Title:
FINISHED PRINTED GARMENT AND METHOD FOR PRINTING SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to a finished printed garment and a method for printing thereon. The finished printed garment may be constructed from Prepared for Dying denim which is dyed to a chosen color. The printing method incorporates the use of a dischargeable ink applied to the finished garment, which is placed on belt-style printer, such that the design, once printed on the finished garment, may be continuous, regardless of presence of seams or pockets.



Inventors:
Canter, Cynthia K. (Mission Viejo, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/763277
Publication Date:
06/19/2008
Filing Date:
06/14/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/299.01, 347/103
International Classes:
A41D1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHIMOKAJI & ASSOCIATES, P.C. (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A printed finished garment, comprising: a continuous water-based printed design extending over at least one seam; wherein there is an absence of substantial interruptions in the design.

2. The garment of claim 1, wherein said finished garment further comprises a fly area, a pocket, a cuff, and a waist band.

3. The garment of claim 2, wherein the design extends over the fly area.

4. The garment of claim 2, wherein the design extends over the pocket.

5. The garment of claim 2, wherein the design extends over the cuff.

6. The garment of claim 2, wherein the design extends over the waist.

7. A printed finished denim garment, comprising: a first edge and an opposite second edge, wherein the first and second edges are at opposite ends of the garment; and a continuous printed design extending from the first edge to the second edge.

8. The garment of claim 7, wherein the printed design comprises a logo.

9. The garment of claim 7, wherein the printed design comprises advertisements

10. The garment of claim 7, wherein the design extends 360 degrees around the garment.

11. The garment of claim 7, wherein the design provides a three-dimensional image.

12. The garment of claim 7, wherein the design is off-garment.

13. The garment of claim 7, wherein the design is continuous over an uneven area of the garment.

14. A method of printing a design on a finished garment, comprising: applying a dischargeable ink over an uneven area of the garment and off the garment; and curing the ink.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the design is printed 360 around the finished garment.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the dischargeable ink is applied to the finished garment by sweeping the ink over a design screen placed over the garment.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the ink is cured by drying the finished garment.

18. A method of making a finished denim jeans, comprising: fabricating the jeans from Prepared for Dye denim; dying the jeans to a color; fastening legs of the jeans together; applying ink to the jeans on a belt style printer; drying the jeans.

19. The method of claim 11, wherein the jeans is fabricated by sewing the denim.

20. The method of claim 11, wherein the jeans is dyed using a reactive dye.

21. The method of claim 11, wherein the jean legs are fastened together using a water-based adhesive.

22. The method of claim 11, wherein the ink is applied to the jeans by sweeping the ink over a graphic design screen.

23. The method of claim 11, wherein the ink is a dischargeable ink.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional application No. 60/870,519, filed on Dec. 18, 2006, which is incorporated herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the field of textile printing. More specifically, this invention provides a method for the printing of coordinated ornamentation, advertisements, logos or symbols onto finished textile goods that have seams and other uneven areas, specifically, denim jeans or pants.

Denim jeans are one of the most widely worn types of apparel and are worn as casual, work, and high fashion wear. Denim jeans are recognized as a key component to most persons' wardrobe and are seen on people of all ages at most every imaginable location and event. The rear pockets, front thigh area and leg areas have been used to display the brand name or some other small two-dimensional advertisement, logo, scene, and/or message.

Heretofore, advertisements, logos, scenes, and/or messages, have been placed on these areas by use of labels, tags, embroidery, heat transfers, patches or screen printing. Consequently, the advertisement, logo, scene message, etc. has a simple, small format and two-dimensional look providing a pair of jeans with a difficult-to-see and typically brand-name-only type of advertisement. Other ornamentations are typically only artistic designs for the purposes of decoration or aesthetics.

Another disadvantage in the prior art has been the laborious process of weaving dyed fibers into the patterns and designs desired. When the development of ink and printing technologies became sufficiently advanced, textile manufacturers were able to save labor costs by printing designs onto large rolls of fabric. The fabric was then cut into pieces which, in turn, could be assembled by sewing, gluing, or other attachment means into finished textile products.

With the development of assembly-line manufacturing, fabrics could be pre-cut, then printed with designs, and finally assembled into finished textile products. For textiles pre-printed or woven with designs or patterns prior to sewing, there is the difficulty of matching the designs or patterns across the seams. In fact, the preprinted or pre-woven designs or patterns on many finished textile goods do not match across seams, i.e., are mismatched or misaligned.

FIG. 1 is a prior art finished garment, in the form of a shirt 10 wherein a design or pattern 14 is misaligned at area 12. In other words, a portion 14a of the design 14 on one side of the area 12 does not match an opposing portion 14b on the opposite side of the area 12. Typically, the shirt 10 would be sewn from fabric wherein the design 14 was printed prior to construction of the shirt. Therefore, different sections of fabric exhibiting various portions of the printed design would then be sewn together, such that the design portions 14a,b are misaligned at 12 upon completion.

FIG. 2 provides an illustration of a prior art garment in the form of pants 20 having an unintended blank (non-printed) area 26 and a misalignment area 22 of design 24 which may occur in instances when using a carousel-type printer that requires multiple passes of printing screens. The misalignment and blank areas 22, 26 may result when the garment 20 is not properly aligned during a subsequent printing screen pass, such that a design 24b applied by the subsequent pass does not properly align with a design 24a from a prior pass.

Prior methods and apparatus have been developed for the printing of textile products—such as towels, signboards, and pre-stuffed pillows—that are capable of lying flat during the printing process. These past methods and apparatus have enabled the printing of designs within a limited area on the front and back of textile goods (such as t-shirts and sweat shirts) that can be flattened with uneven areas, such as seams, outside of the limited printing area. Doing so avoids the problem of design misalignment as in FIGS. 1 and 2, but then limits the size and placement of the design on the garment.

Still, past methods and apparatus have not adequately provided printing of a finished textile good that includes printing over uneven areas such as seams, zippers, and pockets, for example on denim pants. Past methods and apparatus have also not adequately provided for full-coverage printing of a garment from one end to another, such as from a waist to a hem of a pair of pants.

A further disadvantage in the prior art has been the textile industry preference for printing finished goods using plastisol ink, which is a polyvinyl chloride based ink that contains no solvent. These inks form a thick layer over the finished textile good, such that there is a rough texture over the fabric. Moreover, it is a thermoplastic ink, which means it is necessary to heat the printed ink film to a temperature high enough (typically 300° F. to 330° F.) to cause the molecules of PVC resin and plasticizer to cross-link and solidify (i.e., cure). However, plastisol inks re-melt when they come in contact with high heat, such as the heat produced by a clothes iron. For that reason, garment prints made with polyvinyl chloride inks may become damaged or cracked over time with use and exposure to heat while the garment is heat dried after washing.

As can be seen, there is a need for improved methods for printing finished textile goods, particularly one that includes print over uneven surfaces, as well as improved printed finished textile goods themselves.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is the provision of a unique and aesthetically pleasing large format ornamentation on a pair of denim jeans or pants that contains a coordinated three-dimensional, 360 degree, advertisement, logo or image over the entire full length of the jeans using an innovative printing method.

In one aspect of the present invention, a printed finished garment comprises a continuous water-based printed design extending over at least one seam; wherein there is an absence of substantial interruptions in the design.

In another aspect of the present invention, a printed finished denim garment comprises a first edge and an opposite second edge, wherein the first and second edges are at opposite ends of the garment; and a continuous printed design extends from the first edge to the second edge.

In a further aspect of the present invention, a method of printing a design on a finished garment comprises applying a dischargeable ink over an uneven area of the garment and off the garment, and curing the ink.

In an additional aspect of the present invention, a method of making a finished denim jeans comprises fabricating the jeans from Prepared for Dye denim; dying the jeans to a color; fastening the legs of the jeans together; applying ink to the jeans on a belt style printer; and drying the jeans.

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following drawings, description and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a prior art finished textile good;

FIG. 2 is a front view of another prior art finished textile good;

FIG. 3A is a front view of a finished textile good printed with full-coverage illustrative printing, according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3B is a side view of the finished textile good of FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4 is a side view of another finished textile good with limited coverage printing, according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5A is a front view of a finished textile good exhibiting large-scale illustrative printing extending over the seams and pockets;

FIG. 5B is a side view of the finished textile good of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6A is a front view of yet another finished textile good with limited coverage printing;

FIG. 6B is a side view of the finished textile good of FIG. 6A; and

FIG. 7 is a flow chart representing a method for printing on finished textile goods, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The following detailed description is of the best currently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. The description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.

Broadly, the present invention provides for finished textile garments, such as denim jeans, having graphic printing over uneven surfaces, such as seams; and methods for providing the same. In one aspect of the present invention, a finished textile garment may have graphic printing over substantially or essentially the entire garment surface, including the seams, pockets, cuffs, and fly area. In another aspect of the present invention, a finished textile garment has continuous graphic printing between opposite edges of the garment, such as between the waist and hem/cuff of a pair of pants. In a further aspect of the present invention, an advertisement, logo, or the like is provided 360 degrees around a finished textile garment which thus provides a three-dimensional image.

Prior finished textile garments have had printing or designs limited to specific areas that are well between edges of the garments, primarily because the printing has been done on standard carousel screen printing machines which limit the size of the print. Accordingly, due to limitations imposed by the screen pallets, past printing could not extend to the very edges of the garment and beyond such edges (i.e., off-garment printing).

In contrast to the prior art, the present invention provides for finished printed garments, such as pants, where all or any part of the garment is printed. The printed area can include flat or uneven areas, from the waistband to the hem, the outside or inside seam of pant legs, across pockets, cuffs, and flies, and over zippers and other closure areas. In addition, the present invention may allow for printing of decorative designs without interruptions, such as unwanted or unintended blank (i.e., non-printed) areas or misalignment of the pattern (i.e., mismatching of a printed pattern on opposed sides of an area, such as on two sides of a seam).

In further contrast to the prior art, the present invention provides a coordinated, large format style of printing onto finished denim jeans or pants to create a full format, three-dimensional ornamentation that, when worn, creates an easily recognizable visual advertisement of any one of various entities such as colleges, corporate entities, or sports teams. The image is not confined to a singular flat space, but can be printed on all surfaces of a finished jean including over seams and pockets and over the entire length of the leg from waist to leg opening. Further, as the image may be 360 degrees around the garment, the image may be viewed from all sides of the garment, which can be advantageous for advertising purposes.

In this invention, and in further contrast to the prior art, water-based inks are used instead of plastisols. Water-based inks are desirable for several reasons. First, an advantage to water-based inks is that ink penetration may be deeper into the textile when compared to plastisols. Therefore, water-based inks create printed designs with soft bonding instead of leaving a raised film on the textile surface when using plastisols. In addition, the finished products may be less susceptible to heat damage from clothes dryers and ironing, in comparison to plastisols. Finally, water-based inks allow for easy clean-up without the environmental hazards inherent in plastisol inks.

FIG. 3A shows a finished textile garment 30 according to the present invention, such as denim pants, from a front view showing a design 32 that is printed onto the pants 30 using a method of the present invention described below. The design 32 may extend over essentially the entire surface of the garment 30, or a majority of the surface of the garment 30, including for example the front and/or back of the garment. In other words, the design 32 may extend 360 degrees around the garment 30. Thus, the design 32 may be said to be one of “full-coverage” of the garment 30. Notably, the design 32 may extend over one or more uneven surfaces, such as seams 34, pockets 36, cuffs 38, and fly areas 39. The design 32 may also be continuous between opposite edges of the garment 30, such as between the waist 35 and hem/cuff 38 of a pair of pants. The design 32 is said to be “continuous” in that there are no significant or substantial interruptions in the design, such as unwanted blank spaces of printing, or misalignments in the design, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The design 32 on the pants 30 may be produced in accordance with the printing method of the present invention described below and formed from a water-based dischargeable dye which may seep into the fabric of the pants 30. Thus, there may not be an obvious or significant change in the original texture of the pants 30.

Furthermore, using the method of the present invention described below may allow for the printing of a design 32 that extends “over” or “beyond” the edges of the garment 30 in what may be referred to as “off-garment” printing, thus giving the appearance that the design extends past the garment edges, and may reduce the likelihood of any visible unwanted blank spaces of printing.

FIG. 3B is a side view of the garment 30 shown in FIG. 3A. The printed design 32 may extend over the leg seam 34, pockets 36 and cuff 38, without significant or substantial interruptions in the design 32, such as unwanted blank spaces of printing.

FIG. 4 is a side view of another finished textile good, also shown here as a pair of denim pants 40 with a limited-coverage design 42. Similar to the design 32 in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the design 42 may extend over uneven areas of the garment 40 and between opposite edges of the garment 40. However, unlike the design 32 in FIGS. 3A and 3B, which may extend over the majority of a garment's surface, the design 42 may extend only over a selected portion of the garment's surface, in other words, over a “limited coverage” of the garment. The design 42 may extend from one edge to another, such as from cuffs 46 to waist 48, and over leg seam 44 without any substantial interruptions in the design 42 down the length of the seam 44.

FIGS. 5A and 5B, as well as FIGS. 6A and 6B, provide examples of the variety of designs that may be applied in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 5A shows another finished textile good, shown here as denim pants 50, where unlike the finished textile goods in FIGS. 3A and 3B, a design is not applied all around, but on selected portions of the pants 50. Logos and advertisements 51 are strategically placed as a limited-coverage design.

FIG. 5B provides a rear view of the pants 50 in FIG. 5A. The logos and advertisements 51 may also be placed on the back of the pants 50, in addition to a seam design 53, similar to the limited coverage design 42 in FIG. 4, which extends down the length of the seam 55 from the waist 57 to the cuff 59.

Shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B is another example of a finished textile good, such as denim jeans 60 featuring a design 62 applied using the printing method described herein. FIGS. 6A and 6B show that the printing method may be used to apply a variety of designs, from a full-coverage design 32 as seen in FIGS. 3A and 3B, to a limited coverage design 42 as seen in FIG. 4, and anything in between, as shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. Here, in FIG. 6A, in addition to a design 62 extending along the seam 66, only a single logo 64 is placed on the front of the jeans 60. On the back of the jeans 60, only two more logos 64 have been included.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart of an exemplary printing method 70 of this invention.

A step 71 begins with fabricating finished denim garments from Prepared for Dye (PFD) fabric which has no optic whiteners, finishes or other chemicals which may create uneven dyeing. In step 72, the jeans may be dyed with a either a direct or reactive dye in the selected color. These dyes have different chemical properties but operate similarly. Afterwards, the jeans may then be pressed flat into the desired print orientation, whether it is laid flat for printing on its front or on its side 73, such that the jeans may lay flat to facilitate printing on the desired surface of the jeans.

Then, the method 70 may continue with step 74 by fastening the legs of the finished textile goods, such that the goods remain flat throughout the printing process. This may be accomplished by applying a light, water-based spray-on adhesive to the inside of the textile goods, then smoothing the surface of the goods down to eliminate any wrinkles which may affect the appearance of the design during printing. For example, in the context of jeans, the inside of each pant leg may be adhered together.

In step 75, the finished textile goods may be placed on a belt-type printer. This invention uses a belt-type printer instead of the carousel-type printer, which is the standard printing apparatus in the textile industry. Carousel-type printers have two major limitations in respect to printing finished textile goods: 1) the size of a design or pattern is usually limited to nineteen inches, and often cannot extend beyond thirty-one inches, even on a modified carousel screen; and 2) the printing must be completely framed within the product in order to leave the screen table surface clean to print again. However, use of the belt-type printer allows for a printing surface area that will cover the entire surface of a garment, such as the whole of the front or back, of sewn pants—approximately 48 inches×42 inches—without multiple passes through the printer for the same color.

In addition, the belt of the belt-type printer may be passed through a wash immediately after printing the final color onto the finished textile goods and before the belt recycles for another printing pass, allowing the design or pattern to extend to beyond the edges of the garment. As an illustration, on a belt-type printer both pant legs may be printed at the same time to ensure that a whole design may be applied to both pant legs simultaneously, as opposed to printing half of the design on one leg pant leg, then attempting to match the other half of the design on a second pant leg during a second printing.

In step 76, the finished textile goods may be passed beneath at least one graphic design screen. One screen may be made for each color of the design, as is known for belt-type printers. It may be desirable that the designs be distressed to allow for imperfections that are inherent in the printing process, such as varied application and absorption of ink, which may result due to varying thicknesses of fabric in a finished textile good. For example, pocket areas may be thicker than portions of the pant leg. “Distressed” refers to designs that look time-aged, often with frayed, faded, or imperfect borders. The designs may be of varying sizes to cover all or any part of the finished textile goods.

Then in step 77, a dischargeable ink, which seeps into the fabric replacing the previous dye color with the ink color, can be swept over the design screen

In step 78, the ink may be applied to the finished textile goods by sweeping the ink over a design screen and onto the garment located on the belt style printer allowing off-garment printing. The finished textile goods may be made of fabric that is dyed in any one color or in multiple colors. It may be desirable, especially for dark inks, that a reactive or discharge agent, such as zinc formaldehyde sulfoxylate (ZFS), be added to the ink at the time the fabric is colored. The purpose for adding the agent is that, during the printing process, the dye that is in the fabric may be discharged from the fabric wherever the printed dischargeable ink is placed on the fabric. Hence, the ink of the printed design may not be affected by the underlying color of the dyed fabric in the presence of the discharge agent.

The inks used in this method may be water-based. These inks leave designs that are “soft” in the textile meaning that the ink film may not be easily felt. Use of the water-based inks can be advantageous in the printing process because they may be exposed to heat, such as dryers and irons, without damaging the design, unlike designs using plastisol inks which may tend to crack or melt.

In step 79, the finished textile goods can be dried to cure the water-based inks previously applied in step 78 to permanently affix the ink to the textile. The “curing” of a water-based ink means that a process of evaporation may occur to eliminate the water base and leave the coloring agents in the fabric. Curing may be accomplished by heating the printed finished textile goods to a temperature high enough to evaporate the solvent of the inks used in printing.

In addition, for some finished textile products, it may be desirable to print more than one side of the product. In such event, after the product has been imprinted and cured on one side, it may be flipped over and the printing process may be repeated for the other side.

It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing relates to exemplary embodiments of the invention and that modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.