Title:
Garment support member with foam support layer and method of using same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garment support member for supporting a garment on a user's body in which a support layer has first and second opposing surfaces and first and second adhesive layers disposed on the first and second opposing surfaces, and wherein the support layer is formed of a foam material able to support a garment to a user's body.



Inventors:
Davis, Theodore L. (Becket, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/108415
Publication Date:
10/19/2006
Filing Date:
04/18/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D27/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT DOCKET CLERK (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A garment support member for supporting a garment on a user's body comprising: a support layer having a first and second opposing surfaces and first and second adhesive layers disposed on said first and second opposing surfaces, respectively, and wherein said support layer is formed as a foam material able to support said garment to said user's body.

2. A garment support member in accordance with claim 1, wherein the foam material is one of porous foam material and nonporous foam material.

3. A garment support member in accordance with claim 2, wherein said foam material is polyurethane foam.

4. A garment support member in accordance with claim 3, wherein said foam material has a thickness in the range of 1/32 to ⅛ inches.

5. A garment support member in accordance with claim 4, wherein said foam material has a thickness of about 1/32 inches.

6. A garment support member in accordance with claim 2, wherein said first and second adhesive layers comprise a non-sensitizing medical grade adhesive.

7. A garment support member in accordance with claim 1, further comprising a first backing layer releasably affixed to said first adhesive layer and a second backing layer releasably affixed to said second adhesive layer.

8. A garment support member in accordance with claim 7, wherein said first and second backing layers comprise coated paper having a smooth surface.

9. A garment support member in accordance with claim 7, wherein said first and second backing layers are of the same size as said support layer.

10. A garment support member in accordance with claim 7, wherein at least one of said first and second backing layers includes a first portion and a separate second portion.

11. A garment support member in accordance with claim 7, wherein said first backing layer is of the same size as said support layer and said second backing layer is of greater size than said support layer.

12. A garment support member in accordance with claim 1, wherein said support layer has undulations along the length of said support layer.

13. A garment support member in accordance with claim 12, wherein said support layer has two integrated chevron-shaped segments forming a wing-shaped, W-shaped or zig-zag-shaped configuration.

14. A garment support member in accordance with claim 13, wherein said chevron shaped segments define a first undulation directed in a first sense, a second undulation directed in a second sense opposite the first sense and a third undulation directed in said first sense.

15. A garment support member in accordance with claim 14, wherein first, second and third undulations have first, second and third vertex areas, said first, second and third vertex areas having rounded areas opposite their vertexes to provide increased width.

16. A method of supporting a garment on a user's body using a garment support member comprising a support layer having first and second opposing surfaces and first and second adhesive layers disposed on said first and second opposing surfaces, respectively, and wherein said support layer is formed as a foam material able to support said garment to said user's body, said method comprising: a first step of adhering one of said first and second adhesive layers to one of said garment and the user's body; and a second step of adhering the other of said first and second adhesive layers to the other of said garment and the user's body so as to adhere said garment to the user's body.

17. A method of supporting a garment on a user's body in accordance with claim 16, wherein said foam material is a porous polyurethane foam having a thickness in the range of 1/32 to ⅛ inches.

18. A method of supporting a garment on a user's body in accordance with claim 16, wherein said first adhering step comprises adhering said one of said first and second adhesive layers along a top edge portion of a torso area of said garment.

19. A method of supporting a garment on a user's body in accordance with claim 16, wherein said first adhering step comprises adhering said one of said first and second adhesive layers along a side of a torso area of said garment.

20. A method of supporting a garment on a user's body in accordance with claim 16, wherein said garment support member further comprises a first backing layer releasably adhered to said first adhesive layer and a second backing layer releasably adhered to said second adhesive layer, and said method further comprises: a first removing step of removing the one of said first and second backing layers adhered to said one of said first and second adhesive layers from said one of said first and second adhesive layers to expose said one of said first and second adhesive layers prior to said first adhering step; and a second removing step of removing said other of said first and second backing layers adhered to said other of said first and second adhesive layers from said other of said first and second adhesive layers to expose the other one of said first and second adhesive layers prior to at least said second adhering step.

21. A method of supporting a garment on a user's body in accordance with claim 20, wherein said other of said first and second backing layers is of the same size as said support layer and said one of said first and second backing layers has a greater size than said support layer.

23. A garment support assembly comprising a plurality of garment support members in accordance with claim 1, and further comprising: a plurality of first backing layers, each first backing layer being releasably affixed to the first adhesive layer of the support layer of a different support member, and each first backing layer having the same size as the support layer to which that first backing layer is affixed; and a common backing layer to which said second adhesive layers of the support layers of said plurality of support members are releasably affixed.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to garment support members and methods and, in particular, to garment support members and methods for adhering a garment to a user's body.

Clothing manufacturers produce a variety of strapless garments for women, and in particular strapless dresses. In the selection of a strapless garment, it is desirable that the garment provide a comfortable fit to the user while remaining in place without exposing more of the user's body than intended. Particularly, a common problem associated with conventional strapless dresses is the slipping down, or the riding down, of the garment as a result of gravity and user's body movement. In addition, since most strapless, and especially strapless and backless, dresses cannot be worn with conventional bras, strapless dresses must also provide support to the user's breasts. Providing adequate support for the user's breasts and prevention of riding down of the dress are of a particular importance to the user when wearing a heavy strapless dress, such as a gown with a lot of ornamentation including beads or sequins.

In some conventional strapless dresses, bra cups have been incorporated into the dress with the intention of providing support for the user's breasts similar to the support provided by a corset or a long-line strapless bra. However, a typical strapless dress does not have the same engineering properties as a corset or a strapless bra, which are typically engineered with up to thirty different elements to ensure proper performance and sufficient support. Therefore, incorporation of bra cups into the garment has not been successful in providing adequate support for the user's breasts.

To reduce these problems, garment manufacturers have also employed boning in their garments to provide additional support for the upper torso of the user. In particular, boning in conventional strapless garments takes the form of stiff tube-shaped members placed vertically within the garment. Another conventional method of preventing riding down of strapless garments is to create a tighter than usual fit of the garments.

These conventional methods, however, suffer from a variety of disadvantages. For example, stiff boning is not suitable for use with many materials and strapless garment designs. In addition, stiff boning materials in the garments or the tight fit of the garments often cause great discomfort to the user, particularly during social occasions, and make it difficult for the user to sit or dance. In addition, these conventional methods are not always successful in preventing riding down of the garment, thus causing the user to constantly pull the garment upwardly so as to avoid baring more than intended.

Another technique which has been used by women to prevent shifting of certain garment fabrics is to use a double-sided adhesive tape. Conventional double-sided adhesive tape comprises a thin clear film coated with adhesive on both surfaces. This tape has been used to adhere selected portions of revealing clothing, such as a blouse, to the user's body to prevent opening or shifting of the clothing. However, the adhesive tapes used to date are not suitable for supporting strapless garments because the thin clear film lacks sufficient mechanical strength and holding power to overcome the force of gravity. For example, the gravitational force applied by a strapless dress to such a tape will cause the tape to disengage from the user's skin, to curl and to adhere onto itself.

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a garment support member having sufficient mechanical strength and power to support a strapless garment and to prevent riding down of the garment.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a method of using such a support member.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the principles of the present invention, the above and other objectives are realized in a garment support member for supporting a garment on a user's body comprising a support layer having first and second opposing surfaces, first and second adhesive layers disposed on the first and second opposing surfaces of the support layer, and wherein the support layer is formed of a foam material able to support a garment to a user's body. The support member also includes a first backing layer releasably affixed to the first adhesive layer and, preferably, a second backing layer releasably affixed to the second adhesive layer.

In further aspect of the invention, the support layer has undulations in proceeding along its length to give additional strength to the support member. In yet another aspect of the invention, a method of using the support member is disclosed in which one of the first and second adhesive layers is adhered to one of the garment and the user's body and the other of the first and second adhesive layers is adhered to the other of the garment and the user's body so as to adhere the garment to the user's body.

In the embodiment of the invention to be disclosed hereinafter, the foam material is a porous or a non-porous polyurethane foam having a thickness in the range of 1/32 to 1/8 inches, and the first and second adhesive layers comprise non-sensitizing medical grade adhesive. The first and second backing layers comprise coated paper having a smooth surface and each may be of the same size as the support layer or, alternatively, one may be of the same size and the other of greater size as the support layer so that it can serve as a backing for the support layers of more than one garment support member.

Also, in the embodiment disclosed the support layer is formed from two integrated chevron-shaped segments so that along its length it has a first undulation directed in a first sense, then a second undulation directed in the opposite sense and then a third undulation also directed in the first sense. The first, second and third undulations form first, second and third vertex areas, respectively, each of which may have an increased width and be rounded to provide additional mechanical strength to the support layer.

In addition, in the disclosed method, one of the adhesive layers is adhered to a surface of the garment abutting the user's skin when the garment is worn by the user in a first adhering step, and the other adhesive layer is adhered to the user's skin in a second adhering step. The adhesive layer can be adhered to the garment along a top edge portion of a torso area of the garment or along a side of a torso area of the garment. The method further includes removing one of the first and second backing layers to expose the respective one of the adhesive layers prior to the first adhering step and removing the other one of the backing layers to expose the other one of the adhesive layers prior to at least the second adhering step.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other features and aspects of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a cross-sectional view of a garment support member for use in supporting a strapless garment in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a front view of the garment support member of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows an arrangement of a plurality of garment support members of FIGS. 1 and 2 disposed on a common backing layer; and

FIG. 4 shows an illustrative positioning of the garment member of FIG. 1 on a strapless garment;

FIG. 5 shows another illustrative positioning of the garment member of FIG. 1 on a strapless garment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a cross-sectional view of a garment support member 1 in accordance with the principles of the present invention. As shown, the garment member 1 comprises a support member 2 having a foam support layer 3 with first and second opposing surfaces 3a and 3b. A first adhesive layer 5 is disposed on the first surface 3a of the support layer 3 and a second adhesive layer 7 is disposed on the second surface 3b of the support layer 3.

The foam support layer 3 may be formed from a porous or a non-porous foam material having a predetermined thickness, such as polyurethane foam having a thickness in the range of 1/32 to ⅛ inches. Rigid or semi-rigid foam material can be used as the foam support layer 3 of the support member 2. Furthermore, the foam material may be a “closed cell” foam material which is non-porous or has low porosity or an “open cell” foam material which has greater porosity. For example, foam material manufactured and sold by Venture Tape under product number 7432M is suitable for use as the foam support layer 3. The thickness of the support layer can be in a range of 1/32 to ⅛ inches. A preferred thickness is about 1/32 inches. These thicknesses provide the foam support layer 3 with a sufficient mechanical strength to support a strapless garment on a user's body and to avoid curling of the support layer material.

When the support layer 3 is formed from a porous foam material, the porosity of the foam support layer 3 allows the layer 3 to anchor additional adhesive when the adhesive layers 5, 7 are applied to the first and second surfaces 3a, 3b of the support layer. When a non-porous foam material is used to form the support layer 3, the nonporous foam material should have sufficient bonding properties so as to anchor the adhesive. As a result, the support member 2 has much stronger adhesive properties than the conventional double-sided tapes used to adhere clothing to a user's body.

The first and second adhesive layers 5, 7 can be formed from an aggressive adhesive which is non-irritating to the skin of the user. For example, a non-sensitizing medical grade adhesive may be used for the adhesive layers. As can be appreciated, other conventional adhesive materials may also be suitable for use as the adhesive layer 5, 7.

As shown in FIG. 1, the garment support member 1 also includes a first backing layer 9 releasably affixed to the first adhesive layer 5 and a second backing layer 11 releasably affixed to the second adhesive layer 7. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the entire first adhesive layer 5 is covered by the first backing layer 9 and the entire second adhesive layer 7 is covered by the second backing layer 11. Each adhesive layer 5, 7 holds its respective backing layer 9, 11 in place until it is separated, or peeled off, from the adhesive layer when the member is used to support a garment on a user's body.

As can be appreciated, the first and second backing layers 9, 11 protect the first and second adhesive layers 5, 7, respectively, from dirt and drying out. When the user separates, or peels off, the first backing layer 9 from the member 2, the first adhesive layer 5 remains on the foam support layer 3 so that the support member 2 can be applied and adhered to either the user's skin or the garment. Similarly, when the user separates, or peels off, the second backing layer 11 from the foam support layer 3, the second adhesive layer 7 remains on the support layer 3 so that the support member 2 can be applied and adhered to the user's skin, if the first layer has been applied to the garment, or to the garment if the first layer has been applied to the user's skin. As can be appreciated, the backing layer 9, 11 may be removed from the support member 2 by initiating the separation of the backing layer 9, 11 from member 2 and pulling off the backing layer 9, 11. The backing layer 9, 11 may also be removed from the member 2 by initiating the separation of the backing layer from the member 2, rolling the backing layer 9, 11 onto itself and then pulling the rolled up backing layer 9, 11 off the support member 2.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the first and second backing layers 9, 11 are of the same size as the support member 2. Also, one or both of the first and second backing layers 9, 11 may be of a different size from the foam member 2, and, in particular, may be larger than the foam member 2, to make the separation of the backing layer 9, 11 from the foam member 2 easier. Moreover, one of the backing layers 9, 11 may be formed as a common backing layer for a plurality of support members 2. For example, as shown in FIG. 3 and discussed in more detail below, the first backing layer 9 is the same size as the support member 2, while the second backing layer 11 is of a larger size so that it can act as a backing layer for a plurality of support members 2A, 2B, 2C.

The first and second backing layers 9, 11 may be formed from a flexible material having a smooth surface. A suitable material may be a coated paper, such as, for example, 78 pound release Kraft liner. The smooth surface of the backing layer 9, 11 allows the backing layer 9, 11 to be peeled off to expose the respective adhesive layer 5, 7 without removing the adhesive from the foam support layer 3.

The support member 2 may be formed in a variety of shapes. For example, the support member 2 may be formed as a band or a strip having a substantially rectangular or curved shape. A particular configuration found desirable is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 in which the support member has undulations along its length.

More particularly, in FIGS. 2 and 3, the support member 2 has two integrated chevron shaped segments. These segments form a “wing-shaped”, “W-shaped” or “zig-zag-shaped” support member with a first undulation 21 directed in a first sense (shown as upward in FIG. 2), then a second undulation directed in the opposite sense (downward in FIG. 2) and then a third undulation also directed in the first sense (upward in FIG. 2). The first, second and third undulations have first, second and third vertex areas 21a, 22a, and 23a, respectively. In FIG. 2, the vertex areas 21a, 22a and 23a have been increased in width opposite their respective vertexes by the rounded areas 21b, 22b and 23b, respectively, to provide additional mechanical strength to the support member 2.

The “wing-shaped”, “W-shaped” or “zig-zag-shaped” configuration of the support member 2 shown in FIG. 2 results in an improved mechanical strength for the member. This is enhanced by the rounded areas 21b, 22b and 22b of the vertex areas 21a, 21b and 21c. In addition, the configuration of the member 2 improves the hold of the adhesive layers 5, 7 by providing changes in directionality to the layers. In particular, the direction of the adhesive layers 5, 7 is changed at or near each vertex area of the member 2, thereby adding to the holding power of the layers.

As can be seen in FIG. 2, the first backing layer 9 and the second backing layer 11 affixed to the adhesive layers of the support member 2 have the same “wing-shaped”, “W-shaped” or “zig-zag-shaped” configuration as the support member. In FIG. 2, for illustrative purposes, a portion of the first backing layer 9 and a portion of the second backing layer 11 are peeled off from the member 2.

As mentioned previously, FIG. 3 shows an arrangement of a number of support members 2A, 2B, 2C as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 disposed on a common backing layer 13. The common backing layer 13 is used to serve as the second backing layer 11 of each member 2. In the case shown, the support members 2A, 2B and 2C are arranged in a column and the common backing layer 13 is substantially rectangular. It is understood, however, that the number and arrangement of the members 2 on the common backing layer 13 may be varied.

In the arrangement of FIG. 3, the first backing layer 9 of each of the support members 2A, 2B and 2C has two separate portions 9a, 9b, each having a chevron-type shape. The portions 9a, 9b may be formed by “kiss cutting” the first backing layer 9 at an appropriate location so that these portions 9a, 9b have “crack 'n peel” properties to assist the user in separating the first backing layer 9 from the support member. In particular, the user may bend the garment support member 2 to “crack” or separate the portions 9a, 9b and to initiate the separation, or “peeling,” of the backing layer 9 from the member 2. Moreover, as can be appreciated, to provide further assistance to the user in separating the backing layer 9 from the member 2, the portions 9a, 9b of the backing layer 9 may overlap to create flap portions which can be lifted by the user to initiate the separation.

The garment support member 1 of FIGS. 1-3 can be used in a variety of ways to support a garment on a user's body. In accord with the invention, a method common to all these uses will now be described.

In the first step, either the first or second backing layer 9 or 11 of the garment support member 1 is peeled off to expose the respective adhesive layer 5 or 7. When an arrangement shown in FIG. 3 is employed, it is preferred that in the first step, the member 2 is peeled off from the common backing layer 13 so as to expose the second adhesive layer 7. For purposes of discussion, it will be assumed that the user peels the backing layer 11 from the support member 2, or peels the support member 2 from the common backing layer 13, to expose the adhesive layer 7.

In the next step, the exposed adhesive layer 7 is adhered to either the strapless garment or the user's body at a desired position. In practice, it is a preferable that the adhesive layer 7 is adhered to a position on an inner surface of the strapless garment which is to lie adjacent to the portion of the user's body where support of the garment by the user's body is desired. For example, the layer may be adhered to the inner surface of the garment at a position along a top edge of the torso area of the garment in a horizontal or vertical position. The layer may also be adhered vertically or horizontally along a side 15a of the torso area of the garment 15 near the top edge as illustratively shown in FIGS. 4 and 5.

After the second adhesive layer 7 is adhered to the strapless garment, the first backing layer 9 is removed or peeled off from the support member 2 to expose the first adhesive layer 5 of the member. The exposed first adhesive layer 5 is then adhered to the user's body by pressing the garment to the user's skin. When the exposed adhesive layer is adhered to the user's skin, the garment will remain in the same position with respect to the user's body until it is removed by the user.

Finally, when the user wishes to remove the garment, the user can remove the member 2 from the skin and from the garment by slowly pulling the garment away from the skin in the area where the member 2 is adhered to the skin. The first adhesive layer 5 will then release from the user's skin due to the force applied by the pulling of the garment. The member 2 may then be removed from the garment by pulling the member 2 from the garment.

In the above-discussion, only a single garment support member 1 was described as being used to adhere a garment to a user's body. However, it is apparent, that depending on the nature of the garment and the degree to which it requires to be supported on the user's body, more than one support member may be used. Thus, for example, heavier garments may require two or more support members 1. In such case, for example, a support member may be used on opposite torso areas of the garment in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5.

In all cases it is understood that the above-described arrangements are merely illustrative of the many possible specific embodiments which represent the applications of the present invention. Numerous and varied other arrangements can be readily devised in accordance with the principles of the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined by the accompanying claims. For example, materials other than polyurethane foam may be used to form the support layer of the support member.