Title:
Packaged garment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A conveniently packaged garment, which may be carried in a pocket, handbag, or purse is provided. The invention typically includes a non-disposable feminine undergarment that is made from a comfortable, attractive, and durable fabric such as microfiber or a microfiber blend. The garment is vacuum-packed or otherwise compressed and contained within an outer package that is relatively small in size and which may include multiple geometric configurations. The garment may be packaged for retail sales or may be configured for use with a vending machine or other dispensing device.



Inventors:
Radcliff, Jean G. (Athens, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/138015
Publication Date:
12/14/2006
Filing Date:
05/26/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/18
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070295329Dose indicatorDecember, 2007Lieberman et al.
20070284389Storage And Dispensing Of Wine From A Bladder Located Within A BarrelDecember, 2007Jacobs
20040206644Self closing case for holding a compact discOctober, 2004Stalnecker
20080237088SUSPENSION PACKAGING SYSTEM AND METHODOctober, 2008Carroll
20070175791Apparatus and method for personal supplemental storageAugust, 2007Watts
20090107856Jewelry cleaning unitApril, 2009Egnatic
20030006162Inflatable boxJanuary, 2003Smith
20010000480Plastic film packaging with tearable tape stripApril, 2001Stagg et al.
20020121455Nested tapered bagsSeptember, 2002Smith et al.
20070261975Method and Device to Reduce and Eliminate Wrinkles in Clothing in a Suitcase, and to Change in Suitcase StructureNovember, 2007Rabinoff
20080029421SEPARATORS FOR UNITIZED LOADSFebruary, 2008Trickett



Primary Examiner:
KIDWELL, MICHELE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCNEES WALLACE & NURICK LLC (HARRISBURG, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A packaged item, comprising: (a) an article of clothing; (b) a package for containing the article of clothing; (c) a means for minimizing the physical space occupied by the item of clothing within the package; and (d) wherein, after the means for minimizing the physical space occupied by the item of clothing within the package has been applied, the package is substantially the same size as or smaller than a lipstick tube, a tampon tube, or a golf ball.

2. The packaged item of claim 1, further comprising a second package for containing the package for containing the article of clothing.

3. The packaged item of claim 1, wherein the article of clothing further comprises at least one of synthetic fibers and a combination of synthetic fibers and natural fibers, and wherein the fibers reduce any tendency of the article of clothing to wrinkle.

4. The packaged item of claim 1, wherein the article of clothing is a non-disposable undergarment.

5. The packaged item of claim 1, wherein the package for containing the article of clothing comprises a flexible material.

6. The packaged item of claim 1, wherein the means for minimizing the physical space occupied by the item of clothing within the package further comprises vacuum packaging technology.

7. A packaged item, comprising: (a) an article of clothing, wherein the article of clothing further comprises microfiber, and wherein the microfiber reduces any tendency of the article of clothing to wrinkle; (b) a first package for containing the article of clothing, wherein the first package further comprises a flexible material; (c) a means for minimizing the physical space occupied by the item of clothing within the first package; and (d) a second package for containing the first package, wherein the second package further comprises a rigid material.

8. The packaged item of claim 7, further comprising a third package for containing a soiled undergarment.

9. The packaged item of claim 7, wherein the article of clothing is a non-disposable undergarment.

10. The packaged item of claim 7, wherein the article of clothing is a non-disposable feminine undergarment.

11. The packaged item of claim 7, wherein the means for minimizing the physical space occupied by the item of clothing within the package further comprises vacuum packaging technology.

12. The packaged item of claim 7, wherein the second package further comprises multiple, detachable sections.

13. The packaged item of claim 7, wherein the second package is substantially the same size as or smaller than a lipstick tube, a tampon tube, or a golf ball.

14. The packaged item of claim 7, wherein the second package further comprises a substantially tubular enclosure or a substantially spherical enclosure.

15. A method for packaging an article of clothing, comprising: (a) manufacturing an article of clothing, wherein the article of clothing further comprises microfiber or a microfiber blend, and wherein the microfiber reduces any tendency of the article of clothing to wrinkle; (b) placing the article of clothing in a package; and (c) applying a vacuum to the package, wherein the vacuum minimizes the physical space occupied by the item of clothing within the package, and wherein after the vacuum has been applied, the package is substantially the same size as or smaller than a lipstick tube, a tampon tube, or a golf ball.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising the step of placing the vacuum-packaged article of clothing inside a second package, wherein the second package further comprises a rigid material.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the second package further comprises multiple, detachable sections.

18. The method of claim 16, further comprising the step of placing the second package inside a third package for display.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein the article of clothing is an undergarment.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein the article of clothing is a feminine undergarment.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates in general to packaged garment, and in particular to a discretely packaged undergarment manufactured from a durable, substantially wrinkle-free fabric.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In certain situations, a person may desire to carry on their person a change of clothing, such as, for example, an extra pair of undergarments, an extra T-shirt, or some other item of clothing. Typically, an individual will place a change of clothing in a hand-bag or a gym-bag, or they may simply place the item in a jacket or coat pocket. Carrying an extra garment in this manner can be unwieldy, uncomfortable, or simply inconvenient. Disposable items of clothing are available for some purposes; however, such disposable garments are often manufactured from paper, plastic, or other uncomfortable material, and they are often quite unattractive in appearance. Additionally, though disposable, such articles of clothing may not be packaged in small, discrete packages that occupy minimal physical space in a pocket, purse, or handbag. Thus, there is a need for an attractive, comfortable, “quick-change” type garment that can be easily and discretely carried by an individual.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Deficiencies in and of the prior art are overcome by the present invention, an exemplary embodiment of which provides a conveniently packaged article of clothing that can be easily carried in a pocket, handbag, purse, or the like. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a vacuum-packaged garment is provided. This garment, which is typically a feminine undergarment, is fabricated from a durable, substantially wrinkle-free fabric that has been compressed to occupy relatively little physical space. In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a vacuum-packaged garment that is contained within a second, more rigid packaging material is provided. This garment, which is typically a feminine undergarment, also includes a durable, substantially wrinkle-free fabric that has been compressed to occupy relatively little physical space. The vacuum-packaged undergarment is contained within a rigid outer package, the dimensions of which are the same as or smaller than a number of commonly carried objects such as a lipstick tube, a tampon tube, a golf ball, or an item of similar size and dimensions. In accordance with yet another aspect of this invention, a method for packaging a garment is provided. This method typically includes the steps of: (i) fabricating a garment from a durable, substantially wrinkle-free fabric or material; (ii) vacuum packaging the garment inside a first packaging material to create an item that occupies relatively little physical space and; (iii) placing the vacuum-packaged garment inside a second packaging material to provide a convenient means for carrying the garment from place to place.

Additional features and aspects of the present invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description of the exemplary embodiments. As will be appreciated, further embodiments of the invention are possible without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and associated descriptions are to be regarded as illustrative and not restrictive in nature.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated into and form a part of the specification, schematically illustrate one or more exemplary embodiments of the invention and, together with the general description given above and detailed description of the preferred embodiments given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the packaged garment of the present invention showing the product packaged for retail display.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a conveniently packaged article of clothing that can easily be carried in a pocket, handbag, purse, or the like. One exemplary embodiment of this invention provides a compression-packaged garment. This garment, which is typically a feminine undergarment, includes a durable, substantially wrinkle-free fabric that has been compressed within a packaging material to occupy relatively little physical space. The packaging material may be flexible or rigid. Another embodiment of this invention provides a compression-packaged or vacuum-packaged garment that is contained within a first, inner packaging material that is typically flexible. This garment, which is typically a feminine undergarment, also includes a durable, substantially wrinkle-free fabric that has been compressed to occupy relatively little physical space within the first packaging material. The flexible inner package is contained within a second, outer packaging material (typically rigid in construction), the dimensions and geometry of which are similar to common items such as lipstick tubes, tampon tubes, golf balls, or other relatively small, commonly carried items. Still another embodiment of this invention provides a method for packaging an attractive, easily carried garment. This method includes the steps of (i) fabricating a garment from a durable, substantially wrinkle-free fabric or material; (ii) vacuum packaging or otherwise compressing the garment inside a first packaging material to create an item that occupies relatively little physical space; and (iii) placing the vacuum-packaged garment inside a second, more rigid packaging material to provide a durable and convenient means for carrying the garment from place to place.

With reference to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides a packaged garment 10. In this embodiment, a tube-shaped rigid outer package 12 (similar in size and shape to a tampon case), which includes a first portion 14 and a detachable second portion 16, contains an inner package 18 which contains garment 20. In this embodiment, garment 20 has been vacuum-packed or otherwise compressed to occupy relatively little physical space so that the inner package 18 and the garment 20 contained therein may be inserted into outer package 12. Vacuum packaging technology has been available for some time and is useful for a variety of applications. U.S. Pat. No. 4,757,669, which is incorporated by reference herein, provides an example of one type of vacuum packaging methodology compatible with the packaged garment of the present invention. Other compression or vacuum packing systems may be used. Again with reference to FIG. 1, packaged garment 10 may also include an outer product packaging 22 and a hang tag 24 for use in displaying the garment as a retail item.

The exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1 provides one possible configuration for the packaged garment of the present invention. In alternate embodiments, garment 20 and inner packaging air are contained within an outer package 12 that is substantially the same size as or smaller than the outer dimensions of a lip stick tube or case, a golf ball, or any other conveniently shaped and relatively small item that can be carried easily and discretely. Outer package 12 may be manufactured from plastic, metal or any other suitable rigid or semi-rigid material. In some embodiments, product packaging 22 and hang tag 24 are absent or altered such that the product may be easily dispensed from a vending machine. In still other embodiments, garment 20 is compressed to a small size within outer package 12 by vacuum packaging or other means and inner package 18 is not included in the final product configuration.

In the exemplary embodiment, garment 20 is a durable, attractively designed, non-disposable feminine undergarment that has been fabricated from a high-quality, wrinkle-free fabric such as microfiber or a microfiber blend. The use of a wrinkle-free fabric such as microfiber results in a garment that is less likely to be diminished in appearance by compression techniques such as vacuum packaging. Microfiber fabrics are generally lightweight, resilient and/or wrinkle resistant, have a luxurious drape and body, retain their shape, and resist pilling. Microfiber fabrics are relatively strong and durable as compared to other fabrics of similar weight. The microfibers themselves are typically very fine compared to other fiber types. For example, microfibers may be half the diameter of a fine silk fiber, one-third the diameter of cotton, one-quarter the diameter of fine wool, or one hundred times finer than human hair. Due to the physical characteristics and qualities of microfibers, many individual fibers may be packed tightly together when creating a micofiber fabric. Using many fine fibers to form a yarn or other fabric component creates a greater overall surface area that makes deeper, richer and brighter colors possible. Also, because fine yarns can be packed tightly together, microfibers work well in garments requiring wind resistance and water repellency. Microfiber fabrics are usually porous enough to breathe and wick body moisture away from the body, making such fabrics more comfortable to wear than fabrics that do not include these qualities. Microfibers are most commonly manufactured from polyester, nylon, rayon and acrylic and can be used alone or may be blended with conventional denier synthetic fibers or natural fibers such as cotton, wool, and silk.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides a method for packaging an article of clothing into a discrete, easily carried item. An example of this method includes the basic steps of: (i) fabricating an article of clothing, wherein the article of clothing further comprises synthetic fibers, natural fibers, or a combination thereof, and wherein the fiber composition reduces any tendency of the article of clothing to wrinkle or tear; (ii) placing the article of clothing in a package or other enclosure; and (iii) applying a vacuum or other force or forces to the package or enclosure, wherein the vacuum or other force minimizes the physical space occupied by the item of clothing within the package or enclosure, and wherein after the vacuum or other force has been applied, the package or other enclosure is substantially the same size as or smaller than a lipstick tube, a tampon tube, a golf ball, or other small, commonly-carried item; and (iv) placing the packaging containing the compressed article of clothing inside a second package, wherein the second package further comprises a rigid or semi-rigid material. In an alternate embodiment, the first package is not present and the article of clothing is compressed directly into or within the second package.

As described herein, the present invention provides a conveniently packaged garment which may be carried in a pocket, handbag, purse, or the like. The exemplary embodiment includes a non-disposable feminine undergarment that is made from a comfortable, attractive, and durable fabric such as microfiber or microfiber blend. The garment is vacuum-packed or otherwise compressed and contained within an outer package that is relatively small in size, and which may be tubular, cylindrical, or spherical in shape. Other packaging shapes are possible. The packaged garment of the present invention may be packaged for retail sales or may be configured for use with a vending machine or the like. An additional, bag, package or container may be included with the packaged undergarment for providing a convenient means for storing a soiled undergarment.

While the present invention has been illustrated by the description of exemplary embodiments thereof, and while the embodiments have been described in certain detail, it is not the intention of the Applicant to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to any of the specific details, representative devices and methods, and/or illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the spirit or scope of the applicant's general inventive concept.