Title:
Convertible closure for garments and garment utilizing the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A convertible closure capable of adjusting and/or converting to accommodate the expansion and/or contraction of the waist and/or abdominal region of the wearer is provided. The convertible closure includes a droppable flap having a second waist band portion configured to be capable of operably engaging a first waist band portion of the garment at one or more points to form a convertible and continuous waist band about the garment such that the overall waist size of the garment may be adjusted to accommodate a wearer having a varying waist size. The convertible closure may, in some embodiments, also include a stretchable front panel disposed behind the droppable flap and configured to be capable of supporting the waist and/or abdominal region of the wearer of the garment when the convertible closure is fastened about the waistline of the wearer.



Inventors:
Shterenberg, Yelena (Secaucus, NJ, US)
Hassell, Patricia (Long Beach, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/105311
Publication Date:
10/19/2006
Filing Date:
04/13/2005
Assignee:
The Millwork Trading Co. Ltd.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41F19/00
View Patent Images:
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20010047532Disposable bibDecember, 2001Marrero
20020170104BODY COVERING GARMENT FOR USE DURING CLOTHES CHANGINGNovember, 2002Kalina
20070143904Neoprene bib with material faceJune, 2007Brown
20060218696Selectively adjustable and removable glove and padOctober, 2006Billups
20090249528RAINCOATOctober, 2009Su
20020069449Hood including three-dimensional coveringJune, 2002Blutstein et al.



Primary Examiner:
QUINN, RICHALE LEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
1. A convertible closure adapted to be capable of adjusting the size of a garment and supporting a wearer of the garment, comprising: a first waist band portion operably engaged with the garment, the first waist band portion comprising a first plurality of fasteners; a flap operably engaged with a front portion of the garment, the flap comprising a second waist band portion comprising a second plurality of fasteners configured to be capable of operably engaging at least one of the first plurality of fasteners such that the second waist band portion is configured to be capable of operably engaging the first waist band portion to form a continuous adjustable waist band about the garment; and a front panel operably engaged with a first front facing and a second front facing of the garment, the front panel being separate from and disposed behind the flap when the second waist band portion is operably engaged with the first waist band portion to form the continuous adjustable waist band such that the front panel is configured to be capable of supporting an abdominal region of the wearer of the garment.

2. (Cancelled)

3. The convertible closure of Claim 1, wherein the first plurality of fasteners are selected from the group consisting of: buttons; hook and loop type fasteners; hooks; eyes; snaps; ties; grommets; zippers; button holes; and combinations thereof.

4. The convertible closure of claim 3, wherein the second plurality of fasteners are complimentarily configured with respect to the first plurality of fasteners and capable of operably engaging the first plurality of fasteners to removeably secure the first waist band portion to the second waist band portion, and the second plurality of fasteners are selected from the group consisting of: buttons; hook and loop type fasteners; hooks; eyes; snaps; ties; grommets; zippers; button holes; and combinations thereof.

5. The convertible closure of Claim 2, wherein the front panel comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: a stretchable blended knit material; a stretchable woven material; 97% cotton and 3% spandex jersey material; 97% cotton and 3% spandex 1×1 rib material; 90% cotton and 10% spandex jersey material; 100% cotton 1×1 rib material; 100% cotton 2×2 rib material; 95% cotton and 5% spandex material; and combinations thereof.

6. A convertible garment adapted to be capable of adjusting in size to support a wearer of the garment comprising: a first waist band portion operably engaged with a rear portion of the garment, the first waist band portion comprising a first plurality of fasteners; a flap operably engaged with a front portion of the garment, the flap comprising a second waist band portion comprising a second plurality of fasteners configured to be capable of operably engaging at least one of the first plurality of fasteners such that the second waist band portion is configured to be capable of operably engaging the first waist band portion to form a continuous adjustable waist band about the garment; and a front panel operably engaged with a first front facing and a second front facing of the garment, the front panel being separate from and disposed behind the flap when the second waist band portion is operably engaged with the first waist band portion of form the continuous adjustable waist band such that the front panel is configured to be capable of supporting an abdominal region of the wearer of the garment.

7. (Cancelled)

8. The convertible garment of Claim 6, wherein the first plurality of fasteners are selected from the group consisting of: buttons; hook and loop type fasteners; hooks; eyes; snaps; ties; grommets; zippers; button holes; and combinations thereof.

9. The convertible garment of claim 6, wherein the second plurality of fasteners are complimentarily configured with respect to the first plurality of fasteners and capable of operably engaging the first plurality of fasteners to removably secure the first waist band portion to the second waist band portion, and the second plurality of fasteners are selected from the group consisting of: buttons; hook and loop type fasteners; hooks; eyes; snaps; ties; grommets; zippers; button holes; and combinations thereof.

10. The convertible garment of Claim 7, wherein the front panel comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: a stretchable blended knit material; a stretchable woven material; 97% cotton and 3% spandex jersey material; 97% cotton and 3% spandex 1×1 rib material; 90% cotton and 10% spandex jersey material; 100% cotton 1×1 rib material; 100% cotton 2×2 rib material; 95% cotton and 5% spandex material; and combinations thereof.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to garments such as pants, skirts, dresses, shorts, and pajamas, having a convertible closure. More particularly, the embodiments of the present invention provide a convertible closure whereby the size, fit, and/or appearance of a garment may be adjusted using the convertible closure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There exist numerous types of closures for garments, such as trousers, skirts, dresses, and others, many of which provide for an adjustable sizing and/or fit about the waist of the wearer of the garment. For instance, conventional garments having adjustable waist sizes often include elastic materials disposed within a waist band or other component of the garment in order to provide adjustable sizing that may conform to the waist or abdominal region of a wearer of the garment.

For instance, conventional adjustable garments sometimes include an adjustable fastening portion including a circumferential band having an elastic portion that is capable of stretching about the waist of a wearer. Other conventional adjustable-waist garments, such as conventional maternity pants, include a waist band containing reinforcing elastic and a succession of button holes that may cooperate with buttons disposed on a front flap of the pants. In addition, some conventional garments are designed to provide support to the abdomen of a wearer using either elastic components disposed about the wearer's abdomen or a brace provided about the wearer's waist which acts to flatten the waistline of the wearer when the garment is closed and secured.

Other conventional garments provide a front drop flap that allows for some adjustment via the fastening of one or more buttons at one or more points about a waist band without providing a wide range of sizes. Furthermore, other conventional adjustable garments require that excess material or material overlaps (exposed, for instance when the garment is taken in to a smaller waist size) be folded, overlapped, and/or gathered behind a front flap and/or within the pockets of the garment. Some additional conventional adjustable garments provide an adjustable waist by defining a slit or v-shaped opening in the waist band of the garment that may be opened and/or closed (and, in some cases, overlapped) in order to adjust the waist or overall size of the garment.

While such garments provide some degree of adjustability to the waist size of the garment, many such adjustable garments require the use of elastic, which may result in shirring and/or bunching of fabric about the areas containing reinforcing elastic material. In addition, many conventional garments require that excess material (disposed, for instance, in flaps, overlaps, and/or gussets) be folded, bunched, and/or taken up about the waist of the wearer of the garment when the garment is adjusted to a smaller size. Finally, while some conventional adjustable garments provide for adjustability using buttons and/or notches defined in or around a waist band, such garments do not include provisions for the use of resilient fabric panels (such as, for instance, woven and/or knit materials blended with Lycra) to line the garment and provide extra support to a wearer without the use of elastic waist band components.

Therefore, there exists a need for a convertible garment and/or convertible garment closure for providing an adjustable fit and/or size wherein the garment exhibits a clean and flat look regardless of the size adjustment made to the garment. More particularly, there exists a need for a convertible garment closure that does not require the use of elastic material and that does not require the folding or excessive overlap of material about the waist or other body part of the wearer of the garment. In addition, there exists a need for a convertible garment that is fully adjustable and supportive to the wearer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above and other needs are met by the present invention which, in various embodiments, provides a convertible closure for garments which is configured to be capable of accommodating the expansion and/or contraction of the waist and/or abdominal region of the wearer which may occur for a number of reasons including, for example, pregnancy, weight loss/gain, illness, and developmental growth. In addition, the convertible garment closure provided according to the various embodiments of the present invention is also configured to be capable of accommodating such expansion and/or contraction without restriction of the waist or hip region of the wearer. According to one embodiment a convertible closure is provided that is adapted to be capable of adjusting the size of a garment and supporting a wearer of the garment. The convertible closure comprises a first waist band portion operably engaged with the garment and including a first plurality of fasteners and a flap operably engaged with a front portion of the garment. The flap comprises a second waist band portion including a second plurality of fasteners configured to be capable of operably engaging at least one of the first plurality of fasteners such that the second waist band portion is capable of operably engaging the first waist band portion to form a continuous adjustable waist band about the garment.

According to other embodiments, the convertible closure further comprises a front panel operably engaged with the front portion of the garment between a first front facing and a second front facing of the garment. In such embodiments, the front panel may be disposed behind the flap when the second waist band portion is operably engaged with the first waist band portion to form the continuous waist band. Thus, the front panel is configured to be capable of supporting an abdominal region of the wearer of the garment as well as resiliently taking in excess material in the garment such that the garment maintains a clean and/or flat look regardless of the degree to which the waist of the garment is adjusted. According to various other embodiments of the convertible closure and garment of the present invention, the first and second plurality of fasteners may comprise fasteners including, but not limited to, buttons, Velcro fasteners, hooks, eyes, snaps, ties, grommets, zippers, button holes, and combinations thereof.

Thus the various embodiments of the convertible closure and garment of the present invention provide many advantages that may include, but are not limited to: providing a garment which is capable of accommodating the expansion and/or contraction of the waist and/or abdominal region of a wearer without restriction of the waist or hips of the wearer; providing a convertible closure for garments which does not require the use of elastic material to accommodate expansion and/or contraction of the waist and/or abdominal region of a wearer; providing a convertible closure for garments such providing a clean and/or flat appearance; providing a convertible closure for garments such that the garment is comfortable for the wearer; and providing a convertible closure for garments which is easy to use and requires no special fasteners or complicated procedures for fastening.

These advantages and others that will be evident to those skilled in the art are provided in the convertible closure and garment of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a front and rear view of a convertible closure disposed in a pair of pants according to one non-limiting embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 2 shows a front view perspective of a convertible closure as disposed in a pair of pants, showing a droppable flap of the convertible closure in a dropped position according to one non-limiting embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

While the convertible closure and garment 10 embodiments of the present invention are described below in the context of a pair of pants 10, it should be understood that the embodiments of the present invention may also be utilized to provide a comfortable, adjustable, and convertible closure for a variety of different garment types such that the garment may be adjusted to accommodate the expansion and/or contraction of the abdominal region and/or waist of the wearer of the garment. For instance, the front and rear portions 20, 30, flap 35, and first and second waist band portions 60, 70 may be configured to provide a convertible closure for a variety of different garment types, including, but not limited to, skirts, shorts, shirts, coveralls, overalls, dresses, pajamas, undergarments, and other garments. In addition, embodiments of the present invention may also be applied to garments for a variety of different purposes, including casual wear, formal wear, athletic apparel, and/or other activity-specific clothing types.

FIGS. 1 and 2 show a convertible closure for garments according to one embodiment of the present invention wherein the garment comprises a pair of pants 10. According to the embodiment shown, the pants 10 are of a construction known generally to one skilled in the art in that they comprise a rear portion 20 (or seat, for instance), a front portion 30, and two leg portions 40, 50 which may be formed and joined using techniques that will also be appreciated by one skilled in the art. According to the various embodiments of the convertible closure and/or garment of the present invention, the material of the garment may include, but is not limited to, woven material (such as, for example, 100% cotton twill, denim, canvas, poplin materials, rip stop nylon blends), novelty fabrics, stretch fabrics comprising woven material and spandex blends (such as, for example, 97% cotton 3% spandex blends), blended woven fabrics (such as, for example, rayon/nylon/spandex blends, cotton/nylon/spandex blends, and/or polyester/nylon blends), and other materials suitable for forming the desired garment. Thus, according to the embodiments of the present invention, the convertible closure (including the flap 35, first and second waist band portions 60, 70 and first and second plurality of fasteners 80, 90) may be configured to be capable of operably engaging a variety of garment types composed of one or more materials including blends of one or more of the fabrics listed above.

As shown in the non-limiting embodiment of FIG. 1, the pants 10 comprise a convertible closure comprising a first waist band portion 60 operably engaged with the garment 10, the first waist band portion comprising a first plurality of fasteners 80. As shown generally in FIG. 1, the first waist band portion 60 may extend from the back portion 20 of the pants 10 around the waistline and partially around the front portion 30 of the waistline (see generally, FIG. 2). As shown in FIG. 2, the ends 63, 67 of the first waist band portion 60 may be configured to terminate short of each other such that the ends 63, 67 are spaced apart to define a front aperture in the front portion 30 of the garment 10. The convertible closure of the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 further comprises a flap 35 operably engaged with a front portion 30 of the garment 10 wherein the flap comprises a second waist band portion 70 comprising a second plurality of fasteners 90 configured to be capable of operably engaging at least one of the first plurality of fasteners 80 such that the second waist band portion 70 is configured to be capable of operably engaging the first waist band portion 60 to form a continuous adjustable waist band about the garment 10 (as shown generally in FIG. 1).

In the non-limiting embodiment shown generally in FIGS. 1 and 2, the pants 10 further include legs 60, 70 that extend downward from the flap 35, front and rear portions 30, 20 and other convertible closure components of the garment 10. The first and second waist portions 60, 70 may comprise typical waist band construction details for pants (including, in some instances, belt loops, suspender fasteners, or other details) that will be appreciated by one skilled in the art. In some embodiments, however, the waist band portions 60, 70 of the convertible closure may comprise other types and/or styles of waist band construction including, but not limited to, a waist facing (such as a “Hollywood waist”), variable-width bindings forming the tope edge of the waistline of the garment 10, and/or other waistline types suitable for the style and function of the garment 10 with which the convertible closure may be operably engaged according to the various embodiments of the present invention.

As shown generally in FIGS. 1 and 2, the first and second waist band portions 60, 70 also comprise a corresponding first and second plurality of fasteners 80, 90 that may be operably engaged with one another to join the first and second waist band portions 60, 70 into a continuous adjustable waist band extending about the garment 10 such that the waist size (or circumference of the resulting continuous adjustable waist band) may be altered by selectively operably engaging one or more of the first plurality of fasteners 80 (disposed, for instance on the first waist band portion 60) with one or more of the second plurality of fasteners 90 (disposed, for instance, on the second waist band portion 70). For example, the first waist band portion 60 may comprise a plurality of button holes configured to be capable of connecting with one or more of a plurality of buttons disposed on the second waist band portion 70 formed on an upper edge of the flap 35.

In some embodiments of the convertible closure and/or garment of the present invention wherein the garment 10 comprises, for instance, a maternity garment, the fasteners 80, 90 may be grouped in three or more general positions such that the garment may be worn by an expectant mother during all three trimesters of pregnancy. For example, in the first trimester, the wearer of the garment may adjust the convertible closure (by selectively operably engaging a “first trimester” set of corresponding fasteners 80, 90) to conform to a relatively small waist size. In addition, according to some embodiments during the first trimester, the wearer of the maternity garment 10 may also choose to remove the front panel 140 (discussed in detail below) from the garment 10 until such time as it may be needed to support the wearer's abdominal region. The wearer may also choose to leave the front panel 140 in place as in some embodiments, its resilient material may be utilized to take in excess material of the garment 10 when, for instance, the waist size of the garment is adjusted to be relatively small. During the second and third trimesters, when the wearer of the garment 10 is more likely to experience an increase in waist size and/or size of the abdominal region, the wearer may adjust the garment 10 to operably engage either a “second trimester” or “third trimester” set of corresponding fasteners 80, 90 such that the ends 63, 67 of the first waist band portion 60 are spread further apart to engage corresponding fasteners from the second plurality of fasteners 90 disposed on the second waist band portion 70 disposed on the flap 35 of the garment 10. In addition, in later trimesters, the wearer may (according to some embodiments) attach a stretchable front panel 140 (as described in more detail below) between the front facings 100, 110 to better support the abdominal region of the wearer as well as provide better coverage of the wearer's abdominal region.

While the first and second plurality of fasteners 80, 90 discussed above and shown generally in FIGS. 1 and 2 comprise buttons and corresponding button holes, the first and second plurality of fasteners 80, 90 may include any complementary fastener types suitable for joining the first and second waist band portions 60, 70 to form the continuous adjustable waist band as discussed above. Such fasteners may include, but are not limited to, snaps, Velcro closures, ties, grommets, zippers, hook and eye closures, and/or other fastener types suitable for use in the type of garment 10 with which the convertible closure of the present invention may be operably engaged.

As shown generally in FIG. 2, the front portion 30 of the garment 10 further comprises a first and second front facing 100, 110 wherein the first front facing 100 is disposed on the left side of the front portion 30 garment and the second front facing 110 is disposed on the right side of the front portion 20 of the garment 10. These front facings 100, 110 may be connected to the first waist band portion 60 as well as to the outer side seams 120, 130 of the garment 10 (which may be in outside seams of the legs 40, 50 in embodiments wherein the garment 10 comprises a pair of pants, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2). The front facings 100, 110 may thus be moved farther apart (in conjunction with the ends 63, 67 of the first waist band portion 60) when the wearer encounters the need to upwardly adjust the waist size of the garment 10 and/or the overall circumference of the continuous adjustable waist band formed by joining the first and second waist band portions 60, 70. Thus, the front facings 100, 110 may lie flat underneath the flap 35 to provide a flat and/or clean appearance to the front portion 30 of the garment 10 both in cases where the convertible closure is adjusted inward (corresponding to a wearer having smaller waist and/or abdominal region) and wherein the convertible closure is outwardly adjusted (corresponding to a wearer having a larger waist and/or abdominal region (such as an expectant mother)).

In addition, in some embodiments, the convertible closure and/or garment 10 of the present invention may further comprise a front panel 140 operably engaged with the front portion 30 of the garment between the first front facing 100 and the second front facing 110 of the garment 10. The front panel 140 is thus disposed behind the flap 35 when the second waist band portion 70 is operably engaged with the first waist band portion 60 to form the continuous adjustable waist band about the waist and/or abdominal region of the wearer of the garment 10. Thus, the front panel 140 is configured to be capable of supporting an abdominal region of the wearer of the garment when the convertible closure of the present invention is closed about the waist of the wearer. According to some embodiments, the front panel 140 may be rectangular in shape and smaller in overall size than the flap 35 such that the front panel 140 may be hidden behind the flap 35 when the convertible closure is closed about the waist of the wearer. In some embodiments, the front panel 140 may be configured to be capable of being removed from the garment 10. For example, in some embodiments, the front panel 140 may be buttoned, zipped, or attached via other fastener type to the front facings 100, 110 of the garment such that the wearer of the garment 10 may selectively remove the front panel 140 from the garment 10 such as when, for example, the wearer adjusts the convertible closure and/or garment 10 to a smaller waist size (such as in the timeframe immediately following a pregnancy (where the garment 10 is a maternity garment)). Thus, the wearer may remove the front panel 140 such that the flap 35 of the garment 10 need not lie flat over the extraneous material comprising the front panel 140.

According to various embodiments of the present invention, the front panel 140 may be composed of one or more layers of stretchable and/or resilient materials that may be suitable for resiliently supporting the abdominal region of the wearer of the garment 10. For instance, the front panel may comprise materials including, but not limited to, a stretchable blended knit material; a stretchable woven material; 97% cotton and 3% spandex jersey material; 97% cotton and 3% spandex 1×1 rib material; 90% cotton and 10% spandex jersey material; 100% cotton 1×1 rib material; 100% cotton 2×2 rib material; 95% cotton and 5% spandex material; and/or any other blended knit and/or woven fabric which exhibits good recovery characteristics.

According to some embodiments, one or more pockets may be defined by the front facings 100, 110 and/or the flap 35 of the present invention. In some embodiments, for instance, hidden pockets may be defined on an inner surface of the flap 35 or on an outer surface of the front facings 100, 110. Furthermore, in some embodiments patch pockets or other pocket styles that will be appreciated by one skilled in the art may be disposed on the outer surface of the flap 35 and/or front portion 30 of the garment 10. In addition, as shown generally in FIGS. 1 and 2, the garment 10 may include one or more additional pockets defined in the rear portion 20 of the garment 10 as will be appreciated by one skilled in the art.

Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.