability. A shirt or pants garment can be rendered resistant to wrinkle by the following process. The garment is first treated with a wrinkle resistant finish solution. The solution is applied using various processes. In this, the garment can be dipped in a vat of solution or alternatively the solution can be sprayed onto the garment. After this treatment, the garment is removed and partially dried to remove excess solution. Finally, the cross-links are created in a process of pressing and curing. The resulting garment will be essentially wrinkle-resistant, even after repeated launderings. Wrinkle resistant garments can also be manufactured from post cured fabric, when the resin system is applied to the fabric in the textile finishing mill, but not cured. Curing is only done in the garment factory after garment manufacture and pressing. Wrinkle resistant garments can also be produced by subjecting the pressed garments in a reaction chamber containing sulphur dioxide, formaldehyde and steam, where crosslinking of cellulose occurs in situ.

[0028] Unfortunately, sharp or reversely bent edges of wrinkle-resistant garments tend to wear out before other areas. For example, areas around seams, creases and the edges of garments tend to wear out before the surrounding areas. As a result, these garments may exhibit a “frayed edge” appearance even though the remaining garment is still in good condition. This wear pattern, in a wrinkle resistant garment, can be exacerbated at the edges of garments that are treated to be pucker-free in accordance with the initially referenced related patents. More specifically, in a shirt product the edges of enhanced wear around the collar, the edges of the center platen and around the edge of shirt cuffs. In a pant product, premature wear can occur along the bottom cuff seam, the center fly and at the mouth of pocket edges.

[0029] FIG. 1 illustrates a wrinkle-resistant and/or pucker free shirt garment 10. The shirt is cut from discrete panels of fabric that are sewn together into a final product. In the view of FIG. 1 there is a left front panel 12 and a right front panel 14. The shirt has a collar 16 connected to the left and right front panels by a front-to-back yoke 18. A solid back panel (not shown) is similar in shape to the two front panels combined and the front panels are connected to the back panel by side seams (note particularly the disclosure of related U.S. Pat. No. 6,079,343). The left front panel 12 is releasably connected to the right front panel 14, as viewed in FIG. 1, by a center platen 20 and a row of buttons 22. A left sleeve 24, having an outer cuff 26, is connected at a left arm-hole 28 and a right sleeve 30, having an outer cuff 32, is connected at a right arm-hold 34.

[0030] Collar Component of a Shirt

[0031] FIG. 2 is a partial detail view of the collar area of the FIG. 1 dress shirt. A cross-section of an outer free edge, or collar seam 34, of the collar 16 is shown in FIG. 3. This collar seam is made up several components as discussed in detail in previously noted Wong U.S. Pat. No. 6,070,542. Initially, the fabric used to make the collar seam 34 is treated with a wrinkle-resistant finish solution. The collar seam thus has a wrinkle-resistant exterior fabric 36, which is reversibly folded at an outermost edge 37. The seam also has a wrinkle-resistant interior fabric component 38, which is reversibly folded at an outermost edge 39. A bonding strip 40 is located in the fold of the exterior fabric. An interlining 42 is also preferably used with a collar 16 as shown in FIG. 3. This interlining is placed underneath the exterior fabric 36 and is generally coextensive with the exterior fabric panel. The interlining extends toward the reversibly folded outermost edge 37 of the exterior fabric 36 and into an area in contact with the bonding strip 40. In this embodiment, the interlining is inserted between the bonding strip and the exterior fabric. The interlining does not extend beyond the folded region but stops just short of the fold so that the edge of the interlining generally abuts the fold in the exterior fabric.

[0032] A top stitch 44, as indicated in FIG. 3, traverses through all of the layers of collar fabric: (1) the exterior fabric before the fold; (2) the interlining, if present; (3) the bonding strip; (4) the exterior fabric after the fold; (5) the interior fabric after the fold and (6) the interior fabric before the fold.

[0033] After the fabric layers are stitched together, heat and pressure are applied to the seam 34, usually by a fusing/pressing process as illustrated by directional arrows “A” in FIG. 3. The resin from the bonding strip 40 flows onto the areas of the exterior fabric, the interlining and the interior fabric around the top stitch. As it cools, the resin stiffens the seam and makes it resistant to pucker. The garment is also cured to activate the wrinkle resistant finish as described above. Although FIG. 3, and other figures of the drawings, disclose the seam components is a generally expanded posture, it will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that, following heating and pressing, the edge of the collar is compressed to substantially the same thickness as the remaining portions of the body of the collar.

[0034] While the above treatment makes the collar seam pucker resistant, it also makes the edge of the collar stiff and subject to potential early wear because of the stiffness of the edge of the collar and the brittleness of the reversely bent fabric. In particular, the fabric at the folds will wear before the fabric in surrounding areas. The current invention is drawn to garments in which this excessive wear does not occur. Furthermore, the inventor found that the excessive wear could be prevented without substantially altering the favorable wrinkle-resistant and/or pucker-resistant properties of the garments.

[0035] Center Platen Region of a Shirt

[0036] FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate the center placket of a dress shirt having a pucker-resistant seam and/or wrinkle-resistant fabric. A cross-section of a center placket seam, from the area indicated in FIG. 4, is shown in FIG. 5. In a manner similar to the collar seam 34, an outer seam 46, of the center placket seam 20, contains a reversibly folded exterior fabric 48, a reversibly folded interior fabric 50, and an interlining 52 and a bonding strip 54. One difference is that in this embodiment the bonding strip 54 is not folded and the strip is interposed between the exterior fabric 48 and the interlining 52.

[0037] Once assembled with a top stitch 56, heat and pressure are applied as indicated by the arrows “B” in FIG. 5, which causes the resin from the binding strip to flow into the surrounding fabric and, after cooling, binds the sewing thread and the fabric together. In cases where the shirt fabric is treated with a wrinkle resistant finishing solution, the shirt is cured, creating cross-links and wrinkle resistance. However, the sharp reversely bent edges may have fibers that are more brittle than flat panel areas which creates a potential for wear and fraying.

[0038] As in the instance of shirt collars, the center placket 20 of a dress shirt can be subject to excessive wear at its edges, and particularly the outer edge, as illustrated in FIG. 4 where frayed threads or tendrils 58 are an undesirable byproduct of creating brittle reversely bent fibers during a wrinkle-resistance and/or pucker free treatment.

[0039] Shirt Sleeve Cuff Region

[0040] FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate a cuff 26, of a dress shirt sleeve 24, composed of a wrinkle-resistant fabric and a pucker free outer seam. As shown in FIG. 6 this outer seam is also subject to wear or fraying and fray tendrils 62 are shown in FIG. 6.

[0041] A cross-sectional view of the cuff seam 60, from the area indicated in FIG. 6, is shown in FIG. 7. Similar to the seams described above, the cuff seam 60 contains a reversibly folded exterior fabric 64, a reversibly folded interior fabric 66, an interlining 68 and a bonding strip 70. The bonding strip 70 is positioned in a manner similar to the center placket seam and the seam is sewn together with a top stitch 72 the penetrates all of the layers.

[0042] Heat and pressure are applied as indicated by the arrows “C” in FIG. 7 which cause the resin from the binding strip to flow into the interstices of the surrounding fabric and bind the sewing thread and fabric together. The resulting seam is compressed and the edges that are reversely bent and pressed can be sharp and somewhat brittle from the wrinkle resistant cross-linking process which is exacerbated by the pucker free treatment. As a result, and as in the similar case for collars and center plackets, the cuff seam 60 is subject to excessive wear as an undesirable byproduct of the wrinkle-resistance and/or pucker free treatment.

[0043] Method for Enhancing Durability

[0044] In general terms a dress shirt is constructed in a sequence of steps. First fabric panels of clothes are cut in a cutting room. Fusing with an interlining is carried out as required. Next, the cut pieces are sewn together. Placement of a pucker free fuse tape in the edges of seams such as the collar, cuffs and center platen is performed as needed during the sewing operation, followed by pressing. The garments are then trimmed and inspected after completion of the sewing operation. The assembled garment is then treated with a finishing solution by dipping or spraying. Next, the garments are dried under controlled conditions and sent to a pressing room. The garments are then pressed in a sequence of the side seams first. Next, an application is made of a cross-linking inhibitor to critical edges of the garment such as on the outer edge of the collar, cuffs and center platen. The fronts of the shirt is then pressed and next the back and then the yokes. The sleeves are then pressed. After touching up and inspection the shirt is then cured and re-softened prior to folding and packaging. For vapor phase finishing the garments need to be properly pressed before finishing in the reaction chamber and the inhibitor applied onto the garment parts before this finishing. For post cure fabric, where the resin is applied and dried on the fabric in the textile finishing mill, the garment is properly pressed before curing. This is the same procedure as that used in vapor phase finishing.

[0045] As note above the cross-linking inhibitor of the subject invention is applied during the shirt processing operation prior to pressing and curing for dipping and spray applications. The relevant considerations with respect to the cross-linking inhibitor are the method and region of application, degree of fabric penetration and inhibitor composition.

[0046] As shown in FIG. 8 with a cuff or collar edge portion of a shirt an outer fabric layer 64 and an inner fabric layer 66 are reversely folded and sewn together with a thread 72 with an interlining 68 and fuse tape component 70. In one embodiment of the invention an inhibitor can be applied by being rolled or painted onto an outermost reversely bent region designated with a label “X.” With this surface coating a degree of cross-linking inhibitor is present which will block full cross-linking on the outer most edge of the color or cuff. In an alternative embodiment an additional zone of application “Y” may be added. In this embodiment the fabric may be coated only on the outermost surface or additional inhibitor may be used which will be absorbed into the fabric to a position one half the thickness of the fabric. Still further the zones “X” and “Y” may be dipped into the inhibitor solution and the fabric can be soaked completely through in the “X” and “Y” zones of application. For maximum durability the edge of the collar or cuff may be soaked from the outer edge to a position next adjacent to the thread 72 so that it contacts the outer surface of the fabric along an edge of a fold.

[0047] Turning now to FIG. 9 there is shown an edge of a center platen seam as previously depicted in FIG. 5. In the seam the outermost fabric layer 48 is reversely folded with a leading edge that projects outwardly with respect to the inner layer of fabric 50. In this embodiment a first zone “X” of approximately ninety to one hundred and twenty degrees operably receives a coating of a cross-linking inhibitor. Alternatively a second zone “Y” can be added of another thirty to forty five degrees can be added to receive penetration of tan inhibitor into the edge of the layer 48 to a depth of approximately 50% or alternatively 100%. Finally, for maximum durability the cross linking inhibitor can be applied by dipping the edge of the platen through an additional zone “Z” so that the entire free edge of the center platen is soaked up to a region of approximately the sewing thread 56.

[0048] From the foregoing, it will be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art that a lesser amount of inhibitor will emphasize the wrinkle resistant and/or pucker resistant properties of the garment while a greater amount of inhibitor will emphasize the durability of the garment. However, when the inhibitor is applied in an area with an interlining, e.g. collars, cuffs and center plackets, the smoothness appearance will not be affected.

[0049] In summary, a garment is treated with inhibitor in areas that will be subject to excessive wear. The treatment inhibits or eliminates the wrinkle-resistant cross-linking in these areas. As a result, the garment maintains an over all wrinkle-resistant appearance while the durability of the excessive wear areas can be significantly increased to the levels of untreated fabric.

[0050] Cross-Linking Inhibitor

[0051] In the present invention, a chemical that inhibits cross-linking is used to treat a wrinkle resistant and/or pucker free garment at wear points. The chemical inhibits cross-linking that occurs in wrinkle-resistant garments so that the durability of the treated area is significantly increased. In many cases, the durability increases to the levels of untreated fabric. The preferred cross-linking inhibitor is a buffer solution. In a preferred embodiment, the pH of the buffer is about 9-10. However buffers with a pH level higher, up to 11, will also function, however, the degree of application should be limited.

[0052] A preferred inhibitor composition is sodium tetraborate. A saturated sodium tetraborate solution is preferred although good results can also be achieved using a concentration of about 20-30 g/l. Although sodium tetraborate is preferred, related compounds and salts that are known to have essentially the same properties in solution as sodium tetraborate can also be used. Some examples are: B4Na2O7.10H2O, borate salts, tetrasodium salts, decahydrates, sodium diborate decahydrate, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, Na2B4O7.10H2O, Solubor, sodium borates, B4H20Na2O17, disodium tetraborate decahydrate, sodium borate decahydrate, fused borax, borax glass, fused sodium borate, borax decahydrate, borascu, baricin, gerstly borate and sodium pyroborate decahydrate.

[0053] In addition, other chemicals or buffers that can achieve a pH of 9-11 can be used to inhibit chemical cross-linking. For example, boric acid containing buffers, tetrasodium salts, decahydrates, sodium bicarbonate with sodium carbonate (pH about 10), trisodium orthophosphate (pH about 11), sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate/sodium hydroxide mixtures and disodium hydrogen phosphate/sodium hydroxide mixtures can be used.

[0054] Furthermore, chemicals can be used singly or mixed to achieve the optimum conditions of a pH in the range of about 9-11. Of course, some chemicals and combinations will work better than others in a given set of conditions. The best results presently known are achieved with sodium tetraborate solutions. Chemicals used singly or mixed to achieve a pH even above 11 can be used to achieve the result if there is no discoloration for white material or color change for dyed materials. For alternative resin finish systems the same methodology can be applied. The pH of the treated parts is adjusted to a pH which will inhibit reaction of the system, thus retaining the fabric strength close to that of original fabric.

[0055] The cross-linking inhibitor is preferably applied to the garment either manually or by an automated process. An essential feature, however, is to apply the inhibitor only to those areas of the garment that are subject to excessive wear. Preferred methods of application are by brush, dropper, a rotary applicator, dipping, spraying, (or vapor deposition.)

[0056] In order to protect the areas subject to excessive wear, the cross-linking inhibitor solution is applied during processing of the shirt, prior to heating and curing steps. For example, to protect the edge of a shirt collar or center placket, the inhibitor is applied in sufficient quantities to coat the outer surface of the edge of the collar, cuff or center placket. Alternatively, to increase the durability of the garment inhibitor is applied to penetrate the fabric, at an edge to a depth of half of the thickness of the reverse bend outer fabric. For maximum toughness and durability, the inhibitor is applied in sufficient quantity to soak the fabric at the edge of the seam from the point where the top stitch enters the exterior fabric, around the edge of the seam, to the point where the top stitch extends through the interior fabric.

[0057] Treatment of a shirt or pant cuff is similar to the treatment of the collar and center placket. In order to protect the areas subject to excessive wear, a cross-linking inhibitor solution is applied to the edge of the cuff during of the processing of the shirt or pants. For example, to protect the edge of the cuff, the inhibitor solution can be applied in various amounts from just coating the outer edge of the shirt or pant cuff to penetrating the edge by 50% to soaking the edge area from the stitch to the edge of the cuff.

EXAMPLES

[0058] The following examples demonstrate a specific application of the invention to shirts and pants. The shirts are first dipped or sprayed with the wrinkle resistant finish solution, extracted and partially dried. Next, a sodium tetraborate solution is applied to any part of the shirt requiring treatment, such as outer edges of collar, cuff or center placket. The amount of solution needed is the minimum amount to wet the parts to a desired depth. The treated shirts are then pressed and cured just as one would do in normal garment production.

[0059] Pants are dipped or sprayed with a wrinkle finish solution, extracted and dried. After normal pressing, but prior to curing, any part of the pants that are subject to excessive wear are treated with the cross-linking inhibitor, e.g. the crease edges of the front and back of the bottom hem. As with the shirt application, sufficient solution is used to wet the parts. The pants are then cured in the normal manner. The inhibitor can also be applied to the garment prior to pressing.

[0060] In the case of garments made from post-cured fabric, the cross-linking inhibitor is applied to the parts of the garments before final curing and/or before pressing. In the instance of garments adopting the vapor phase finishing using formaldehyde gas, the inhibitor is applied to the parts before the garments are placed in the application chamber.

[0061] In the following experiments, fabrics treated with cross-linking inhibitor sodium tetraborate (STB) were tested for durability to home laundering.

[0062] Fabrics Tested:

[0063] Broadcloth: white 100% cotton broadcloth; 148×70 50s×80s/2

[0064] Pinpoint oxford: white 100% pin point oxford; 160×72 80s/2×80s/2

[0065] The fabrics were first treated with wrinkle resistant finish solution. After that, the fabrics were treated with a sodium tetraborate (STB) solution and then cured to activate the wrinkle resistant properties of the finish solution. To test durability, the resulting fabric was washed in a Kenmore® washing machine and tumble dried in accordance with AATCC135-4a until yarn breakage/hole formation (abrasion) is detected in the sharp edges of collars, cuffs and/or center plackets. The number of wash cycles until abrasion occurred was recorded.

[0066] In order to test the effects of the STB treatment, some fabrics were left untreated or uncured as indicated in Table 1. The results show that the STB treatment increased the durability of the cured fabrics. Untreated broadcloth abrades after 7,000 cycles. In contrast, STB treated broadcloth abrades only after 11,000 cycles. Similarly, untreated pinpoint oxford abrades after 12,000 cycles while treated pinpoint oxford abrade only after 25,000 cycles. 1

TABLE 1
Effects of sodium tetraborate (STB) solution on
wrinkle-resistant shirt fabric.
STB solutionAbrasion
FabricappliedCured/Uncured(cycles)
BroadclothNoCured 7,000
BroadclothYesCured11,000
BroadclothNoUncured11,000
BroadclothYesUncured11,000
Pinpoint OxfordNoCured12,000
Pinpoint OxfordYesCured25,000
Pinpoint OxfordNoUncured26,000
Pinpoint OxfordYesUncured26,000

[0067] Fabrics are also subject to resin finishing. The effect of STB treatment on resin-finished fabric was tested. BASF resin indicator is used to measure the degree of cross-linking during resin finishing. Properly cured cotton turns green while inadequately cured cotton turns purple.

[0068] The degree of cross-linking during resin finishing was also tested using the dye Direct Sky Blue 6B 300%. The resinated cotton fabric was dyed with Direct Sky Blue 6B 300%. The degree of dye pickup reflects the degree of cross-linking. Good cross-linking reduces dye pick up and results in a light blue colored fabric. Poor cross-linking results in a dark blue colored fabric. As shown in Table 2 below, STB solution treatment did inhibit cross-linking as indicated by the Purple BASF resin indicator color and the dark blue fabric color after Direct Sky Blue 6B 300% treatment. 2

TABLE 2
Effects of sodium tetraborate (STB) solution on
fabric with resin finishing
STB solutionBASF resin
FabricappliedindicatorBlue dye
BroadclothNoGreenLight blue
BroadclothYesPurpleDark blue
PinpointNoGreenLight blue
Oxford
PinpointYesPurpleDark blue
Oxford

[0069] In addition, the effect of STB on pant fabric was tested. A typical fabric for making pants, 117×58 20s×10s, was used. Both STB treated and STB untreated fabrics were washed. After washing, the pants were checked for a broken bottom hem at the crease edges.

[0070] The following results were obtained. The original fabric lasted 41 washes until a broken hem appeared. After wrinkle-resistant finishing and curing, the fabric only lasted 30 washes. When the fabric was subjected to STB treatment in addition to the wrinkle resistant processing, as explained above, the resulting fabric lasted for 40 washes.

[0071] A Martindale abrasion test was performed. This test, described for example in U.S. Pat. No. 5,395,989, simulates wear during daily use. Briefly, the fabric is brought into contact with a piston. Constant pressure is maintained between the fabric and the piston as the piston moves in a rotating pattern until the fabric is worn. The number of rotations needed to wear the fabric is recorded. The higher the number of revolutions required to wear the fabric, the greater the durability of the fabric.

[0072] Test results were as follows. Without STB treatment, wrinkle resistant fabrics lasted 30,000 revolutions. After STB treatment, the fabric lasted 43,000 revolutions. Thus, STB treatment resulted in increased resistance to simulated daily wear as measured by the Martindale abrasion tester.

[0073] The pant fabric was also tested with BASF resin indicator and Blue dye, as explained above, to test directly the effects of STB treatment on cross-linking. The BASF resin indicator showed that the STB treatment successfully inhibited cross-linking. The original pant fabric, which has no cross-linking, stains purple. After the wrinkle resistant processing, the pant fabric stained green indicating the proper level of cross-linking. After STB treatment, the fabric stained purple indicating that the cross-linking process was inhibited by the STB treatment.

[0074] The Blue dye test also demonstrated that the STB treatment inhibited cross-linking. The original pant fabric, which has no cross-linking, stains dark blue. After the wrinkle resistant processing, the pant fabric stained light blue. As explained above, the cross-linking reduces dye uptake. Therefore, light blue staining indicates the proper level of cross-linking. After STB treatment, the fabric stained dark blue indicating that the cross-linking process was inhibited by the STB treatment.

[0075] In a final example, a normally button down shirt has two buttons on each side of the front to produce the button down collars. Each button is machine sewn with a non-woven interlining reinforced at the back of the shell fabric. The following example demonstrates the improvement of the button strength as measured with a button snap tester which records the strength required to remove a button from the shirt. In a control (dipped shirt) 5 kg is required to remove the button. A small drop of inhibitor is dripped onto the shirt at the spot of button sewing prior to pressing and 8 kg is needed to remove the button an increase of 60% for the dipped shirt.

[0076] Summary of Major Advantages of the Invention

[0077] After reading and understanding the foregoing detailed description of a garment seam or edge of improved durability, and method of creation in accordance with preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be appreciated that several distinct advantages are achieved.

[0078] Without attempting to detail all of the improvements that are specifically disclosed or inherent in the complete disclosure, the addition of a cross-linking inhibitor to an outer or sharp edge of a collar, center platen or sleeve cuff of a dress shirt or the bottom cuff, fly or mouth of pockets of a pant product will enhance the wear life of the shirt and pant product. The foregoing can be achieved, not only for a wrinkle resistant garment, but also for a combination wrinkle resistant garment that is also pucker free by the addition of fuse tape in outer stitch locations.

[0079] Enhanced durability is achieved by coating an outer edge of the fabric in an arc of between 90 and 120 degrees. For increased durability a cross-linking inhibitor an inhibitor may be applied in sufficient quantity to penetrate the outer garment edge by at least 50%. Maximum durability can be achieved by soaking the edge completely from an edge of the garment up the closest stitch of the cuff, collar or center platen.

[0080] In a preferred embodiment the cross-linking inhibitor is sodium tetraborate having a pH value of between 9 and 10.

[0081] In describing the invention, reference has been made to preferred embodiments and illustrative advantages of the invention. Those skilled in the art, however, and familiar with the instant disclosure of the invention, may recognize additions, deletions, modifications substitutions and other changes which will fall within the purview of the subject invention.