Title:
Garment having novel attachment device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a partially-detachable garment having a bottom portion that includes an attachment device that provides tension and support between a fixed back surface and an unfixed front surface of the bottom portion. A first aspect of the invention provides a garment, comprising a top portion, a bottom portion including a front and a back, and at least one tab extending from the back of the bottom portion, wherein the at least one tab is secured at the front of the bottom portion adjacent a wearer's hip.



Inventors:
Fitzgerald, Jodie A. (Charlton, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/182364
Publication Date:
02/09/2006
Filing Date:
07/15/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/00
View Patent Images:
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20090293167Yoga pants with padded kneesDecember, 2009Kottler
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20090300815NECK CONTOURED PROTECTIVE WRAPDecember, 2009Nunez
20080029333MUSICAL MATERNITY BELTFebruary, 2008Oren OZ.
20080066211Garment notably for practising a sportMarch, 2008Laugt et al.



Primary Examiner:
SOLD, JENA A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOFFMAN WARNICK LLC (Albany, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A garment, comprising: a top portion; a bottom portion including a front and a back; and at least one tab extending from the back of the bottom portion, wherein the at least one tab is secured at the front of the bottom portion adjacent a wearer's hip.

2. The garment of claim 1, wherein the bottom portion further includes a crotch between the back and the front, such that the front passes between a wearer's legs and can be secured at the at least one tab.

3. The garment of claim 1, wherein the at least one tab further includes at least one attachment device selected from a snap, a button, a clip, a buckle, a zipper, a tie, tape, glue, a magnet, and hooks and loops.

4. The garment of claim 1, wherein the securing of the at least one tab provides a back-to-front tension at the front of the bottom portion adjacent a wearer's hip.

5. The garment of claim 1, wherein the garment is selected from a group consisting of a swimsuit, an exercise suit, a body suit, and an undergarment.

6. The garment of claim 1, wherein the top portion includes a downwardly-extending member that substantially covers the at least one tab when worn.

7. The garment of claim 6, wherein the downwardly-extending member includes ruffles.

8. The garment of claim 1, wherein the front expands to cover a wearer's stomach.

9. The garment of claim 8, wherein the front includes at least one of a stomach control panel and a stomach support panel.

10. The garment of claim 1, wherein the front includes an elastic member for holding the front against a wearer's torso.

11. The garment of claim 1, wherein the at least one tab substantially covers a wearer's hip area.

12. The garment of claim 1, further comprising a flotation device.

13. A garment, comprising: a top portion; a bottom portion including a front and a back; and at least one tab extending from a back surface of at least one of the top portion and the bottom portion, wherein the at least one tab is secured at the front of the bottom portion adjacent a front surface of a wearer's hip and provides a back-to-front tension.

14. The garment of claim 13, wherein the bottom portion further includes a crotch portion between the back and the front, such that the front passes between a wearer's legs and can be secured to the at least one tab.

15. The garment of claim 13, wherein the at least one tab further includes at least one attachment device selected from a snap, a button, a clip, a buckle, a zipper, a tie, tape, glue, a magnet, and hooks and loops.

16. The garment of claim 13, wherein the garment is selected from a group consisting of a swimsuit, an exercise suit, a body suit, and an undergarment.

17. The garment of claim 13, wherein the top portion includes a downwardly-extending member that substantially covers the at least one tab.

18. The garment of claim 17, wherein the downwardly-extending member includes ruffles.

19. The garment of claim 13, wherein the front expands to cover a wearer's stomach.

20. The garment of claim 19, wherein the front includes at least one of a stomach control panel and a stomach support panel.

21. The garment of claim 13, wherein the front includes an elastic member for holding the front against a wearer's torso.

22. The garment of claim 13, further comprising a flotation device.

23. A garment, comprising: a top portion; a bottom portion including a front, a back, and a crotch portion disposed between the front and the back such that the front passes between a wearer's legs; and at least one tab extending from a back surface of at least one of the top portion and the bottom portion, wherein the at least one tab substantially covers a wearer's hip area and is secured at the front of the bottom portion adjacent a front surface of a wearer's hip and provides a back-to-front tension.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The current application claims the benefit of co-pending U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/599,323, filed Aug. 6, 2004, and co-pending U.S. Design patent application Ser. No. 29/209,391, filed Jul. 15, 2004, each of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Technical Field

The present invention relates generally to the field of wearable garments and more particularly to garments having an easily detachable bottom portion to facilitate diaper changes or toileting.

(2) Related Art

Apparel worn while engaging in a number of activities take the form of a one-piece body suit or a multi-piece suit with interconnecting components. For example, women's and girls' swimsuits, leotards worn during dance or gymnastics, and various women's and girls' undergarments take such forms. Frequently, the wearers of such garments must completely or substantially remove the garments in order to use toilet facilities. The removal of the top portions of such garments is both unnecessary and often undesirable.

Garments for use by infants and small children, both male and female, often have a similar form. When a diaper change is needed, such garments must similarly be completely or substantially removed, unnecessarily exposing more of the infant's or child's body, particularly the torso, than is required to facilitate a diaper change. Such garments also make redressing the infant or child after diapering more difficult.

A number of garments are known which facilitate diaper changes or use of toilet facilities without requiring the complete or substantial removal of the garment. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,374,412 to Canlas teaches a one-piece swimming garment having a tank top member, a skirt member, and a panty member, the panty member comprising an upper front portion and a lower front portion, wherein the lower front portion passes between the legs of a wearer and fastens to the upper front portion, with the attachment taking place above the pelvic bone area. A skirt portion may optionally be included. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,035,439 to Chin teaches a one-piece garment having a crotch portion which passes between the legs of a wearer and attaches to a top portion. Such attachment is made either above the hip at a wearer's side or along a wearer's back. In some embodiments, a skirt portion covers the points of attachment between the crotch portion and the front portion. Finally, U.S. Pat. No. 5,561,858 to Poirier teaches a swimsuit for an infant wearing a diaper comprising a tubular portion for enclosing the infant's torso and a T-shaped portion which passes between the infant's legs and is secured to the lower front edge of the tubular portion.

Such garments suffer from a number of deficiencies, however, including improper hip coverage and improper tension between their fixed and attachable portions, resulting in a less supportive garment than is provided by one-piece, non-detachable garments. In addition, the attachment locations of the garments above are inconvenient and result in a bulging of the garment at the attachment points. Accordingly, there is a need in the art for a partially-detachable garment that facilitates toileting and diapering while providing greater support and a sleeker appearance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a partially-detachable garment having a bottom portion that includes an attachment device that provides tension and support between a fixed back surface and an unfixed front surface of the bottom portion. A first aspect of the invention provides a garment, comprising a top portion, a bottom portion including a front and a back, and at least one tab extending from the back of the bottom portion, wherein the at least one tab is secured at the front of the bottom portion adjacent a wearer's hip.

A second aspect of the invention provides a garment, comprising a top portion, a bottom portion including a front and a back, and at least one tab extending from a back surface of at least one of the top portion and the bottom portion, wherein the at least one tab is secured at the front of the bottom portion adjacent a front surface of a wearer's hip and provides a back-to-front tension.

A third aspect of the invention provides a garment, comprising a top portion, a bottom portion including a front, a back, and a crotch portion disposed between the front and the back such that the front passes between a wearer's legs, and at least one tab extending from a back surface of at least one of the top portion and the bottom portion, wherein the at least one tab substantially covers a wearer's hip area and is secured at the front of the bottom portion adjacent a front surface of a wearer's hip and provides a back-to-front tension.

The foregoing and other features of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The embodiments of this invention will be described in detail, with reference to the following figures, wherein like designations denote like elements, and wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a side view of a garment according to the invention, wherein the front surface of the bottom portion is unattached to the attachment devices.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of an alternate embodiment of the garment of FIG. 1, wherein the front surface of the bottom portion is narrower and the back surface of the bottom portion is wider and wherein one of the attachment devices has been secured to the front surface of the bottom portion to provide a back-to-front tension.

FIG. 3 shows an exploded view of an alternate embodiment of the invention comprising optional dress-like components covering the partly-detachable garment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a garment 1, depicted as a swimsuit, comprises a top portion 10 and a bottom portion 20. As shown, bottom portion 20 comprises a back 22, a front 24, and a crotch 26, with the back 22 being fixedly or nonfixedly attached to top portion 10 such that unattached front 24 passes through a wearer's legs to cover the wearer's groin and, optionally, a portion of the wearer's stomach. One or more tabs 28 provide a point of attachment for front 24. While tabs 28 are shown extending from back 22 of bottom portion 20, they may similarly extend from a back surface (not shown) of top portion 10.

Additional components maybe included, such as a downwardly extending flap 12 to conceal tabs 28, an elastic member 14 to hold front 24 against the wearer's torso, a stomach control panel 25 to prevent protrusion of a wearer's stomach, or stomach support panel to provide upward support of a wearer's stomach as may be desirable during pregnancy. Flap 12 may include decorative components, such as ruffles, to enhance the garment's appearance.

Where garment 1 of the present invention is to be used as a swimsuit, such as the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, one or more flotation devices 16 may similarly be incorporated into the garment. Suitable flotation devices 16 may include, for example, inflated or inflatable bladder-type devices or buoyant foam devices. Other suitable devices will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. Preferably, flotation device 16 is incorporated into top portion 10, although incorporation into other portions of garment 1 is also possible.

Referring now to FIG. 2, an alternate embodiment of garment 1 is shown. Tabs 28 are broader, substantially covering a wearer's hip area and a portion of a wearer's stomach. Front 24 has correspondingly been made narrower, covering a smaller portion of a wearer's stomach than the embodiment of FIG. 1 and eliminating the bulking common to garments with attachment locations at a wearer's side. As shown, one tab 28 has been secured to front 24, yielding a garment 1 having the general appearance of being one piece. Tabs 28 may include any attachment device known in the art, including, for example, snaps, buttons, clips, buckles, zippers, ties, tape, glue, magnets, and hooks and loops (e.g., Velcro®). Tabs 28 are positioned such that their attachment to front 24 is adjacent the wearer's hip, preferably adjacent a front surface of the wearer's hip. This arrangement results in a back-to-front tension T, which provides a tighter fit and more supportive garment than other attachment arrangements. This back-to-front tension attachment creates a complete circle around the mid section and the hip section of the a wearer, that is not provided by prior art.

Although depicted as a swimsuit in FIGS. 1 and 2, the garment of the present invention may be any similar article, including, for example, a body suit, an exercise suit, or an undergarment, and may be sized for use by an infant, child, girl, or woman. FIG. 3, for example, shows an exploded view of an alternate embodiment of the invention further comprising a dress-like portion 30 (shown in phantom), which may be fixedly or non-fixedly attached to top portion 10. Dress-like portion 30 may comprise sleeves, whether a short-sleeve 32a or a long-sleeve 32b, and a skirt portion 34. As in the garment of FIG. 2, front 24 is narrowed and tabs 28 broadened to eliminate bulking along a wearer's side. As shown, tabs 28 include an attachment device 29 for securing tabs 28 to front 24.

While this invention has been described in conjunction with the specific embodiments outlined above, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the embodiments of the invention as set forth above are intended to be illustrative, not limiting. Various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.