Title:
Padded clothing articles and method for making the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An article of clothing with one or more padding structures and a method for making the same is disclosed. The one or more padding structures comprise free micro-beads that are encapsulated within one or more corresponding pouches. The padding structures are either permanently fitted with or secured to the clothing body of the article of clothing or are configured to detectably couple to the clothing body of the article of clothing. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a bra comprises cups that are padded or partially padded with padding structures comprising encapsulated free micro-beads.



Inventors:
Stachowski, Barbara (Orinda, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/819549
Publication Date:
10/13/2005
Filing Date:
04/06/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41B17/00; A41C3/00; A41C3/10; A41C3/14; A41D1/02; A41D1/06; A41D13/00; A41D13/02; A41D27/26; A41D31/00; A61F2/12; A61F2/52; A61F5/02; A62B17/00; F41H1/00; (IPC1-7): A41D1/02; A41C3/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090017723GARMENT WITH BREAST CUPS, SUCH AS BRASSIEREJanuary, 2009Hirashima
20080244805Apparel with Built-in UndergarmentOctober, 2008Griffin
20100022165BREAST SHAPING AND LIFTING SUPPORT GARMENTJanuary, 2010Silverman et al.
20060089085Novelty ladies swimsuitApril, 2006Ruggiero et al.
20060252344COMPOSITE AIR-PERMEABLE ELASTOMERIC BRA CUPNovember, 2006Jian
20080261491BRA WINGS USING ELASTIC SPACER FABRICOctober, 2008Scheininger et al.
20090276935Disposable and sanitory upper torso garment for shielding the skin of a person from a brassiereNovember, 2009Epps
20080009226Nipple profile suppression deviceJanuary, 2008Mouton
20070099542NURSING PAD WRAPPED BODYMay, 2007Sakaguchi et al.
20060121826BrasserieJune, 2006Nazzaro
20050070817Lavage assist deviceMarch, 2005Mueller Jr.



Primary Examiner:
HALE, GLORIA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAVERSTOCK & OWENS LLP (SUNNYVALE, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A padding structure comprising: a. a pouch structure; and b. free micro-beads encapsulated within the pouch structure.

2. The padding structure of claim 1, further comprising means for attaching the pouch structure to a clothing body.

3. The padding structure of claim 1, wherein the means for attaching the pouch structure to a clothing body comprises one or more attaching feature selected from the group consisting of a snap feature, hook feature, a button feature, a hook and loop fabric feature and a sleeve or pocket feature.

4. The padding structure of claim 1, wherein the pouch structure is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of an extruded material and a woven material.

5. The padding structure of claim 1, wherein the free micro-bead comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of acrylic, polystyrene, alumina and silica.

6. The padding structure of claim 1, wherein the micro-beads have an average size in a range of 0.5 to 500 microns.

7. A garment comprising a fabric body and one or more padding structures, wherein the one or more padding structures comprising encapsulated free micro-beads.

8. The garment of claim 7, wherein the one or more padding structures are configured to detachable coupled to the fabric body.

9. The garment of claim 8, wherein the one or more padding structures are configured to detachably coupled to the fabric body through pocket or sleeve features on the fabric body.

10. The garment of claim 8, wherein the one or more padding structures are configured to detachably coupled to the fabric body through one or more attaching features selected from the group consisting of a snap feature, hook feature, a button feature and a hook and loop fabric feature.

11. The garment of claim 7, wherein the free micro-bead comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of acrylic, polystyrene, alumina and silica.

12. The garment of claim 7, wherein the micro-beads have an average size in a range of 0.5 to 500 microns.

13. The garment of claim 7, wherein the fabric body is fashioned as an article of clothing selected from the group consisting of a coat, pants, a shirts, a blouses, swim-wear, a bras, underwear and socks

14. The garment of claim 7, wherein the fabric body is fashioned as a bra with cups for supporting breasts, where the one or more padding structures are coupled to the cups.

15. A clothing body comprising a plurality of pouch structures formed between two or more layers of flexible material, wherein each of the pouches encapsulate free-micro beads.

16. The clothing body of claim 15, wherein the free micro-bead comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of acrylic, polystyrene, alumina and silica.

17. The clothing body of claim 15, wherein the micro-beads have an average size in a range of 0.5 to 500 microns.

18. The clothing body of claim 15, wherein the two or more layers of flexible material are formed from one or more materials selected from the group consisting of synthetic fibers, natural fiber and plastic.

19. The clothing body of claim 15, wherein the two or more layers of flexible material are fashioned into a bra.

20. A bra comprising: a. cups for supporting breasts, the cups being at least partially padded with a free micro-beads; and b. one or more strap members for securing the cups a body.

21. The bra of claim 20, wherein the free micro-beads comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of acrylic, polystyrene, alumina and silica.

22. The bra of claim 21, wherein the free micro-beads have an average size in a range of 0.5 to 500 microns.

23. The bra of claim 20, wherein the free micro-beads are encapsulated in padding structures coupled to the cups.

24. The bra of claim 20, wherein the padding structures are configured to detachably couple to the cups.

25. A method of making a padding structure comprising: a) forming a padding structure with one or more pouch features; b) at least partially filling the one or more pouch features with free micro-beads; and c) sealing the pouch features, thereby encapsulating the free micro-beads within with in the pouch features.

26. The method of claim 25, wherein the padding structure is formed with fabric.

27. The method of claim 25, further comprises attaching the padding structure to an article of clothing.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of clothing. More particularly, this invention relates to clothing with padding or padded structures

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are number padding structures available that are used to distribute a bearing load, such as on shoulder a strap. Also, there are padding structures that are designed to reduce effects of an impact to a portion of a body that can result, for example as a result of collision. Padding structures also have a variety uses in clothing articles. For example, padding structures are used in shoes to cushion feet while standing, walking or running. Padding structures are also used for a variety or cosmetic application, either alone or in combination with an article of clothing. For example, padding structures are often used in the shoulder regions of a coat to provide shape or form to the shoulder regions of the coat while the coat is being worn.

Prior art padding structures suffer from a number or shortcomings. Prior art padding structures are usually formed from cloth, foam or a combination thereof and do not look or feel natural. Further, such padding structures do not conform readily conform to a variety or body contours or curvatures. Also, these padding structures can become lumpy, deformed, compressed and/or displaced after wearing or washing the padding structure or the article of clothing to which padding structures are attached to. Accordingly, these padding structures do not look or feel uniform.

Liquid or gel-based padding structures have fluidity and readily conform to contours and curvatures of the body. The weight of liquid or gel-based padding structures often make their use as structures in clothing prohibitive and their cost to manufacture can be very high. Also, such liquid or gel-based padding structures are subject to puncture and leakage. Accordingly, there is a continued need for padding structures that easily conforms to the contours or curvatures of the body. Preferably, such padding structures remain supple and hold their form even after several uses, deformations and/or washes. Preferably, these padding structures are light weight and can be readily integrated into clothing, such as coats, pants, shirts, blouses, swim wear, bras, underwear, socks and the like.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a padded article with a padding structure. The padded article is preferably an article of clothing with one or more padding structures couple to a clothing body. The clothing body and the padding structures can be formed from any suitable material, but are preferably formed from flexible materials that are molded, woven or a combination thereof and are fashioned to conform to contours of a human body; in other words, the article of clothing is preferably a fitted article of clothing. For example, the clothing body is fashioned as a coat, a pair of pants, a shirt, a blouse, swim-wear, a bra, underwear, socks or any other clothing garment. Alternatively, the article of clothing can be fashioned as a blanket, a wrap, a shawl or the like.

In accordance with the embodiments of the invention, a padding region or regions on the article of clothing comprise a padding structures with one or more pouches that encapsulate free micro-beads. Free micro-beads, herein refers to dry micro-beads-bead that are not combined with an oil, wax, silicone, polymer or any other binder materials and wherein, the micro-beads can readily deform and conform to different contours or curvatures of a human body to provide support and/or form to the area of a body without some of the aforementioned shortcomings.

In accordance with the embodiments of the invention, padding structures are glued, sewn or otherwise permanently secured to one or more padding regions of a clothing body. In accordance with alternative embodiments of the invention, the one or more padding structures are configured to detachably couple to one or more padding regions of a clothing body through attachment features. For example, padding structures comprising encapsulated micro-beads are configured to slip into for fit into a sleeve or pocket located on the clothing body. In addition to, or alternatively to sleeves and/or pockets, a padding structure can be configured to detachably couple to a clothing body using any number of other attaching features know in the art including, but not limited to, snap features, hook features, button features, hook and loop fabric features and combination thereof.

The micro-beads utilized in the present invention can be formed from any number of materials or combinations of materials, including acrylic, polystyrene, alumina and silica. Preferably, the micro-beads are formed from polystyrene and have an average size in a range of 0.5 to 500 microns and provide a sensation, a feeling or a physical characteristic of fluidity.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, an article of clothing is a bra with cups for supporting breasts and with one or more strap members for securing the cups a body. The cups, and/or other portions of the bra, are at least partially padded with one or more padding structures comprising free micro-beads, such as described above. The cups and/or other portions of the bra can be padded with padding structures that are permanently fitted and secured to the bra or are, alternatively, configured to detachably couple to the cups and/or other portions of the bra, such as described above.

In accordance with further embodiments of the invention, padding structures comprising encapsulated free micro-beads are configured as shoe inserts for placing inside of shoes, including casual shoes, dress shoes, running shoes, hiking boots or any other footwear, to provide light weight padding and/or support to feet while standing, walking running or hiking. Also, padding structures in accordance with the embodiments of the invention can be built into the interior of shoes or other footwear to provide padding and/or support while standing, walking running or hiking.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES

FIG. 1 shows a padding structure with encapsulated free micro-beads, in accordance with the embodiments of the invention.

FIGS. 2A-B show a clothing body with a plurality of pouch structures encapsulating free micro-beads, in accordance with the embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 3 shows bra structure padded with micro-beads, in accordance with the embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 4 shows a bra and pants outfit each padded with micro-beads, in accordance with further embodiments of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a padded structure 100, in accordance with the embodiments of the invention, comprises a pouch that be formed from one or more pieces flexible sheets 103 and 105. The sheets of flexible material 103 and 105 can be formed from any suitable material or materials, but are preferably formed from a molded or a extruded material or materials, such as plastic and/or a woven material or materials (i.e., synthetic fibers, natural fiber), such as cloth woven from cotton, nylon, rayon and/or any combinations thereof.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the padding structure 100 preferably comprises free-micro-beads 101 encapsulated within the sheets of flexible material 103 and 104. The free micro-beads 101 are unbound by oils, waxes, polymers or other binders and can flow freely within the pouch to deformed or conform to different contours or curves of a body when the padding structures 100 comes in intimate contact with a portion of the body. The free micro-beads 101 are from any a number of materials and/or combinations of materials including, but not limited to, acrylic, polystyrene, alumina and silica. Preferably, the micro-beads 100 are formed from polystyrene and have an average diameter in a range of 0.5 to 500 microns. Polystyrene micro-beads are preferred because they are light-weight, washable and hydrophobic and, therefore, easy to dry. Further polystyrene micro-beads provide good insulation making them particularly suitable for padded swim-wear, such as wet suits for diving, surfing and swimming.

The padding structure 100, in accordance with the embodiments of the invention, is integrated or permanently attached to a clothing body (not shown). For example, the padding structure 100 is sewn to, glued or otherwise fixed to a padding region of the clothing body. In yet further embodiments of the invention, the padding structure 100 is configured to detachably couple to a padding region of the clothing body. For example, the padding structure 100 can be configured to insert or fit into a pocket or sleeve on the clothing body. In addition to, or alternatively to a pocket or sleeve, the padding structure can be configured to detachably couple to a padding region of the clothing body through any number attaching features 107 and 109. The attaching features 107 and 109 can include any attaching features know in the art including, but not limited to, snap features, hook features, button features, hook and loop fabric features and combination thereof. Accordingly, the attaching features 107 and 109 are configured to mated with a complementary or matched attaching features on or near the padding region of the clothing body.

Referring now to FIGS. 2A-B, in accordance with the embodiments of the invention a portion of a clothing body construction 200 can include a plurality of pockets 201, 201′ and 201″ that each encapsulate free micro-beads 202, as described in detail above. In accordance with the embodiments of the invention, the pockets 201, 201′ and 201″ are formed from two or more layers of fabric 203 and 205, or other flexible material or materials that are sewn, fused, glued or otherwise joined together to form the pouches 201, 201′ and 201″ for encapsulating the free micro-beads 203 therein. The clothing body construction 200 is particularly useful for providing a cushion and/or insulation over a large region of clothing. For example, the clothing body construction 200 described above is useful for fabricating wetsuits, cushioned socks and the like. While the pouches 201, 201′ and 201″ are shown as squares or rectangles, any number of pouch shapes are consider to be within the scope of the present invention. For example, the pouches 201, 201′ and 201″ can be formed as channels, circles, rings, triangles or any other regular or irregular shape and combination of shapes. The preferred shape or shapes of the pouches 201, 201′ and 201″ will depend on the intended application as well as desired appearance. Also, while the free-micro beads 202, are shown as being directly encapsulated by the layers of the fabric 203 and 205, it will be clear to one skilled in the art from the description above and below that the free micro-beads 202 can first be encapsulated in a containment pouch or bag and then further encapsulated by the layer of fabric 203 and 205.

Now referring to FIG. 3, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, an article of clothing comprises a bra 300 with cups 305 for supporting breasts and one or more strap members 303 for securing the cups to a body 307. The cups 305, and/or other portions of the bra 300 are at least partially padded with a free micro-beads 301 that are encapsulated in a pouch of a padding structure, such as described above. The free micro-beads 301 are encapsulated in the padding structure that is integral a clothing body of the bra (the cups 305 or strap members 303) or are encapsulated between two or more layer of flexible material that detachably couple to the clothing body of the bra 300, as described in detail above. In accordance with yet further embodiments of the invention, the free micro-beads 401 are encapsulated within a padding region on a pair of pants 403 to provide an appearance of lift and/or form, such as shown in FIG. 4.

While the present invention has been described in terms of specific embodiments incorporating details to facilitate the understanding of the principles of construction and operation of the invention. As such, references, herein, to specific embodiments and details thereof are not intended to limit the scope of the claims appended hereto. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications can be made in the embodiment chosen for illustration without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Specifically, padding structures with free micro-beads, in accordance with the present invention, can be configured to couple to or integrate with other articles or garments, including straps, wraps, blankets, and any other article or garment where padding, insulation or a combination thereof is desired.





 
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