Title:
GARMENTS WITH RELEASABLE RETAINERS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Garments for covering appendages, such as socks and mittens for covering feet and hands, are provided with releasable retainer tabs. The tabs include elements configured to releasably attach. When attached, the tabs cinch a part of the garment covering the appendage joint, e.g., the ankle of a sock or wrist of a mitten. Elasticity of the sock or mitten ensures adequate circulation for the wearer. The tabs serve a secondary function, namely, pairing socks for laundering and storage. Pairing tabs may be provided in addition to or in lieu of the retainer tabs to join paired socks for laundering and storage.



Inventors:
Gudzak, Cheryl (Jacksonville, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/422262
Publication Date:
12/03/2009
Filing Date:
04/11/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/239
International Classes:
A41D19/00; A43B17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, AMBER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark Young, P.A. (JACKSONVILLE, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover, said slip on garment comprising: an appendage covering; a joint covering extending from the appendage covering, the joint covering including a free edge defining an opening through which an appendage may be inserted; a pair of retainer tabs attached to the joint covering, said pair of retainer tabs including: a first retainer tab attached to the joint covering a first distance from the free edge defining the opening of the joint covering; a second retainer tab attached to the joint covering in operable alignment with the first retainer tab at the first distance from the free edge defining the opening of the joint covering, spaced apart from the first retainer tab by a second distance, wherein said second retainer tab is configured for releasable attachment to said first retainer, and said pair of retainer tabs cinching said joint covering by reducing the second distance when said second retainer tab is releasably attached to said first retainer tab.

2. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1: said pair of retainer tabs comprising hook and loop fasteners.

3. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1: said pair of retainer tabs comprising hook and loop fasteners, said first retainer tab comprising a hook type fastener and said second retainer tab comprising a loop type fastener.

4. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1: said pair of retainer tabs comprising hook and loop fasteners, said first retainer tab comprising a hook type fastener and said second retainer tab comprising a loop type fastener, and said second retainer tab being spaced apart from the first retainer tab by the second distance, said second distance being about ⅛ to 1 inch when said second retainer tab is not releasably attached to said first retainer tab.

5. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1: said first retainer tab having a first edge and an opposite second edge, and said first retainer tab being attached to the joint covering along the first edge of the first retainer tab, and said first retainer tab being able to pivot about the first edge; and said second retainer tab having a first edge and an opposite second edge, and said second retainer tab being attached to the joint covering along the first edge of the second retainer tab, and said second retainer tab being able to pivot about the first edge of the second retainer tab.

6. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1: said first retainer tab having a first edge and an opposite second edge, and said first retainer tab being attached to the joint covering along the first edge of the first retainer tab, and said first retainer tab being able to pivot about the first edge; and said second retainer tab having a first edge and an opposite second edge, and said second retainer tab being attached to the joint covering along the first edge and the second edge of the second retainer tab.

7. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1: wherein said second retainer tab configured for releasable attachment to said first retainer cinches said joint covering and increases the tensile forces in the joint covering, when worn, by reducing the second distance when said second retainer tab is releasably attached to said first retainer tab.

8. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1: wherein said second retainer tab configured for releasable attachment to said first retainer cinches said joint covering by reducing the second distance when said second retainer tab is releasably attached to said first retainer tab and thereby resists removal of the slip on garment from an appendage when worn.

9. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1 wherein the appendage is a foot and the joint is an ankle.

10. A slip on garment with a binding joint cover according to claim 1 wherein the appendage is a hand and the joint is a wrist.

11. A pair of socks, including a first sock and a second sock, with each sock comprising: a foot covering covering including a toe portion configured to coves toes of a foot, and a heel portion configured to cover a heel of a foot; an ankle covering extending from the foot covering, the ankle covering including a free edge defining an opening through which a foot may be inserted; a pair of retainer tabs attached to the ankle covering, said pair of retainer tabs comprising hook and loop fasteners, and said pair of retainer tabs including: a first retainer tab attached to the ankle covering a first distance from the free edge defining the opening of the ankle covering; a second retainer tab attached to the ankle covering in operable alignment with the first retainer tab at the first distance from the free edge defining the opening of the ankle covering, spaced apart from the first retainer tab by a second distance, wherein said second retainer tab is configured for releasable attachment to said first retainer, and said pair of retainer tabs cinching said ankle covering by reducing the second distance when said second retainer tab is releasably attached to said first retainer tab; said first sock being releasably attachable to the second sock using the first and second retainer tabs of the first sock and the first and second retainer tabs of the second sock.

12. A pair of socks according to claim 11, wherein the first retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the first retainer tab of the second sock, and the second retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the second sock.

13. A pair of socks according to claim 12, wherein the ankle coverings of said first and second socks are in alignment when the first retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the first retainer tab of the second sock, and the second retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the second sock.

14. A pair of socks according to claim 11, wherein the first retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the second sock, and the second retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the first retainer tab of the second sock.

15. A pair of socks according to claim 11, wherein the first retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the first sock, and the first retainer tab of the second sock is configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the second sock, with the first retainer tab of the second sock and the second retainer tab of the second sock being disposed between the ankle covering of the first sock and the pair of retainer tabs of the first sock.

16. A pair of socks, including a first sock and a second sock, with each sock comprising: a foot covering covering including a toe portion configured to coves toes of a foot, and a heel portion configured to cover a heel of a foot; an ankle covering extending from the foot covering, the ankle covering including a free edge defining an opening through which a foot may be inserted; a foldable pairing tab attached to the ankle covering, said pairing tab comprising: a tab body attached to the ankle covering, a hook retainer portion attached to the tab body; a loop retainer portion attached to the tab body and spaced apart from the hook retainer portion by a folding area, said hook retainer portion releasably engaging said loop retainer portion when said tab body is folded along the folding area and the hook retainer portion and loop retainer portion are urged into contact.

17. A pair of socks according to claim 16, wherein the foldable area is aligned with the free edge of the ankle covering.

18. A pair of socks according to claim 16, wherein the pairing tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the pairing tab of the second sock.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a Nonprovisional of and claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/057,814 filed May 30, 2008, the entire contents of which is incorporated herein and made a part hereof.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to garments, and more particularly, to garments for covering appendages, such as socks for covering feet and mittens for covering hands, with releasable retainer tabs.

BACKGROUND

Infants engage in considerable activity on a regular basis. They explore with their hands. They squirm, kick, roll, and crawl during various development stages. Adults lift infants from a floor, a crib, a car seat and other places. Adults must frequently remove clothing from an infant to clean the infant or change a diaper.

Infants wear socks (or booties) and mittens to keep their feet and hands warm, clean and protected. Mittens also protect an infant from fingernail scratches. Unfortunately, while engaging in the aforementioned activities, infants tend to remove their socks and mittens. Frequently, the removed items will become lost. The exposed feet and hands remain unprotected until another pair of garments is available. Each missing sock and mitten is an economic loss to be replaced at the cost of the parent.

Another common problem when washing infant socks (or booties) and mittens is that the articles separate when being washed in a washing machine. Because such articles of infant clothing are small, a single sock or mitten can easily end up hidden within the pocket, body, leg or arm sleeve of another garment. Finding the missing article can be time consuming and tedious. Often, the result is loss of one of the articles so that the pair is no longer available.

Thus, there is a widely recognized need for, and it would be highly advantageous to have, an easy to use means for improving retention of socks and mittens on an infant without compromising the infant's circulation or posing a choking hazard. Likewise, there is a widely recognized need for, and it would be highly advantageous to have, an easy to use means for pairing (i.e., releasably connecting) socks and pairing mittens while they are laundered. The invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems and solving one or more of the needs as set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To solve one or more of the problems set forth above, in an exemplary implementation of the invention, socks and mittens with releasable retainer tabs are provided. The tabs include elements configured to releasably attach. When corresponding tabs are attached, the tabs cinch a part of the ankle of a sock or wrist of a mitten. Elasticity of the sock or mitten ensures adequate circulation for the infant. The tabs may also be used to pair socks for laundering and storage.

A slip-on garment with a binding joint cover is provided. The garment is designed to cover an appendage (e.g., a foot or hand) and at least part of the joint (e.g., an ankle or wrist) connecting the appendage. The garment may take the form of a sock, mitten, glove or the like. The garment includes an appendage covering and a joint covering. The joint covering extends from the appendage covering and includes a free edge defining an opening through which the appendage may be inserted. A pair of retainer tabs are attached to the joint covering, the pair of retainer tabs include a first retainer tab attached to the joint covering a first distance from the free edge defining the opening of the joint covering. A second retainer tab is attached to the joint covering in operable alignment with the first retainer tab at the first distance from the free edge defining the opening of the joint covering and spaced apart from the first retainer tab by a second distance. The second retainer tab is configured for releasable attachment to the first retainer. The pair of retainer tabs cinch the joint covering by reducing the second distance when the second retainer tab is releasably attached to the first retainer tab.

In a preferred embodiment, the pair of retainer tabs includes hook and loop fasteners. The first retainer tab may include a hook type fastener and the second retainer tab includes a loop type fastener. The second retainer tab is spaced apart from the first retainer tab by the second distance. The second distance may be about ⅛ to 1 inch when the second retainer tab is not releasably attached to the first retainer tab. The first retainer tab has a first edge and an opposite second edge. The first retainer tab is attached to the joint covering along the first edge of the first retainer tab. The first retainer tab may be able to pivot about the first edge. The second retainer tab also has a first edge and an opposite second edge. The second retainer tab is attached to the joint covering along the first edge of the second retainer tab. The second retainer tab may also able to pivot about the first edge of the second retainer tab. Alternatively, the second retainer tab may be attached to the joint covering along the first edge and the second edge of the second retainer tab. The second retainer tab configured for releasable attachment to the first retainer cinches the joint covering and increases the tensile forces in the joint covering, when worn, by reducing the second distance when the second retainer tab is releasably attached to the first retainer tab. Releasably attaching the retainer tabs thereby resists removal of the slip on garment from an appendage when worn.

In one embodiment, a pair of socks is provided. Each sock, i.e., a first sock and a second sock, includes a foot covering including a toe portion configured to coves toes of a foot, and a heel portion configured to cover a heel of a foot, and an ankle covering extending from the foot covering. The ankle covering includes a free edge defining an opening through which a foot may be inserted. A pair of retainer tabs is attached to the ankle covering. The pair of retainer tabs includes hook and loop fasteners, and comprises a first retainer tab attached to the ankle covering a first distance from the free edge defining the opening of the ankle covering, a second retainer tab attached to the ankle covering in operable alignment with the first retainer tab at the first distance from the free edge defining the opening of the ankle covering and spaced apart from the first retainer tab by a second distance. The second retainer tab is configured for releasable attachment to the first retainer. The pair of retainer tabs cinch (i.e., tighten by binding) the ankle covering by reducing the second distance when the second retainer tab is releasably attached to the first retainer tab.

The first sock is releasably attachable to the second sock using the first and second retainer tabs of the first sock and the first and second retainer tabs of the second sock. For example, the first retainer tab of the first and second socks may attach together, and the second retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the second sock. The ankle coverings of the first and second socks may (but are not required to) be in alignment when the first retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the first retainer tab of the second sock, and the second retainer tab of the first sock is configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the second sock. Alternatively, the first retainer tab of the first sock may be configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the second sock, and the second retainer tab of the first sock may be configured to releasably attach to the first retainer tab of the second sock. As another alternative, the first retainer tab of the first sock may be configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the first sock, and the first retainer tab of the second sock may be configured to releasably attach to the second retainer tab of the second sock, with the first retainer tab of the second sock and the second retainer tab of the second sock is disposed between the ankle covering of the first sock and the pair of retainer tabs of the first sock.

In another embodiment, the a foldable pairing tab is attached to the ankle covering. The pairing tab includes a tab body attached to the ankle covering, a hook retainer portion attached to the tab body, and a loop retainer portion attached to the tab body and spaced apart from the hook retainer portion by a folding area. The hook retainer portion releasably engages the loop retainer portion when the tab body is folded along the folding area and the hook retainer portion and loop retainer portion are urged into contact. The foldable area may be (but is not required to be) aligned with the free edge of the ankle covering. The pairing tab of the first sock may be configured to releasably attach to the pairing tab of the second sock.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other aspects, objects, features and advantages of the invention will become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, where:

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary pair of socks with corresponding retainer tabs according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 2 shows an exemplary pair of retainer tabs for socks according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 3 shows an exemplary pair of socks with corresponding retainer tabs in open position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 4 shows an exemplary pair of socks with corresponding retainer tabs in closed position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 5 shows an exemplary pair of socks with corresponding retainer tabs in configuration for pairing according to principles of the invention; and

FIGS. 6A through 6C show an exemplary mitten with corresponding retainer tabs in open, partially closed and closed positions according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 7 shows another exemplary pair of socks with corresponding retainer tabs in open position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 8 shows exemplary retainer tabs for a sock according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 9 shows another exemplary pair of socks with corresponding retainer tabs in closed position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 10 shows another exemplary pair of socks with corresponding pairing tabs in open position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 11 shows another exemplary pair of socks with corresponding pairing tabs in closed position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 12 shows another exemplary pair of socks with corresponding pairing tabs in open position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 13 shows an exemplary pair of socks paired with corresponding pairing tabs according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 14 shows another exemplary pair of socks with corresponding pairing tabs in open position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 15 shows an exemplary pair of socks paired with corresponding pairing tabs according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 16 shows another exemplary pair of socks with corresponding pairing tabs in open position according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 17 shows an exemplary pair of socks paired with corresponding pairing tabs according to principles of the invention.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the figures are not intended to be drawn to any particular scale; nor are the figures intended to illustrate every embodiment of the invention. The invention is not limited to the exemplary embodiments depicted in the figures or the types of devices, shapes, relative sizes, ornamental aspects or proportions shown in the figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the FIGS. 1 through 4 and 7 through 9, in which like parts are indicated with the same reference numerals, various views of exemplary socks are shown. In the drawings, 100, 135 represent a sock, and together they represent a pair of socks. As is well known, a sock 100, 135 is a knitted or woven type of hosiery garment for enclosing the human foot, such as an infant's foot. A sock according to principles of the invention may be created from any of a wide variety of materials suitable for garments, including, but not limited to, cotton, wool, nylon, silk, acrylic, polyester, olefin, polypropylene, and spandex. Typically, the sock 100, 135, or at least the ankle portion 125, 145 exhibits some elasticity. The elasticity keeps the sock comfortably secured around an ankle.

Although a particular style and proportioned sock is shown, the invention is not so limited. The invention is not limited to any particular sock size or height. By way of example and not limitation, ankle-high to calf level and all heights in between are intended to come within the scope of the invention.

Each sock 100, 135 comprises a foot covering 115, 155 and an ankle covering 125, 145. Each foot covering 115, 155 includes a toe portion that covers toes of a foot. Each foot covering 115, 155 also includes a heel portion 110, 160 that covers a heel of a foot. Each ankle covering 125, 145 includes an opening 130, 140 through which a foot is inserted.

An exemplary sock retainer according to principles of the invention comprises a pair of tabs such as tabs 105, 120 and 150, 165, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 8. The tabs 105, 120 and 150, 165 are attached to the ankle covering 125, 145, in general alignment but spaced apart from each other. The spacing may vary from a few mm apart to ½ of the periphery of the sock.

The tabs 105, 120 and 150, 165 may be formed as an integral part of the sock 100, 135. Alternatively, the tabs 105, 120 and 150, 165 may comprise separate pieces attached to the ankle covering 125, 145 by stitching 170, 175, 180, 185 bonding or otherwise. Any manner of attachment now known or hereafter developed is intended to come within the scope of the invention. Each tab may be attached (e.g., stitched) to the sock along one vertical edge of the tab, thereby allowing pivoting movement of the tab. Alternatively, one tab on a sock may be attached (e.g., stitched) to the sock along a plurality of edges of the tab. The corresponding engaging tab may be attached (e.g., stitched) to the sock along one vertical edge of the tab. That tab, which may pivot, can be repeatedly attached to and detached from the other tab.

Each pair of tabs includes means for releasable engagement. For example, in a preferred embodiment, each pair of tabs includes one tab with loop elements (i.e., the “hairier” side) 105, 165 of a hook and loop fastener. The loop elements 105, 165 may be glued, stitched or otherwise attached to the body of the tabs. Each pair of tabs 105, 120 and 150, 165 also includes one tab with hook elements 120, 150 of the hook and loop fastener. The hook elements 120, 150 may be glued, stitched or otherwise attached to the body of the tabs. By way of example and not limitation, the hook and loop elements may be of the type manufactured and sold by Velcro Corporation of New York, N.Y. under the registered trademark VELCRO®. Other means of releasable engagement, such as buttons and snaps, may be used and are intended to come within the scope of the invention.

To use the retainers, the hook and loop elements are configured such that the tabs, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 7, are urged together in engaging alignment and releasably interlocked, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 9. When the loop element 205, 265 of a tab is pressed against the hook element 220, 265 of a corresponding tab of a pair, the hooks catch in the loops and releasably secure the corresponding tabs together. Concomitantly, the material comprising the spacing is bunched up beneath the attached hook and loop elements, and the spacing between the hook and loop elements is either decreased or virtually eliminated. Consequently, the reduction or elimination of such spacing has the effect of cinching or girding, i.e., reducing the diameter of, the ankle portion of the sock 100, 135 at the cinched areas 190, 192 and 195, 197. In so doing, the ankle portion of the sock 100, 135 tightens the ankle portion of the sock 100, 135 around the wearer's ankle. With sufficient cinching, the sock 100, 135 is secured to a wearer's ankle, resisting unintended removal. Concomitantly, the part of the ankle portion of the sock 100, 135 that is not bound by the engaged tabs provides elasticity around the ankle. This elasticity ensures good circulation through the wearer's ankle. Thus, advantageously, the invention avoids a constricting engagement around an infant's ankle that could impair blood flow to and from an infant's feet if the constricting force is too great.

The tabs 105, 120 and 150, 165 serve a secondary function, i.e., to pair socks together. During laundering and storage, the tabs 105, 120 and 150, 165 may be used to attach each sock of a pair together. Pairing may entail attaching the hook elements of a tab on a first sock to the loop elements of a tab on the second sock, and attaching the loop elements of a tab on the first sock to the loop elements of a tab on the second sock. Alternatively, the attached hook and loop elements of one pair of tabs on one sock, may be positioned between the other sock and its attached pair of hook and loop elements, as conceptually illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 17. The paired socks 100, 135 prevent separation. Pairing thus avoids the tedious chore of searching through a clothes dryer, basket or drawer for a missing matching sock.

Referring now to FIGS. 6A, 6B and 6C, various views of an exemplary mitten are shown. In the drawings, 300 represents a mitten. The mitten 300 is a knitted or woven type of hosiery garment for enclosing the human hand, such as an infant's hand. A mitten according to principles of the invention may be created from any of a wide variety of materials suitable for garments, including, but not limited to, cotton, wool, nylon, silk, acrylic, polyester, olefin, polypropylene, and spandex. Typically, the mitten 300, or at least the wrist portion 315 exhibits some elasticity. The elasticity keeps the mitten comfortably secured around a wrist.

Although a particular style and proportioned mitten is shown, the invention is not so limited. The invention is not limited to any particular mitten size or length. Mittens or gloves with and without separate thumb and finger compartments comes within the scope of the invention.

Each mitten 300 comprises a hand covering 305 and a wrist covering 315. Each hand covering 305 covers fingers of a hand. Each wrist covering 315 includes an opening 310 through which a hand is inserted.

An exemplary mitten retainer according to principles of the invention comprises a pair of tabs such as tabs 320, 325. The tabs 320, 325 are attached to the wrist covering 315, in general alignment but spaced apart from each other. The spacing may vary from a few mm apart to ½ of the periphery of the mitten.

The tabs 320, 325 may be formed as an integral part of the mitten 300. Alternatively, the tabs 320, 325 may comprise separate pieces attached to the wrist covering 315 by stitching 330, 335 bonding or otherwise. Any manner of attachment now known or hereafter developed is intended to come within the scope of the invention.

Each pair of tabs includes means for releasable engagement. For example, in a preferred embodiment, each pair of tabs includes one tab with loop elements (i.e., the “hairier” side) 325 of a hook and loop fastener. The loop elements 325 may be glued, stitched or otherwise attached to the body of the tabs. Each pair of tabs 320, 325 also includes one tab with hook elements 320 of the hook and loop fastener. The hook elements 320 may be glued, stitched or otherwise attached to the body of the tabs. By way of example and not limitation, the hook and loop elements may be of the type manufactured and sold by Velcro Corporation of New York, N.Y. under the registered trademark VELCRO®. Other means of releasable engagement, such as buttons and snaps, may be used and are intended to come within the scope of the invention.

To use the retainers, the hook and loop elements are configured such that the tabs may be urged together in engaging alignment and releasably interlocked, as shown in FIG. 2. The mitten 300 is shown with tabs fully apart in FIG. 6A, with one tab pivoted towards the other tab in FIG. 6B and with the tabs releasably attached in FIG. 6C. When the loop element 320 of a tab is pressed against the hook element 325 of a corresponding tab of a pair, the hooks catch in the loops and releasably secure the corresponding tabs together. Concomitantly, the spacing is decreased or eliminated, thereby cinching the wrist portion of the mitten 300. The cinching action secures the mitten 300 to a wearer's wrist, making unintended removal very difficult. Concomitantly, the part of the wrist portion of the mitten 300 that is not bound by the engaged tabs provides elasticity around the wrist. This elasticity ensures good circulation through the wearer's wrist. Thus, advantageously, the invention avoids a constricting engagement around an infant's wrist that could impair blood flow to and from an infant's hand if the constricting force is too great.

The tabs serve a secondary function, i.e., to pair mittens together. During laundering and storage, the tabs may be used to attach each mitten of a pair together. The paired mittens prevent separation. Pairing thus avoids the tedious chore of searching through a clothes dryer, basket or drawer for a missing matching mitten.

In an alternative embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 10 through 15, pairing retainers are provided in addition to or in lieu of the sock retainers described above. The pairing retainers comprise tabs such as tabs 400, 425 as illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 14. The tabs 400, 425 are attached to the ankle covering 125, 145, in a generally vertical orientation.

Each tab 400, 425 comprises a substrate 405, 430 onto which hook elements 410, 445 and loop elements 420, 435 are attached. A foldable section 415, 440 of the substrate 405, 430 separates the hook elements 410, 445 from the loop elements 420, 435. Each sock may have the hook and loop elements in the same position on the tab. For example, the hook element of each tab may be at the top (i.e., near the free end) of the tab, while the loop element of each tab may be at the opposite end of the tab. Alternatively, the loop element of each tab may be at the top (i.e., near the free end) of the tab, while the hook element of each tab may be at the opposite end of the tab. In either of the foregoing configurations, tabs on paired socks may be attached by joining the hook element of each tab to the loop element of the corresponding tab, for example, as conceptually illustrated in FIG. 15. When the tabs are not used for pairing, they may be folded over so that the loop portion engages the hook portion of the tab, as shown in FIG. 11.

In an alternative embodiment, each pair of socks may have the hook and loop elements in the opposite positions on their respective tabs. For example, the hook element of the tab for one sock may be at the top (i.e., near the free end) of the tab, while the loop element of the tab may be at the opposite end of the tab, or vice versa. On the paired sock, the loop element of the tab may be at the top (i.e., near the free end) of the tab, while the hook element of each tab may be at the opposite end of the tab, or vice versa. Thus, tabs on paired socks may be attached by joining the hook element of each tab to the loop element of the corresponding tab, for example, as conceptually illustrated in FIG. 13. When the tabs are not used for pairing, they may be folded over so that the loop portion engages the hook portion of the tab.

The tabs 400, 425 may comprise separate pieces attached to the ankle covering 125, 145 by stitching bonding or otherwise. In a preferred embodiment, the tabs are arranged with the foldable sections 415, 440 near the top edge of the ankle covering 125, 145. The portion of the tab between the foldable section and the foot covering 115 of the sock is attached to the ankle covering 125, 145. Any manner of attachment now known or hereafter developed is intended to come within the scope of the invention. Each tab may be attached (e.g., stitched) to the sock along one or more vertical and/or horizontal edges of the tab.

The pairing tabs 400, 425 pair socks together. During laundering and storage, the tabs 400, 425 may be used to attach each sock of a pair together. Pairing may entail attaching the hook elements of a tab on a first sock to the loop elements of a tab on the second sock, and attaching the loop elements of a tab on the first sock to the loop elements of a tab on the second sock. Alternatively, the attached hook and loop elements of one pair of tabs on one sock, may be positioned between the other sock and its attached pair of hook and loop elements, as conceptually illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 17. The paired socks 100, 135 prevent separation. Pairing thus avoids the tedious chore of searching through a clothes dryer, basket or drawer for a missing matching sock. When not being used for pairing, the tabs 400, 425 may be folded over as in FIG. 11 to reveal indicia (e.g., a decoration or logo) on the exposed portion of the tab.

In the embodiments discussed above, there are several advantages gained from the invention. One is that the socks and mittens will remain on the infant's feet and hands during normal wear. Another is that circulation will not be impaired during normal use. A third is that the items may be paired for laundering and storage.

While an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described, it should be apparent that modifications and variations thereto are possible, all of which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum relationships for the components and steps of the invention, including variations in order, form, content, function and manner of operation, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. The above description and drawings are illustrative of modifications that can be made without departing from the present invention, the scope of which is to be limited only by the following claims. Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes 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 suitable modifications and equivalents are intended to fall within the scope of the invention as claimed.