Title:
GARMENT WITH LOWERED WAIST PORTION
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garment comprises a span member having a right upper portion, a left upper portion, and a lower middle portion and defining an open space between the right and left upper portions. A waistband is connected to the right and left upper portions of the span member. The span member is substantially rigid such that movement of the right upper portion away from the left upper portion is resisted, and such that circumferential tension is maintained along the waistband sufficient to maintain the garment in a desired location on a wearer's body. The fabric of the garment is attached to the span member to form a garment with an open space between the right and left upper portions of the span member.



Inventors:
Birtch, Alfred (Trenton, CA)
Application Number:
11/918489
Publication Date:
08/27/2009
Filing Date:
03/22/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/267, 2/338, 2/236
International Classes:
A41D1/06; A41F9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KINSAUL, ANNA KATHRYN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A garment comprising: a span member comprising a right upper portion, a left upper portion, and a lower middle portion, the span member thereby defining an open space between the right upper portion and the left upper portion; a waistband connected at a right end thereof to the right upper portion of the span member and connected at a left end thereof to the left upper portion of the span member; wherein the span member is substantially rigid such that movement of the right upper portion away from the left upper portion is resisted, and such that circumferential tension is maintained along the waistband sufficient to maintain the garment in a desired location on a wearer's body; and wherein fabric of the garment is attached to the span member to form a garment with an open space between the between the right and left upper portions of the span member.

2. The garment of claim 1 wherein the garment is configured such that one of a lower portion of an abdomen of the wearer, a hip of the wearer, and an upper portion of a buttock of the wearer is exposed through the open space.

3. The garment of claim 1 wherein the waistband is resilient to facilitate donning the garment.

4. The garment of claim 1 wherein the waistband comprises a releasable fly opening to facilitate donning the garment.

5. The garment of claim 1 wherein me waistband comprises loops at each end thereof, and comprising pegs extending from the right and left upper portions of the span member and extending through the loops.

6. The garment of claim 1 wherein the waistband comprises vertically oriented loops at each end thereof, and wherein the right and left upper portions of the span member are provided by substantially vertical and parallel legs extending through the loops.

7. The garment of claim 6 further comprising a tab extending laterally from a top end of at least one leg and operative to prevent a loop from sliding up off the leg.

8. The garment of claim 1 wherein the span member defines apertures in the right and left upper portions thereof and wherein the waistband is connected to the span member through me apertures.

9. The garment of claim 1 comprising loops extending from the right and left upper portions of the span member and wherein ends of the waistband extend through the loops.

10. The garment of claim 1 further comprising a belt around the outside of the garment over the waistband, and releasably attached to the right and left upper portions of the span member.

11. The garment of claim 10 wherein ends of the belt are attached to buckle members attached to the right and left upper portions of the span member.

12. The garment of claim 11 comprising pegs extending from the right and left upper portions of the span member through the fabric, and wherein the buckle members are attached to the pegs.

13. The garment of claim 1 wherein the span member comprises one of metal, ceramic, plastic, and nylon.

14. The garment of claim 1 wherein the span member comprises stainless steel.

15. The garment of claim 1 comprising padding between at least a portion of the span member and an inside of the garment

16. A method of making a garment, the method comprising: providing a span member comprising a right upper portion, a left upper portion, and a lower middle portion, the span member thereby defining an open space between the right upper portion and the left upper portion; connecting a waistband at a right end thereof to the right upper portion of the span member and at a left end thereof to the left upper portion of the span member; wherein the span member is substantially rigid such that movement of the right upper portion away from the left upper portion is resisted, and such that circumferential tension is maintained along the waistband sufficient to maintain the garment in a desired location on a wearer's body, and attaching fabric of the garment to the span member to form a garment with an open space between the between the right and left upper portions of the span member.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the garment is configured such that one of a lower portion of an abdomen of the wearer, a hip of the wearer, and an upper portion of a buttock of the wearer is exposed through the open space.

18. The method of claim 16 comprising providing a resilient waistband to facilitate donning the garment

19. The method of claim 16 comprising providing a releasable fly opening to facilitate donning the garment.

20. The method of claim 16 further comprising a belt around the outside of the garment over the waistband, and releasably attached to the right and left upper portions of the span member.

21. The method of claim 20 wherein ends of the belt are attached to buckle members attached to the right and left upper portions of the span member.

22. The method of claim 1 comprising providing padding between at least a portion of the span member and an inside of the garment.

23. A belt for use with a garment comprising a span member having a right upper portion, a left upper portion, and a lower middle portion, the garment including a waistband attached at each end thereof to the span member, the garment thereby defining an open space between the right upper portion and the left upper portion of the span member, the belt comprising a buckle member at each end thereof adapted for releasable attachment to corresponding ones of the right and left upper portions of the span member.

Description:

This invention is in the Held of clothing and in particular garments with a waistband such as pants, shorts, skirts, swim suit bottoms, and the like.

BACKGROUND

Fashion trends in clothing often make it desirable to expose more or less of certain portions of the body, such as the lower torso, and particularly in current fashion the lower abdomen. Low-rise pants reduce the distance from the crotch of the pants to the top of the waistband, and the waistband is made somewhat larger causing the waistband of the pants to ride lower on the hips, and thereby exposing more of the lower abdomen. Similarly skirt waistbands are made somewhat larger such that the waistband rides lower on the hips.

In conventional clothing construction with standard fabric, the waistband typically includes a fly opening that is opened to put the garment on, and then closed with a zipper, buttons, snaps, ties, belts, or a combination thereof. Once closed, in order to maintain the garment in position, the waistband maintains a substantially constant circumferential measurement by exerting circumferential tension that resists expansion and thus maintains the garment in position on the wearer. In some cases the waistband may be quite loose such that the waistband slides down and rides on the hips, however the waistband must exert sufficient circumferential tension to resist expansion or else it will slide down over the hips.

Where the waistband is made from a stretch fabric instead of a standard fabric, a fly opening is often not required, however circumferential tension must be maintained to keep the garment in position. The circumferential tension is the force required to stretch the waistband, and if too little force is required, the waistband will stretch and the garment will move down out of the desired position.

To expose more of the lower abdomen, the waistband can be lowered somewhat at the front compared to the sides, however doing so creates problems in maintaining the garment in position. The line of force of the circumferential tension exerted by the waistband on the wearer generally follows the waistband with the result that lowering the waistband in one area will result in a downward force on the higher areas. Lowering the waistband in one area excessively thus results in an unsatisfactory and uncomfortable feel, and the higher areas of the garment will move downward in response to the downward force exerted by the waistband, and can lead to undesired exposure of other body areas, particularly the buttocks.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,859,944 to Kim discloses an apparatus for adjusting garment coverage of the lower abdomen. The apparatus provides a mechanism for pulling the front of the waistband downward toward the crotch and gathering the material in the front of the garment below the waistband to expose a lower portion of the abdomen when desired This mechanism causes downward tension to be exerted on the higher sides of the waistband, with the result that the higher sides of the waistband works its way downward in response to the force.

The back of the waistband in U.S. Pat. No. 4,004,297 to Polack fits around the small of the back and then side portions angle downward to the line of the juncture between the abdomen and the legs such that the front portion is very low, but the waistband there does not suspend the garment on the body of the wearer, but simply provides points of attachment for suspenders or the like.

Conventional clothing construction thus limits the ability of designers to accommodate features that a significant number of customers might desire.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a garment that overcomes problems in the prior art.

The present invention provides in one embodiment, a garment comprising a span member comprising a right upper portion, a left upper portion, and a lower middle portion, the span member thereby defining an open space between the right upper portion and the left upper portion. A waistband is connected at a right end thereof to the right upper portion of the span member and connected at a left end thereof to the left upper portion of the span member. The span member is substantially rigid such that movement of the right upper portion away from the left upper portion is resisted, and such that circumferential tension is maintained along the waistband sufficient to maintain the garment in a desired location on a wearer's body, and the fabric of the garment is attached to the span member to form a garment with an open space between the right and left upper portions of the span member.

The rigid span member allows circumferential tension to be exerted across the open space with no downward pull on the garment. The tension in the waistband is exerted on the right and left upper portions of the span member, tending to pull the right and left upper portions apart Since the span member is essentially rigid, movement of the right upper portion away from the left upper portion is resisted, and the circumferential tension is maintained in the waistband from one side of the span member around the wearer's body to the opposite side. Thus the lower middle portion of the span member can be located below the waistband to create an open space and expose the desired body area between the upper portions of the span member, while avoiding any downward tension in the waistband that would tend to move the waistband in an undesirable downward direction. This open space can vary is size totally dependant on the size and shape of the span member incorporated into the garment.

The span member can be incorporated into garments such as shorts, pants, skirts, swim suit bottoms, and the like to expose a desired area of the body below the normal waistline, such as the lower abdomen, hip, or upper buttock. In addition to allowing construction of clothing to expose body areas, it is contemplated the invention can be used to create more comfortable clothing for people with certain body configurations.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While the invention is claimed in the concluding portions hereof, preferred embodiments are provided in the accompanying detailed description which may be best understood in conjunction with the accompanying diagrams where like parts in each of the several diagrams are labeled with like numbers, and where:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a garment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the span member used in the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is front view of the attachment of the waistband to the span member in the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is top view of an alternate embodiment of the span member and the attachment of the waistband;

FIG. 5 is a front view of the embodiment of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is front view of a further alternate embodiment of the span member and the attachment of the waistband;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is front view of a still further alternate embodiment of the span member and the attachment of the waistband;

FIG. 9 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a front view of an embodiment of a garment including a belt;

FIGS. 11-13 are front views showing further alternate embodiments of the span member of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS!

FIG. 1 illustrates the waist area of an embodiment of a garment of the invention. The garment 1 comprises a span member 3, illustrated in FIG. 2, having a right upper portion 5, a left upper portion 7, and a lower middle portion 9 such that the span member 3 defines an open space 10 between its right upper portion 5 and left upper portion 7. The span member 3 is covered with fabric 11 of the garment 1.

The waistband 13 of the garment 1 is connected at a right end thereof to the right upper portion S of the span member 3 and is connected at a left end thereof to the left upper portion 7 of the span member 3. The span member 3 is substantially rigid such that movement of the right upper portion 5 away from the left upper portion 7 is resisted, and such that circumferential tension is maintained along the waistband 13 sufficient to maintain the garment 1 in a desired location on a wearer's body.

The fabric 11 is attached to the span member 3 to form a garment 1 with the open space 10 between the between the right and left upper portions of the span member. FIG. 3 illustrates the fabric 13 wrapped generally around the span member 3 and stitched along a seam 15 to enclose the span member 3. The illustrated span member 3 defines apertures 17 in the right and left upper portions thereof and the waistband 13 is connected to the span member by thread, rivets, or like fasteners through the apertures 17, as illustrated in FIG. 3. Conveniently a short length of extra strong fabric could be provided at the ends of the waistband 13 and connected to the apertures 17, and the whole covered by fabric to match the garment In other embodiments of the span member 3, discussed below, the waistband 13 can be attached by various other means.

The garment 3 can be configured and oriented on the body such that the lower portion of an abdomen of the wearer is exposed, as has been recently popular, or could further be oriented to expose a hip of the wearer, an upper portion of a buttock or like body areas through the open space 10.

The garment 1 illustrates in FIG. 1 includes a releasable fly opening 19 in the waistband 13 located at a portion of the waistband 13 that is substantially opposite the span member 3 to facilitate donning the garment. Thus when the garment 3 is oriented such that the wearer's lower abdomen is exposed through the open space 10, the fly opening 19 is located at the center of the back, such as is common in women's apparel. The fly opening 19 could instead be located as a side closure, as is also common, or along the edge of the span member 3, or in another desired location. Alternatively the waistband 13 could be resilient, thereby facilitating donning the garment by simply stretching the waistband 13 without including a fly opening, as in some conventional garments.

Thus the rigid span member 3 allows circumferential tension to be exerted across the open space 10. The tension in the waistband 13 is exerted on the right and left upper portions 5, 7 of the span member 3 in the direction indicated by arrows T in FIG. 2, tending to pull the right and left upper portions 5, 7 apart. Since the span member 3 is essentially rigid, movement of the right upper portion 5 away from the left upper portion 7 is resisted, and the circumferential tension is maintained in the waistband 13 in the directions indicated by the arrows T. Thus the lower middle portion 9 of the span member can be located below the waistband 13 to create the open space 10 and expose the desired body area, while avoiding any downward tension that would tend to move the waistband 13 in an undesirable downward direction. The span member 3 can be made somewhat thinner and less rigid In a direction perpendicular to the line between the right and left upper portions, such that the span member 3 will flex somewhat more readily in that direction to facilitate movement and enhance comfort to the wearer.

FIGS. 4 and 5 schematically illustrate a garment with an alternate connection of the waistband to the span member. The waistband 113 comprises loops 121 at each end thereof, wherein the right and left upper portions of the span member 103 are provided by substantially vertical and parallel legs 105,107 extending through the loops 121. A tab 123 is also provided and extends laterally from a top end of each leg 105, 107 to prevent the loops 121 from sliding up off the legs. This embodiment also provides a layer of padding 139 between the span member 103 and an inside of the garment.

It is contemplated that a wide variety of connections could be made between the waistband and the span member. In the embodiment of FIGS. 6 and 7, the waistband 231 comprises loops 221 at each end thereof, and pegs 225 extend from the right and left upper portions 205,207 of the span member 203 and extending through the loops 221. A head 223 on the pegs 225 prevents the loops 221 from sliding up off the pegs 225.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9, the waistband 313 comprises tabs 331 at each end thereof, that extend through loops 333 in the right and left upper portions 305, 307 of the span member 303 and are then folded back and fastened by sewing or like fastening means. The side view of the span member 303 also shows the span member 303 to be relatively thin, such that same will flex somewhat more readily in the direction indicated by the arrows F to enhance comfort for the wearer.

FIG. 10 illustrates a garment 401 comprising a belt 425 around the outside of the garment 401 over the waistband 413, and releasably attached to the right and left upper portions 405, 407 of the span member 403. The ends of the belt are attached to buckle members 427 attached to the right and left upper portions 405, 407 of the span member 403. In the illustrated embodiment pegs 429 extend from the right and left upper portions 405, 407 of the span member 403 through the fabric 411 of the garment 401, and the buckle members 427 are attached to the pegs 429 through holes 431. The belt 425 can then be pulled tight and fastened as is known in the art. Alternatively the buckle members 427 could be attachable to the waistband 413, which would then act to connect the buckle members 427 to the span member 403.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2, 5, 6, and 8 the span member can take many shapes. FIG. 11 illustrates a particularly deep span member 503 which includes a brace 541 below the open space 510 between the right and left upper portions of the span member 503 to assist in resisting movement of the right upper portion 505 away from the left upper portion 507. FIG. 12 shows a span member 703 with decorative curves in the lower middle portion 709 thereof. FIG. 13 shows a span member 803 that is asymmetrical, with the middle portion 809 angling toward one side of the span member 803.

The span member can be made from metal such as stainless steel which has relatively high strength such that the span member can be made as light and thin as possible. It is contemplated that certain ceramic, plastic, or nylon materials would provide satisfactory performance in some applications as well.

Thus the garment of the invention can be configured to expose desired body area below the normal waistline of a wearer. It is contemplated that the garment could also be configured to provide more comfortable clothing for persons with larger hanging abdomens that cause conventional waistbands to slide down.

Thus the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous changes and modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all such suitable changes or modifications in structure or operation which may be resorted to are intended to fall within the scope of the claimed invention.