Title:
Breast binder gown
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A breast binder gown has an elasticized breast binder top worn about the torso for support and application of pressure to the breasts of a wearer, and a skirt dependent from the binder top. The skirt in conjunction with the binder top provide a practical and comfortable one piece outer garment for maternity and post surgical wear.



Inventors:
Rotter, Leah (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/056746
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
02/11/2005
Assignee:
Expand-A-Band Breast Binders, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D10/00; A41B9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TOMPKINS, ALISSA JILL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICES OF NATAN EPSTEIN (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A breast binder gown, comprising: a breast binder portion comprising breast binder material having a plurality of rows of gathering, elastic stitching extending substantially throughout the entire length and width of the main body portion for application of evenly distributed pressure to a torso of a person wearing said gown; wherein the elasticized main body portion is elongated with an inner side, an outer side, two opposing binder edges, and two opposing binder ends; a breast binder fastener system attached to the two opposing binder ends; a skirt portion comprising skirt material attached along one of said binder edges to make a waist seam, said skirt material also having a hem below said waist seam and two opposite skirt edges between said waist seam and said hem; and a skirt fastener system attached to at least one of said opposite skirt side edges for securing said skirt portion as a closed wrap around the body of the person wearing the breast binder gown.

2. The breast binder gown of claim 1 wherein the breast binder material is breathable.

3. The breast binder gown of claim 2 wherein the breathable breast binder material is substantially nonelastic.

4. The breast binder gown of claim 1 wherein the breast binder fastener system comprises a hook and loop fastener.

5. The breast binder gown of claim 1 wherein the skirt fastener system comprises tie ribbons attached to said opposing skirt edges.

6. The breast binder gown of claim 1 wherein the breast binder fastener system and the skirt fastener system are separate from each other.

7. The breast binder gown of claim 1 wherein the breast binder fastener system and the skirt fastener system each comprises a hook and loop fastener.

8. A breast binder gown comprising: a breast binder portion comprising breathable material and a plurality of rows of gathering, elastic stitching substantially uniformly distributed therein; wherein the elasticized breast binder portion is elongated and generally rectangular in shape with an inner side, an outer side, two generally parallel opposing binder edges, and two generally parallel opposing binder ends; and further wherein the gathering, elastic stitching spans substantially the entire length and width of the elongated breast binder portion; a breast binder fastener system comprising a hook and loop fastener attached to the two generally parallel opposing binder ends; a skirt portion comprising skirt material attached along one of said binder edges to make a waist seam, said skirt material also having a hem below said waist seam and two opposite skirt edges between said waist seam and said hem; and a skirt fastener system attached to at least one of said opposite skirt side edges for securing said skirt portion as a closed wrap around the body of a person wearing the breast binder gown.

9. The breast binder gown of claim 8 wherein the breathable material is substantially inelastic.

10. The breast binder gown of claim 8 wherein said skirt portion is generally rectangular.

11. The breast binder gown of claim 10 wherein said generally rectangular skirt portion is substantially larger than said generally rectangular breast binder portion.

12. The breast binder gown of claim 8 wherein the breast binder fastener system and the skirt fastener system are separate from each other.

13. The breast binder gown of claim 8 wherein the skirt fastener system comprises tie ribbons attached to said opposing skirt side edges.

14. The breast binder of claim 8 wherein at least part of said skirt material is stretchable with said breast binder portion.

15. The breast binder of claim 8 wherein said skirt material has elastic gatherings to make said skirt portion stretchable with said breast binder portion.

16. A breast binder gown comprising: a breast binder portion comprising breathable material and a plurality of rows of gathering, elastic stitching substantially uniformly distributed therein; wherein the elasticized breast binder portion is elongated and generally rectangular in shape with an inner side, an outer side, two generally parallel opposing binder edges, and two generally parallel opposing binder ends; and further wherein the gathering, elastic stitching spans substantially the entire length and width of the elongated breast binder portion; a breast binder fastener system comprising a hook and loop fastener attached to the two generally parallel opposing binder ends for securing the breast binder portion around the torso of a person wearing the breast binder gown; and a generally rectangular skirt portion comprising skirt material attached along one of said binder edges to make a waist seam, said skirt material also having a hem below said waist seam and two opposite skirt edges between said waist seam and said hem.

17. The breast binder gown of claim 16 further comprising a skirt fastener system for securing said skirt portion as a closed wrap around the lower body of a person wearing the breast binder gown.

18. The breast binder gown of claim 17 wherein said skirt fastener system comprises tie ribbons attached to said opposing skirt side edges.

19. The breast binder gown of claim 17 wherein said skirt fastener system comprises hook and loop fasteners attached to said opposing skirt side edges.

20. A breast binder gown, comprising: a breast binder portion comprising breast binder material having a plurality of rows of gathering, elastic stitching extending substantially throughout the entire length and width of the main body portion for application of evenly distributed pressure to a torso of a person wearing said gown; wherein the elasticized main body portion is elongated with an inner side, an outer side, two opposing binder edges, and two opposing binder ends; a breast binder fastener system attached to the two opposing binder ends; and a skirt portion comprising skirt material attached along one of said binder edges to make a waist seam, said skirt material also having a hem below said waist seam and two opposite skirt edges between said waist seam and said hem, said skirt portion being stretchable with said breast binder portion along said waist seam.

21. The breast binder gown of claim 20 further comprising a skirt fastener system attached to at least one of said opposite skirt side edges for securing said skirt portion as a closed wrap around the body of the person wearing the breast binder gown.

22. The breast binder gown of claim 20 wherein said skirt material has elastic gatherings to make said skirt portion stretchable with said breast binder portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to breast binders of the type used for breast support and compression in maternity and post-surgical applications and more particularly is directed to a breast binder gown having a breast binder top of elasticized fabric which encompasses the torso of the wearer and a skirt wrap suspended from the binder top to make a gown.

Lebovic U.S. Pat. No. 6,309,369 discloses a surgical breast binder for application of pressure to the wound area of a patient who has undergone a mastectomy or other type of chest surgery. Lebovic however fails to recognize the broader application of breast binders made of elasticized, breathable fabric, to other applications and uses such as for maternity wear, and also fails to provide a breast binder as an integral part of skirted garments such as gowns.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a breast binder gown having a breast binder top with a main body portion sized for encompassing the torso of a person wearing the gown. The main body portion is made of elasticized breast binder material featuring rows of gathering, elastic stitching (also known as shirring) extending substantially throughout the entire length and width of the main body portion for application of evenly distributed pressure to the wearer's torso. The main body portion is generally elongated with an inner side facing the torso of the wearer, an opposite outer side, two opposing upper and lower binder edges, and two opposing binder ends, and has a breast binder fastener system attached to the two opposing binder ends for fastening the main body portion about the wearer's torso. A skirt portion comprising skirt material is attached along one of the binder edges to make a waist seam, the skirt material also having a hem below the waist seam and two opposite skirt edges extending between the waist seam and the hem. The skirt portion may be generally rectangular and is preferably substantially larger than the breast binder top portion. A skirt fastener system may be attached to at least one of the opposite skirt edges for securing the skirt portion as a closed wrap around the lower body of the person wearing the breast binder gown.

Optionally, one or more shoulder straps can be attached to the binder top to more securely hold up the binder top on the wearer's torso.

The breast binder material is preferably breathable, and may be substantially inelastic, or only somewhat elastic, in an initial flat condition of the material prior to application of the elastic stitching for gathering of the breast binder material in the aforementioned rows of gathering.

The breast binder fastener system may include one or more hook and loop fasteners near the opposing binder ends, and the skirt fastener system may take the form of tie ribbons attached to the opposite skirt edges. In another form of the invention the breast binder fastener system and the skirt fastener system each comprises one or more hook and loop fasteners.

The binder fastener system is preferably attached to the opposing ends of the main body portion. When the binder is applied to the torso, the elasticized main body portion is wrapped around the chest of the user and secured by means of the binder fastener system. The opposing ends of the elasticized main body portion can form a closure located at any point about the torso of the user. The closure can be either at the front or adjacent one side of the user's body, which provides more convenient access to the closure by the wearer. However, the binder can also be closed at the back of the wearer's body.

The binder fastener system preferably includes a hook and loop fastener. This fastener permits a range of adjustability to provide a desired degree of support and comfort. Typically, the hook and loop fastener is attached at the binder ends of the main body portion such that one part of the fastener (e.g., the hook portion) is attached at one end on the inner side of the main body portion and the other part (e.g., the loop portion) is attached at the other end on the outer side of the elasticized main body portion. When the breast binder is applied to the torso, the main body portion is pulled and stretched about the torso so that the inner side of one end of the elasticized main body portion overlaps the outer side of the other end of the elasticized main body portion, allowing the hook and loop portions to overlap and engage each other. The degree of overlap is adjustable by the wearer to achieve the desired degree of support and comfort. At least part of the skirt material is stretchable with the breast binder portion about the body of the wearer, and the skirt material may be provided with elastic gatherings to make the skirt portion stretchable with the breast binder portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a breast binder gown in accordance with the present invention, shown laid flat with the inner side facing up but with the upper right corner turned inward to expose one of the hook or loop fasteners on the outer side of the binder top; and

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the breast binder gown of FIG. 1 as typically worn.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A presently preferred embodiment of the breast binder gown of the present invention is described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the accompanying drawings. The breast binder gown, generally designated by numeral 10, has a breast binder top 12 which includes an elasticized main body portion 14 of generally elongated rectangular shape when laid flat, as in FIG. 1. Although the elasticized main body portion 14 is shown as being generally rectangular in shape, it may be formed in a variety of other shapes. As long as it is sized and shaped to encompass the torso of a user while providing adequate support and pressure, the binder top 12 may be of a variety of shapes.

The elasticized main body portion 14 is made of a breathable material. At least a portion of the breathable material is elasticized using gathering, elastic stitching (often referred to as shirring). In FIGS. 1 and 2, this stitching is preferably in the form of a plurality of rows 15. The breathable material may or may not be elastic (i.e., stretchable) prior to being elasticized by the gathering stitches. Preferably, it is substantially inelastic material prior to being elasticized. As used herein, “elasticizing” the material means that elasticity and stretchability are imparted to the material as a result of the gathers formed by the gathering, elastic stitching.

As used herein, a breathable material permits passage of air through it, such as from the surrounding atmosphere to the skin of the wearer. As used herein, a substantially inelastic material is one that does not stretch a significant amount beyond its normal (nonelasticized) size. That is, although there may be some small amount of stretch in the inelastic material prior to it being elasticized, preferably it does not stretch significantly, particularly in the longitudinal direction of the main body portion 14. Such substantially inelastic material is used in preferred embodiments of the breast binder top of the gown of this invention.

A wide variety of materials can provide breathability. For example, cotton, gauze, flannel, muslin, polyester, and blends thereof can be used. Preferred fabrics are those that are washable. If desired, the fabrics chosen can have various prints or designs to provide an attractive looking binder top. Various widths of fabric may be used, and preferably the fabric is at least about 18-24 inches (about 45-61 centimeters) wide, such that the main body portion 14 can be made out of one length of fabric. It should be understood, however, that the main body portion 14 can include a plurality of panels of fabric sewn together.

A presently preferred embodiment of the elasticized main body portion 14 has a generally rectangular shape with opposing upper and lower edges 16 and 18, respectively, which are parallel to the longitudinal or horizontal axis of the main body portion 14, an inner side 20 which faces the wearer of the gown 10, an outer side 22, and two opposing binder ends, shown as a first end 24 and a second end 26. Typically, the elasticized main body portion 14 is made from a single layer of material, although it may be preferable to use two or more layers of material in order to provide greater support. The different layers are typically arranged so that they overlap and are fastened together, e.g., by sewing, along their perimeters, thereby providing a lined main body portion, for example.

Regardless of the specific shape of the elasticized main body portion 14, its length (i.e., the dimension from the first end 24 to the second end 26) is less than the circumference of the user's torso, but can be stretched to be equal to or greater than the circumference of the user's torso. Preferably, the elasticized main body portion 14 can be stretched by at least about 30% of its length, and often by as much as about 100%. Thus, the length of the breathable material prior to being elasticized (and hence, gathered) is greater than the circumference of the user's torso. The binder can be made in a variety of sizes (e.g., small, medium, large), each size accommodating a range of different chest dimensions. Typically, the length of the material after being elasticized is about 23 inches (58 cm) for an extra small size, about 25 inches (64 cm) for a small size, about 27 inches (69 cm) for a medium size, and about 29 inches (74 cm) for a large size.

The gathering, elastic stitching imparts stretchability to the main body portion 14 of the breast binder top 12. Thus, the main body portion 14 becomes elasticized such that it is stretchable and conformable to the torso of the wearer. This enables easy adjustment of the binder to properly fit around the wearer's torso and ensures that gentle but firm pressure is applied. Significantly, this method of imparting elasticity or stretchability to the binder allows for the application of gentle pressure that typically does not restrict a wearer's respiration.

In the preferred embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, rows 14 of gathering, elastic stitching, which are each shown to be continuous, are generally parallel to the opposing upper and lower edges 16 and 18, and are generally equally spaced apart (e.g., about 1 cm apart). This configuration is not a necessary requirement, as long as the main body portion 14 can be stretched to conform to a user's torso. Preferably, the stitching allows for the main body portion 14 to be stretched and returned substantially (and often completely) to its original shape under the recovery force of the elastic stitching after being stretched. Thus, the gathering, elastic stitching can be in the form of intersecting rows, random stitching forming lines of loops, circles, and the like, or a regular array of stitching in the form of various shapes. The lines or rows of stitching may be continuous or discontinuous, and may be formed from a variety of lengths of stitches. In particularly preferred embodiments, the elasticized main body portion 14 has gathering, elastic stitching substantially uniformly distributed over the entire surface of the material forming the main body portion 14. It should be understood however, that only a portion (e.g., at least about 50%) of the main body portion need to include gathering, elastic stitching for sufficient stretch. This elasticized stitching (shirring) can be imparted to the breathable material using well known techniques. As an example of how random shirring is applied to fabric, see Ruddy, American Sewing Guild Notions, January 1997.

The breast binder gown 10 also has a skirt portion 30 made of skirt material 32 which has an upper or waist edge 34, a lower or hem edge 36, and two opposite skirt side edges 38, 40. As seen in FIG. 1 the skirt portion 30 is attached along its waist edge 34 to the lower edge 18 of the binder top 12 to make a waist seam 42 for the binder gown 10. The length of the skirt portion 30 between the waist seam and the hem 36 can be of any desired length to make short, knee length, full length or any other skirt length for the binder gown 10. The skirt material 32 does not have to be the same as the binder material of the main body portion 14. The skirt material 32 may be chosen for esthetic appeal and fashion, and may be any desired material, whether elastic or inelastic, and of any preferred weight.

The width of the skirt portion 30 between side edges 38, 40 is greater than the length of the binder top (measured between binder ends 24, 26) as seen in FIG. 1 by an excess skirt width 44 which allows a generous overlap of one side edge of the skirt over the other side edge when the skirt is wrapped about the lower body of the wearer as in FIG. 2. The skirt material 32 is gathered with elastic gatherings 48 at least along the waist seam 42 to allow the upper edge 34 skirt portion 30 to stretch with the binder top 12 when the latter is stretched about the wearer's torso.

As seen in FIG. 2 the binder gown 10 has a pair of shoulder straps 46 which support the gown 10 on the body of the wearer and hold up the binder top 12 on the torso. Each shoulder strap 46 is attached at one end 46a to the binder top 12 and free at its opposite end. A strap fastener 46b, which may be of conventional design, is attached at or near the upper edge 16 of the binder top 12 at an appropriate location for holding the free end of the strap length when the strap length 46a is laid over the shoulder of the wearer. The strap length may be fixed to the front of the binder top 12 (when worn on the user's torso) and the strap fastener 46b is then located on the back of the binder top. Alternatively, strap 46a may be fixed to the back of the binder top and strap fastener 46b fixed to the front of the binder top 12. Preferably the strap fastener 46b allows adjustment of the strap length so that the binder top can be supported at a desired height on the wearer's torso. Alternatively, a single neck strap (not shown in the drawings) may be provided, attached at two points along the upper edge 16 of the binder top 12 so that the strap can loop around the back of the wearer's neck in a manner well known in the art.

The breast binder gown 10 of FIG. 1 is configured so that the binder top 12 closes at the front of a wearer's torso. The vertical closure 50 of the binder top 12 is seen in FIG. 2 between shoulder straps 46. The binder fastening system used to form the closure preferably includes a hook and loop fastener such as are available under the trademark VELCRO. Alternatively, or additionally, other conventional fasteners may also be used, such as snaps, tabs, ties, zippers, hook-and-eyes, etc. The fastening system is preferably attached at the ends of the main body portion. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, which is a plan view of the binder laid open with the inner side 20 facing upward on the page, a strip of hook material 50a, preferably about 3-4 centimeters wide, is provided at the first end 24 along the height of the inner side 20 of the elasticized main body portion 14 and a strip of loop material 50b, preferably about 3-4 centimeters wide, is provided at the second end 26 on the outer side 22 of the elasticized main body portion 14.

Although FIG. 1 shows a preferred configuration of a hook and loop fastener, the hook and loop material may be cut in other configurations. For example, on the inner side 20 of the elasticized main body portion 14 at the first end 24 can be provided one or more horizontal strips or tabs of hook material positioned vertically that cooperate with the loop material 50b to secure the binder 10 closed. As another example, a strip of loop material, preferably about 3-4 centimeters wide, may be provided along the height of the inner side 20 of the elasticized main body portion 14 at the first end 24. On the outer side 22 of the elasticized main body portion 14 at the second end 26 may be provided two or more spaced apart strips of hook material, preferably about 3-4 centimeters wide, running along the height of the elasticized main body portion 14.

The skirt fastener system of binder gown 10 in a presently preferred embodiment includes two tie ribbons 52 attached at appropriate locations along the waist seam 42 of gown 10. The tie ribbons are tied to each other, as in a bow knot 54 or the like, to hold the wrapped skirt closed about the lower body of the wearer, as shown in FIG. 2. Other kinds of fasteners or retainers, including hook and loop fasteners of the type used with binder portion 12, may be substituted for the tie ribbons 52 for holding closed the skirt wrap.

The complete disclosures of the patents, patent documents, and publications cited herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety as if each were individually incorporated. While a preferred and alternate embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated for purposes of clarity and example, various changes, substitutions and modifications to the described embodiments will become apparent to those having only ordinary skill in the art without thereby departing from the scope and spirit of this invention, which is defined by the following claims.