Title:
Modifying Garments to Provide an Adjustable Length Feature
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Described are methods, devices, and systems for modifying a garment to provide a capability for reversible length adjustment. The methods utilize, and the devices include, multiple reversible fasteners, each dimensioned to allow for a distribution thereof about the perimeter of a garment including gaps between adjacent fasteners. Each of the fasteners includes two fastener components adapted for secure, yet reversible fastening. The fastener is attached to an internal surface of the garment using an adhesive compound. At least one of the two fastener components includes a visual identifier to distinguish, pre-attachment, between the two fastener components when mated. One of the first and second fastener components is attached along an edge of the garment and the other component is attached a distance above, such that the garment length is adjustable by fastening and unfastening of the fastener components.



Inventors:
Ryan, Karima (Tucson, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/566181
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
12/01/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/243.1
International Classes:
A41D27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts LLP (MARLBOROUGH, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for modifying a garment to provide for its reversible length adjustment, comprising: providing a plurality of fastener pairs, each fastener pair including first and second fastener components; fixedly attaching one of the first and second fastener components of each of the plurality of fastener pairs along a lower interior surface of a garment having an unadjusted length; fixedly attaching the other one of the first and second fastener components of each of the plurality of fastener pairs along a higher interior surface of the garment; and folding the lower interior surface of the garment inward upon itself to fasten together each fastener pair along the higher interior surface of the garment, thereby altering the garment to an adjusted length.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of unfastening each of the plurality of fastener pairs to return the garment to its unadjusted length.

3. The method of claim 2, further comprising the step of refastening each of the plurality of fastener pairs altering the garment to the adjusted length.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of fastener pairs comprises a hook-and-loop fastener.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein fixedly attaching one of the first and second fastener components comprises using an adhesive compound.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising heat treating the adhesive compound.

7. An apparatus for modifying a garment to provide a reversible length adjustment comprising: a plurality of non-angular fastener pairs, each including first and second fastener components having a respective fastening surface and a respective garment-attachment surface; an adhesive compound disposed along a substantial portion of the garment-attachment surface of each of the first and second fastener components for fixedly attaching the plurality of fastener pairs to an interior surface of the garment; and a distinctive marking provided on at least one of the fastener components of each of the fastener pairs to distinguish between the fastener components, the plurality of fastener pairs attached to the interior surface of the garment providing a reversible length adjustment by the fastening and unfastening of the attached fastener pairs.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the non-angular fastener pairs are non-observable from an exterior surface of the garment, when attached thereto.

9. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the fastening surface of each of the first fastener components include a plurality of hooks.

10. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the distinctive marking comprises a symbol.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the perimeter of the fastening surface of the non-angular fastener pairs is oval.

12. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein each of the first and second fastener components is flexible.

13. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein each of the first and second fastener components is elongated.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein a longer dimension of each of the elongated fastener components is between about 1.25 and 1.75 inches.

15. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the adhesive compound comprises a pressure sensitive adhesive.

16. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein each of the first and second fastener components further comprises a respective removable backing, the adhesive compound disposed between one of first and second fastener component and the respective removable backing, the removable backing being removed prior to attachment of the respective fastener component to the garment.

17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the distinctive marking is applied to the removable backing.

18. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the adhesive compound comprises a thermally activated adhesive.

19. An apparatus for modifying a garment to provide for its reversible length adjustment, comprising: means for fastening together each of a plurality of fastener pairs, each fastener pair including first and second fastener components; means for fixedly attaching one of the first and second fastener components of each of the plurality of fastener pairs along a lower interior surface of a garment having an unadjusted length; means for folding the lower interior surface of the garment inward upon itself, each of the plurality of fastener pairs positioned along a higher interior surface of the garment, the folding altering the garment to an adjusted length; and means for fixedly attaching another one of the first and second fastener components along the higher interior surface of the garment.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to variable-length garments. More particularly, the invention relates to end-user adaptation of garments to allow for reversible shortening thereof.

BACKGROUND

Wearable garments purchased off-the-rack, such as trousers and gowns often require some adjustment or alteration to ensure a proper fit before wearing. Such adjustments are often accomplished by a skilled tailor or seamstress, and generally require additional time and expense. Even when a proper length has been attained, there are occasions in which a different length would be advantageous. For example, the same pants may be worn with shoes of substantially different heights (platforms versus flats). Simply adjusting the length of the pant legs for either of the different height shoes will result in a poor fit when worn with the other. Selection of a length that lies in between the two extremities may be functional, but may not provide the same aesthetic appeal had the pants been tailored to the proper length.

Adjustment systems for modifying a hem on a garment have been used in various forms, particularly within the garment rental industry. Such systems are reversibly adjustable to different lengths and may include hook-and-loop type fasteners. (See for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,985,936 to Jones, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,539,932 to Howard). Because such systems are intended for the garment rental industry, they are adapted to provide adjustment over a wide and substantially continuous range of hemlines. Accordingly, portions of the system attached to interior surface of the garment tend to cover a substantial region of the garment. For example, the Jones patent describes using a number of thin vertically elongated adjuster strips extending upward from the bottom edge of the garment. As the pant leg is folded inward to a desired length, the adjuster strips will reside within the folded bottom edge of the garment. In fact, the adjuster strips will be doubled in thickness as they overlap along the folded portion. Accordingly, such solutions are likely not well suited for all materials, and particularly for lighter weight materials, as they may appear bulky.

Others have described solutions for reversibly adjusting garment length of conventional hemmed garments. (See for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,149,275 to Sanchez, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,088,128 to Kape). The Kape patent describes using pairs of VELCRO pads in combination with a drop down cuff arrangement. The VELCRO pads are applied to an exterior surface of the garment and although hidden by the cuff in a high position hemline, they are plainly visible when the cuff is lowered. Also, reliance on an external cuff limits fashion options to cuffed designs. The Sanches patent describes attaching fasteners to the garment interior, such as snaps. Unfortunately, Sanches describes attaching the fasteners in such a manner that they would be visible from the exterior of the garment. Acknowledging this, Sanches describes providing reinforcing elements, such as buttons to mask the stitching or other attachment means.

Still others have provided internal cuff arrangements for temporarily adjusting the length of a garment, but these were either complicated to install (U.S. Pat. No. 4,200,938 to LeTourneau) or cumbersome to adjust (U.S. Pat. No. 3,328,809 to Payne et al. readjusting garment length using a tacky lining strip and a steam iron—intended for limited lengthening as may be required by growth of the wearer).

SUMMARY

What is needed is a simple solution allowing an unskilled individual, such as any garment wearer, to modify a garment providing for easy and rapid reversible length adjustments. Additionally, any solution should accommodate garments of various weights and types and be substantially imperceptible when worn.

Beneficially, the present invention is directed towards methods, devices, and systems that allow such an unskilled individual to modify a garment in an inconspicuous manner to provide the desired length-adjustability.

In one aspect, the invention features a process for modifying a garment to provide for its reversible length adjustment. The process includes fastening together first and second fastener components of each of multiple fastener pairs. One of the first and second fastener components of each of the fastened pairs is fixedly attached along a lower interior surface of the garment. The lower interior surface of the garment having been affixed with the multiple fastened pairs is folded inward upon itself, such that each of the fastened pairs is positioned along a higher interior surface of the garment. The other one of the first and second fastener components of each of the fastened pairs is fixedly attached along the higher interior surface of the garment. A length adjustment of the garment is accomplished by fastening the fastener pairs to shorten the garment, and unfastening the fastener pairs to lengthen the garment.

In another aspect, the invention features an apparatus for modifying a garment to provide a reversible length adjustment including multiple non-angular fastener pairs, each including first and second fastener components. Each of the first and second fastener components has a respective fastening surface and a respective garment-attachment surface. An adhesive compound is disposed along a substantial portion of the garment-attachment surface of each of the first and second fastener components for fixedly attaching the multiple fastener pairs to an interior surface of the garment. A distinctive marking is also provided on at least one of the fastener components of each of the fastener pairs to distinguish between the fastener components. The multiple fastener pairs when attached to the interior surface of the garment provide for a reversible length adjustment. The length adjustment is accomplished by fastening the fastener pairs to shorten the garment, and unfastening the fastener pairs to lengthen the garment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and further advantages of this invention may be better understood by referring to the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals indicate like structural elements and features in the various figures. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1A is a front view of a hemmed garment incorporating an embodiment of the present invention in an unfastened configuration.

FIG. 1B is a front view of a hemmed garment incorporating an embodiment of the present invention shown in a fastened configuration.

FIG. 2 is a more detailed view of a portion of the interior surface of a hemmed garment incorporating an embodiment of the present invention shown in an unfastened configuration.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of one embodiment of a fastener shown in an unfastened configuration.

FIG. 3B is a top perspective view of the fastener of FIG. 3A shown in a fastened configuration.

FIG. 3B is a top perspective view of the fastener of FIG. 3A shown in a fastened configuration.

FIG. 3C is a bottom perspective view of the fastener of FIG. 3A shown in a fastened configuration.

FIG. 3D is another top perspective view of the fastener of FIG. 3A shown in a fastened configuration, being readied for attachment to a garment surface.

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of the process of modifying a garment in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 5A through 5C are a series of cross-sectional view of a lower portion of FIG. 1A, taken along line I-I during modification of the hemmed garment according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5D is a cross-sectional view of a lower portion of FIG. 1B, taken along line II-II.

FIG. 5E is a cross-sectional view of a lower portion of FIG. 1A, taken along line I-I.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

It is an object of the invention to provide a simple means by which an unskilled individual can modify a garment to provide a capability for reversibly adjusting the length of the garment. A garment modification kit includes several reversible fasteners dimensioned to allow for the distribution of multiple fasteners about the perimeter of a garment segment to be reversibly shortened. Preferably, a gap remains between adjacent fasteners allowing the garment to drape naturally, without unwanted wrinkling. Further, the garment modification kit includes a simple means for attaching the fasteners to the garment. One such category of fasteners well adapted for secure, yet reversible fastening includes two-piece, hook and loop fasteners. Each component of the two-piece fasteners can be affixed with an adhesive backing layer to facilitate attachment of the fastener to an interior surface of the garment.

A process of modifying a garment to provide a capability for reversibly adjusting the length includes first joining together each component of the two-piece of the fasteners, distributing multiple joined fasteners along an edge of the garment being modified. For example, this includes distributing a prescribed number of the joined fasteners along the perimeter of a hemmed pant leg, sleeve, skirt, or dress. Once positioned about the perimeter, one side of each of the joined fasteners is securely attached to an adjacent interior surface of the garment. The attachment can include use of an adhesive compound, such as a pressure sensitive adhesive, or a thermally activated (e.g., iron-on) adhesive. The portion of the garment affixed with the joined fasteners is next folded inward, forming an inverted cuff. The depth of the cuff determines a shortened length of the garment. Selecting a desired shortened length can be easily accomplished by the unskilled user while wearing the garment. Once the inverted cuffs are formed, the other side of each of the joined fasteners is securely attached to an adjacent interior surface of the garment.

The process of reversibly adjusting the length of any garment modified in the manner described above can be accomplished by fastening and unfastening the two pieces of each of the two-piece fasteners. Thus, adjusting the length for an extended length simply requires full extension of the garment, leaving all of the fasteners attached to the garment in an unfastened configuration. Thus, a first series of fastener components is internally distributed about a lower section of the garment (nearer to the original hemline), while another series of fastener components is internally distributed about a higher section of the garment, further away from the original hemline. Preferably, the two series are vertically aligned with respect to each other to prevent twisting or wrinkling of the garment when adjusted to a shortened configuration. In order to shorten the garment, an inverted cuff is again formed, but this time, the length of the cuff is determined to allow the two series of fastener components overlap. Each of the two overlapping fastener components can then be reversibly fastened together to retain the garment in its shortened configuration.

FIG. 1A shows a front view of an exemplary hemmed garment (pants 100) including two pant legs 102a, 102b (generally 102) shown in an original or extended configuration. The garment 100 has been modified in accordance with the present invention to allow for reversible length adjustment of each pant leg 102 between at least two different lengths. In the extended configuration, each leg 102 extends to a full length ‘L1’ measured from a crotch portion to the extended lower edge 104 of each leg 102. Such an extended length is representative of a configuration in which the pants 100 may be worn with high heels.

A cutaway region 106 provided along bottom front portion of one of the legs 102a reveals a portion of the interior garment surface 108. Several of the first and second fastener components 110, 112 are visible, having been attached along the interior garment surface 108. In particular, a first fastener component 110 is attached to the interior garment surface 108 adjacent to the extended lower edge 104 of the pant leg 102a. A second fastener component 112 is attached to the interior garment surface 108 of the same pant leg 102a, displaced at a height above the first fastener component 110. Each of the first and second fastener components 110, 112 taken together form one of the multiple fasteners 114 (see FIG. 1B and FIG. 5A) used to adjust the length. The displacement height between each of the respective first and second fastener components 110, 112 is measured perpendicular to the extended lower edge 104 of the pant leg 102a. In some embodiments, as shown, additional fasteners 114 are similarly attached to the interior garment surface 108 of the pant leg 102a forming an array of fasteners 114. Thus, the array of fasteners 114 includes multiple fasteners 114 distributed about the pant leg 102a with respect to the extended lower edge 104.

FIG. 1B is a front view the pants 100 adjusted to a shortened configuration. The bottom portion of each pant leg 102 is folded inward upon itself forming an inverted cuff 116 along the inside perimeter of each pant leg 102. Visible through the cutaway region 106 is a portion of the inverted cuff 116 with the extended lower edge 104 now positioned at the top of the inverted cuff 116. Beneficially, the inverted cuff 116 is reversibly held in this position by the fasteners 114. The fasteners 114, now shown in phantom as they are hidden by the inverted cuff 116, are shown in a fastened configuration in which each of the first fastener components 110 (FIG. 1A) overlaps a respective one of the second fastener components 112. Fastening includes engaging the overlapping fastener components 110, 112.

Folding the garment 100 in this manner forms a new, shortened lower hemline 118. Thus, the length ‘L2’ of each shortened leg 102 is less than the length L1 of the extended configuration. The shortened hemline 118 is representative of a configuration in which the pants 100 may be worn with low-healed shoes or flats. As the fasteners 114 reversibly fasten the inverted cuff 116, the pants 100 can be repeatedly altered between the extended and shortened configurations depending upon the style desired by the wearer. Such adaptability provides beneficial fashion options to the wearer allowing adjustment of the hemline between desired lengths. Such adaptation also prevents unwanted damage to the extended lower edge 104 when the garment 100 is worn with low heels.

FIG. 2 is a more detailed view of a portion of the interior surface 208 of a hemmed garment 200 incorporating an embodiment of the present invention shown in an unfastened configuration. In particular, the hemmed garment 200 defines an extended lower edge 204, also referred to as the original or extended hemline 204. In some embodiments the extended lower edge 204 may include a hem 205 formed by folding or rolling a portion of the garment inward and securing it in this configuration by an suitable means as may be known by those skilled in the art. In other embodiments, the extended lower edge 204 remains un-hemmed, providing an unfinished or cutoff look in the extended position.

Again, each of the reversible fasteners 214 includes first and second fastener components 210, 212. Each of the first fastener components 210 is attached to the interior garment surface 208 adjacent to the extended lower edge 204, as shown. The first fastener components 210 can be attached to overlap at least a portion of the original hem 205, when present. Each of the second fastener components 212 is similarly attached to the interior garment surface 208 in relation to a respective one of the first fastener component 210. Preferably, the second fastener component 212 is positioned in substantial vertical alignment with the first fastener component 210, the two fastener components 210, 212 being separated by a distance ‘S’ selectable during the garment modification process. The particular separation distance S selected determines the shortened hemline or length of the garment 200.

Additional fasteners 214 are similarly attached to the garment, the fasteners 214 being displaced with respect to each other about the extended lower edge 204. Thus, all of the multiple first fastener components 210 can be in substantial horizontal alignment with respect to each other along a lower horizontal axis 220. Similarly, all of the multiple second fastener components 212 can be in substantial horizontal alignment with respect to each other along an upper horizontal axis 222, the separation distance between the two horizontal axes 220, 222 being substantially constant along the extended lower edge 204.

In some embodiments, each of the first and second fastener components 210, 212 have substantially the same shape. Having similar same shaped fastener components 210, 212 assists the garment wearer in aligning the first and second fastener components 210, 212 during the process of adjusting the hemline from an extended length to a shortened length. Proper alignment is also beneficial in that it prevents unwanted wrinkling or pinching of the garment that might otherwise occur. Thus, the garment wearer simply folds the extended lower edge 204 of the garment inward upon itself, aligning the respective first and second fastener components 210, 212 with each other and applying pressure to fasten together the respective overlapping fastener components 210, 212.

In some embodiment, the first and second fastener components 210, 212 are elongated, having a horizontal dimension ‘L’ greater than a vertical dimension ‘W’. Such a shape provides for greater coverage in the horizontal dimension, which is about the perimeter of the garment segment being modified. A lesser vertical dimension prevents unnecessary coverage that might otherwise lead to wrinkling or affect the natural drape of the garment. It should be noted that the terms horizontal and vertical as used herein refer generally to the end of the garment, horizontal being parallel to the end of the garment and vertical being perpendicular thereto. Thus, horizontal is measured along a perimeter of the modified garment segment (e.g., pant leg, skirt hem); whereas, vertical is measured perpendicular to the same perimeter.

It is beneficial in some applications to provide first and second fastener components 210, 212 having a non-angular, or smooth outer perimeter. This requirement can be met by avoiding corners (e.g., angles) altogether using circular shapes, or when polygons are used, providing a radius at all of the outside angles. A smooth perimeter ensures comfort to the wearer by avoiding sharp features that might otherwise irritate the skin and/or damage the garment by catching on the material. Additionally, a smooth perimeter promotes prolonged attachment to the garment 200 by avoiding pulling or tearing of the of the first and second fastener components 210, 212 as might otherwise occur by a sharp corner catching on something.

In some embodiments, each of the first and second fastener components 210, 212 are substantially planer, shaped in the form of an oval. In some applications, such as pant legs or skirts, the elliptical fastener components 210, 212 have a major axis length of between about 1 and 2 inches and a minor axis width of between about 0.5 and 1 inch. For example, oval-shaped fastener components 210, 212 having a major axis of about 1.5 inches and a minor axis of about 0.75 inches can be used.

FIG. 3A illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary elliptical fastener 214 with its first and second fastener components 210, 212 shown in juxtaposition, in an unfastened configuration. Revealed in this figure are respective first and second fastening surfaces 230, 232. The fastening surfaces 230, 232 can represent the material itself, such as a fabric, or formed on a separate substrate 240, 242. The exemplary elliptical fastener 214 includes a first fastener component 210 having a first planar substrate 240. One side of the first planar substrate 240 includes the first fastening surface 230. The second fastener component 212 includes a second planar substrate 242, with one side of the second planar substrate 242 including the second fastening surface 232.

As described above, the first and second fastening surfaces 230, 232 are adapted for releasable attachment. Preferably, the first and second fastening surfaces 230, 232 when brought into contact with each other, securely fasten together resisting detachment. However, under sufficient detachment force the two fastening surfaces 230, 232 are separable. Once separated, the two fastening surfaces 230, 232 can be refastened and separated repeatedly to allow for repeated adjustment of the garment length between extended and shortened positions.

In some embodiments, the fastening surfaces 230, 232 together form a hook and loop fastener, one of the fastening surfaces (e.g., the first fastening surface 230) including hooks and the other (e.g., the second fastening surface 232) including loops or pile. Establishing contact between the first and second fastening surfaces 230, 232 engages hooks and the loops to provide a secure yet releasable bond. Interaction between the hooks and loops retains prolonged engagement of the two fastening surfaces 230, 232 until a sufficient detachment force is applied to withdraw the hooks from the loops. One or more of the first and second planar substrates 240, 242 can be formed from a textile, a plastic, or any suitable material for retaining the first and second fastening surfaces 230, 232. Preferably the fastener components 210, 212 are flexible to allow the garment 200 to drape naturally and to avoid unwanted wrinkles. In general, the fastener 214 can be formed from any of a number of commercially available hook-and-loop fastening systems formed into the desired, non-angular shape. Exemplary hook-and-loop fasteners are commercially available under the name of VELCRO brand fasteners from Velcro USA Inc., of Manchester, N.H.

FIG. 3B illustrates a top perspective view of one embodiment of the fastener 214 of FIG. 3A shown in a fastened configuration. The first and second fastener components 210, 212 are adjoined with their respective first and second fastening surfaces 230, 232, aligned in a fastening plane 250. It is beneficial to provide a distinctive mark 260a on at least one of the two fastener components 210, 212 to distinguish it from the other. For example, it is desirable to provide the hook fastener component 210 along the lower edge 204 and the loop fastener component 212 at a distance S above the hook component 210. Such positioning provides greater comfort to the user as the loop fastener component 212 would be more likely to touch the skin of a person wearing the modified garment than the hook fastener component 210. For example, the first fastener component 210 includes the letter ‘A’ along a surface that remains exposed when fastened to the second fastener component 212, before being attached to the garment 200. For example, the mark 260a (‘A’) is provided along a garment attachment surface 270 of the first fastener component 210, opposite the first fastening surface 230 (FIG. 3A). In some applications in which the first and second fastening surfaces 230, 232 differ (e.g., hook and loop fasteners), it is useful to identify each of the different first and second fastening surfaces 230, 232 prior to application. When the fastener 214 is applied to a garment while in a fastened configuration, it would be difficult to distinguish between the different surfaces without such a mark 260a.

Alternatively or in addition, the second fastener component 212 can include a different respective marking 260b. For example, the fastener 214 includes an ‘A’ marking 260a along a first garment attachment surface 270 as described above and a ‘B’ marking 260b along a second garment attachment surface 272 (FIG. 3C). Thus, each of the two markings 260a, 260b remains plainly visible when the first and second fastener components 210, 212 are fastened together.

The first and second garment attachment surfaces 270, 272 are adapted for attachment to an interior garment surface 208 of the garment 200 (FIG. 2). In some embodiments, the first and second surfaces are attached to the interior garment surface 208 using an adhesive. For example, a chemical adhesive or glue can be applied to at least one of the first and second garment attachment surfaces 270, 272 just prior to attachment to the garment. The adhesive forms a bond between the first and second garment attachment surfaces 270, 272 and the interior garment surface 208, such that the fastener 214 remains securely attached to the garment 200 during use, and during repeated fastenings and un-fastenings of the fastener 214. Thus, an attachment force keeping each of the fastener components 210, 212 attached to the garment is substantially greater than any detaching force necessary to detach the first and second fastener components 210, 212 from each other. Preferably, the adhesive is not substantially degraded during wear and cleaning of the garment.

In some embodiments, the adhesive is a pressure sensitive adhesive allowing for attachment of the fastener to an interior garment surface 108 of the garment 100 (FIG. 1) with the application of pressure. In some embodiments, the adhesive is a thermally activated adhesive as can be activated by heat from an external source, such as an iron. In some embodiments, each of the fastener components 210, 212 attached with an adhesive may also be modified to include at least one stitch further securing the fastener component 210, 212 to the adjoining garment surface and preventing creep thereupon.

In some embodiments, adhesives are pre-applied to one or more of the first and second garment attachment surfaces 270, 272 of the fastener 214. FIG. 3D is a top perspective view of a fastener 214 including an adhesive layer 274 along the first garment attachment surface 270 of the first fastener component 210. Such pre-application generally facilitates end-user application of the fasteners 214 to the garment 200 (FIG. 2). When such an adhesive layer 274 is pre-applied, it is also beneficial to include a removable, backing 276 to prevent premature adhesion of the fastener 214. For example, a removable backing 276 includes a non-adhesive material, such as a paper or plastic tape that covers the adhesive layer 274 during pre-application. The removable, non-adhesive backing 276 can be peeled back to reveal the adhesive layer 274 after alignment of the fastener 214 on the garment 200 and just prior of its attachment thereto. In some embodiments, distinguishing markings 260a are included on the removable, non-adhesive backing 276 to allow for identification of the different garment attachment surfaces 270, 272 during pre-application.

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of a process for modifying a garment in accordance with the present invention. At Step 305, first and second fastener components 210, 212 of one or more fasteners 214 (FIG. 3A) are respectively fastened together forming fastened pairs. A distinguishing marking 260a (FIG. 3B), 260b (FIG. 3C) can be applied to each of the fastened pairs 214 to distinguish between the first and second fastener components 210, 212 of each fastened pair 214—it may be difficult to otherwise distinguish between the different fastener components 210, 212. For each of the fastened pairs 214, one of the first and second fastener components 210, 212 is securely attached to an interior garment surface 108 along an extended lower edge 204 of a garment 200 (FIG. 2) at Step 310. Multiple fastened pairs 214 can be aligned with respect to each other along a lower horizontal axis 220 substantially parallel to the extended lower edge 204 of the garment 200 (FIG. 2). For example, eight fastened pairs 214 are distributed substantially evenly about the lower horizontal axis 220, such that a gap ‘D’ remains between adjacent fastened pairs 214. Attachment can include using an adhesive layer, such as a pre-applied adhesive layer 274 (FIG. 3D). Any of the removable, non-adhesive backings 276 (FIG. 3D) can be removed after alignment and prior to attachment of the fastened pair 214 to the garment 200.

At step 315, the extended lower edge 204 of the garment 200 is folded inward upon itself, such that the extended lower edge 204 is folded towards the interior garment surface 208, forming an inverted cuff 116 (FIG. 1). The depth of the inverted cuff 116 selected by adjusting the garment length to a shortened length L2 (FIG. 1). The inverted cuff 116 can be formed evenly to ensure a level finish to the bottom edge of the shortened garment. The inverted cuff 116, once formed, positions the fastened pairs 214 along an upper horizontal axis 222 (FIG. 2). At step 320, an unattached one of the first and second fastener components 210, 212 is attached to the interior garment surface 208 along the upper horizontal axis 222. At step 325, the length of the garment, or hemline, can be adjusted between extended and shortened positions by simply un-fastening and fastening respective fastener pairs.

FIGS. 5A through 5C provide a series of cross-sectional views of a lower portion of the garment 100 shown in FIG. 1A, taken along line I-I during modification of the garment 100 to provide an adjustable length feature. In some embodiments the garment 100 includes an original hem 105 providing a finished look to the extended lower edge 104 when the garment 100 is in an extended position as shown. Referring to FIG. 5A, each fastener is preconfigured in its fastened configuration with the first and second fastener components 110, 112 joined together along a fastening plane. The first fastener component 110 is aligned along the interior garment surface 108 and in close proximity to the extended lower edge 104. If the fastener 114 includes a non-adhesive backing 130, it is removed prior to attachment of the first fastener component 110 to the interior garment surface 108. Referring next to FIG. 5B, an attachment surface of the first fastener component 210 brought into alignment with an adjacent region of the interior garment surface 108, such that the adhesive securely attaches the first fastener component 110 of the fastened pair 114 to the interior garment surface 108.

Referring next to FIG. 5C, the extended lower edge 104 is folded inward and to a selectable height from the extended lower edge 104 forming a new shortened lower edge 118. The second fastener component 112 is aligned along an adjacent region of the interior garment surface 108. If the fastener 114 includes a second non-adhesive backing 132, it is also removed prior to attachment of the second fastener component 112 to the adjacent region of the interior garment surface 108.

FIG. 5D provides cross-sectional view of a lower portion the garment 100 shown in FIG. 1B, taken along line II-II. The garment 100 is shown in a shortened configuration in which each of the first and second fastener components 110, 112 is securely attached to the interior garment surface 108 and to each other. FIG. 5E provides a cross-sectional view of the lower portion of FIG. 1A, taken along line I-I. The garment is shown in its extended position in which the first and second fastener components 110, 112 are each securely attached to the interior garment surface 108, but not fastened together. Thus, the extended lower edge 104 can be folded down, extending the garment 100 to its original unmodified length.

Preferably, modification of the garment 100 as described herein is imperceptible when viewed from an exterior garment surface 109. Use of adhesive-backed fasteners 114 avoids the need for stitching, cleats, or other mechanical attachment devices that might otherwise be visible from the outside surface. Additionally, using flexible, lightweight fasteners 114 allows the garment 100 to drape naturally, preventing unwanted wrinkles.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to specific preferred embodiments, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.





 
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