Title:
Garment De-wrinkling Device and Methods of Use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for de-wrinkling garments comprising a torso section made from a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material adapted to fit within a body of a garment and tension the associated fabric to remove and prevent wrinkles. The torso section is further adapted to be partially rolled or folded for easy insertion into a garment by way of the garment's bottom or waist opening.



Inventors:
Guffey, Don (Highlands Ranch, CO, US)
Application Number:
12/175522
Publication Date:
01/21/2010
Filing Date:
07/18/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
223/84, 223/87, 223/66
International Classes:
A41D27/22; D06C15/00
View Patent Images:
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20050205619Dressing aidSeptember, 2005Morel
20080296324Non-Slip HangerDecember, 2008Zhao et al.
20030209576Collar stay for a shirt collarNovember, 2003Silbert
20090212080INDICATOR AND GARMENT HANGERAugust, 2009Goldman
20070187439Hanger arrangement and indicator device for use thereinAugust, 2007Louw
20040211796Indicator of size, etc., to be attached to clothes hanger and clothes hanger with indicator of size, etc.October, 2004Misumi
20090283556Collapsible Hook HangerNovember, 2009Ho



Primary Examiner:
DURHAM, NATHAN E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Leyendecker & Lemire, LLC (Greenwood Village, CO, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A garment de-wrinkling device comprising, a generally rectangularly-shaped planar body section comprising a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material, the body section being of a size to fit within a torso portion of a garment and having left and right lengthwise edge portions that when placed in the garment generally correspond to the intersection of front and back sides of the torso portion; and a pair of gripping devices located on the body section, a left gripping device located proximate the left lengthwise edge portion and the right gripping device located proximate the right lengthwise edge portion, the gripping devices adapted to permit a user to hold the de-wrinkling device therewith using one or both hands of the user; wherein the body section is capable of being resiliently partially rolled along a generally lengthwise axis by a user holding the de-wrinkling device by the gripping devices to momentarily reduce an effective width of the body section for insertion into the garment, the body section further adapted to resiliently return to a planar configuration when the gripping devices are released by the user.

2. The de-wrinkling device of claim 1, wherein the polymeric sheet material comprises polystyrene.

3. The de-wrinkling device of claim 1, wherein the polymeric sheet material comprises a grafted thermoplastic elastomer.

4. The de-wrinkling device of claim 1, wherein the body section further includes a top side edge portion, and the de-wrinkling device further comprises a hanger hook coupled to the top side edge portion proximate a centered lengthwise axis of the body section.

5. The de-wrinkling device of claim 4, wherein the hanger hook is mechanically fastened or adhesively bonded to the body section.

6. The de-wrinkling device of claim 4, wherein the hanger hook is integral and continuous with the body section having been formed from the same piece of sheet material.

7. The de-wrinkling device of claim 1, wherein the gripping devices comprise handles pivotally coupled with the body section.

8. The de-wrinkling device of claim 7, wherein the device is adapted to permit a user to partially roll the body section into a configuration wherein the user can grip both handles to maintain the partially rolled configuration using a single hand.

9. The de-wrinkling device of claim 1, further comprising: left and right arm appendage sections, each comprising the semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material, each arm appendage section being at least slightly tapered from a proximal end to a distal end and having a size to fit within a respective sleeve portion of the garment; and fastening means for securing the left and right arm appendages to the body section

10. The de-wrinkling device of claim 9, wherein the fastening means comprises a plurality of pieces of hook and loop material attached to the left and right arm appendage sections and the body section adapted to removably attach the appendage sections to the body section.

11. A combination comprising a garment and a de-wrinkling device: the de-wrinkling device including (i) planar body section comprising a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material, the body section having a right lengthwise edge portions, a left lengthwise edge portion and a top edge portion, (ii) a pair of gripping devices coupled to the body section, a left gripping device located proximate the left lengthwise edge portion and the right gripping device located proximate the right lengthwise edge portion, (iii) a hanger hook, the hanger hook being coupled to the top side edge portion proximate a centered lengthwise axis of the body section, (iv) left and right arm appendage sections comprising a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material, each arm appendage section being at least slightly tapered from a proximal end to a distal end, and (v) at least two sets of hook and loop fasteners, one piece of each set being attached to the body section and a second piece of each set being attached to a proximal end of an arm appendage section with each arm appendage second being attached to the body section by way of a set of hook and loop fasteners; and the garment substantially comprising fabric and including (a) a tubular torso portion including a waist opening and a neck opening, and (b) left and right sleeve portions attached to the torso portion; wherein the de-wrinkling device is substantially received within the garment with at least a substantial portion of the fabric associated with the torso portion being held in a tensioned state by the body section and with at least a substantial portion of the fabric associated with both the left and right sleeves being held in a tensioned state by the respective arm appendage sections.

12. The combination of claim 11, wherein the garment comprises a shirt.

13. The combination of claim 11, wherein the polymeric sheet material comprises polystyrene.

14. The combination of claim 11, wherein the polymeric sheet material is at least 0.040″ thick.

15. A method of de-wrinkling a garment using a de-wrinkling device, the de-wrinkling device comprising, (i) a planar body section comprising a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material, the body section having a left edge portion and a right lengthwise edge portion and a top edge portion, and (ii) a pair of handles pivotally attached the body section with a left handle located proximate the left lengthwise edge portion and the right handle located proximate the right lengthwise edge portion, (iii) a hanger hook, the hanger hook being coupled to the top side edge portion proximate a centered lengthwise axis of the body section, the method comprising: partially rolling the body section along a generally lengthwise axis by a user holding the de-wrinkling device by the pair of handles to reduce an effective width of the body section; placing the body section into the garment through a bottom opening thereof and sliding the section upwardly until the hanger hook extends from a collar opening of the garment; releasing the left and right handles causing the body section to resiliently return to a planar configuration within the garment and apply tension to fabric of the garment; and hanging the garment and de-wrinkling device combination by the hanger hook while the applied tension removes or lessens wrinkles in the tensioned fabric

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the garment is damp.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising dampening the garment with water or a water-based solution.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein the de-wrinkling device further comprises (iv) left and right arm appendage sections comprising a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material, each arm appendage section being at least slightly tapered from a proximal end to a distal end, and (v) at least two sets of hook and loop fasteners, one piece of each set being attached to the body section and a second piece of each set being attached to a proximal end of an arm appendage section with each arm appendage second being attached to the body section by way of a set of hook and loop fasteners, the method further comprising: inserting a left arm appendage through the bottom opening and sliding it into a left sleeve of the garment until fabric of the left sleeve is tensioned; securing the left arm appendage to the body section using a corresponding set of hook and loop fasteners inserting a right arm appendage through the bottom opening and sliding it into a right sleeve of the garment until fabric of the right sleeve is tensioned; and securing the right arm appendage to the body section using a corresponding set of hook and loop fasteners.

19. The method of claim 15 wherein said placing the body section into the garment through a bottom opening thereof and sliding the section upwardly until the hanger hook extends from a collar opening of the garment further includes holding the body section in the partially rolled configuration by both handles with a single hand of the user while using the other hand of the user to one or more of hold the bottom opening open, guide the body section into the garment and manipulate the garment relative to the body section to position the body section in place.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein the handles are configured to lay flat against a surface of the body section when not being held by a user.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to devices and methods for de-wrinkling garments.

BACKGROUND

In an increasingly casual and business casual workplace, having wrinkle free casual shirts has become more important then ever. However, for many the cost of having one's shirts laundered and pressed is prohibitively expensive. Likewise with the increasing demands on people during their waking hours, people often do not have the time to iron their shirts once they come out of a washing machine and/or drier.

Wrinkle-free fabrics have become popular for such casual shirts but in reality they do not provide shirts that are truly wrinkle free but shirts that are merely wrinkled a bit less. Steamers have become popular in recent years wherein a user blasts steam at a shirt's wrinkles to relax and cause them to disappear. Steaming is, however, only moderately effective and often requires about the same amount of time as ironing, which is more effective.

Over the past 70 years or so, many devices designed to help de-wrinkle or prevent wrinkles from forming in a shirt or other torso garment have been devised. Most comprise a rigid torso plate or framework that holds the body of a shirt in a tensioned state to prevent the formation of wrinkles and remove wrinkles that have already formed. Some variations include detachable arm extensions that tension the arm sleeves. Most include a hanger hook at the top accessible through the neck opening of the shirt being de-wrinkled to allow the device and associated shirt to be hung, such as from a closet hanger rod.

Unfortunately, the rigid framework of these devices often makes placing them in a shirt relatively difficult and time consuming when compared to hanging a shirt on a hanger. Accordingly, a user is likely to not use the device defeating its purpose. In addition to sliding the rigid framework into the shirt through a waist opening thereof and potentially stretching the shirt in undesirable locations trying to slide the device all the way to the shoulder and collar sections, a user has to attach arm sections if he/she wants the arms to be de-wrinkled as well. After sliding the arm section through the waist opening and out the arm openings, the user then has to connect the arm section to the torso or body section without causing additional non-uniform stretching. Methods of coupling the arm sections to the body sections taught in the prior art are not intuitive and as such can be difficult and time consuming to effect especially when the user cannot see the connection points. Ultimately, the time required and the risk of non-uniformly stretching the shirt outweigh the advantages and the prior art devices do not present viable solutions to the wrinkled shirt problem.

SUMMARY OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan front view of a torso section of a garment de-wrinkling device according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a torso section of a garment de-wrinkling device according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a plan front view of a shoulder and upper arm appendage section of a garment de-wrinkling device according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a shoulder and upper arm appendage section of a garment de-wrinkling device according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a plan front view of a shoulder and long arm appendage section of a garment de-wrinkling device according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a side view of a shoulder and long arm appendage section of a garment de-wrinkling device according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating a method of de-wrinkling a garment with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is an isometric view of a torso section of a garment de-wrinkling device being inserted into a garment according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a isometric front view of a garment with a garment de-wrinkling device deployed therein according to one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of a garment de-wrinkling device comprise one or more sections adapted to fit within various upper body garments, most typically as various types of shirts. Each section is designed to the fit within different portions of a garment and tension the fabric of those portions to remove or minimize any wrinkles and/or prevent the formation of wrinkles. For instance, a torso section will typically be fit into a body or torso portion of a shirt and is often adapted to couple to several different appendage sections such as, but not limited to, left and right shoulder and upper arm sections. As implied by the name, the arm and shoulder sections are typically fit within the sleeves of a shirt. The garment de-wrinkling device will typically also comprise a hanger hook at the top of the torso section. The hook is typically located to allow the garment de-wrinking device to hang from a variety of locations, such as a door knob or a hanging rod in closet.

Embodiments of the garment de-wrinkling device typically include opposing gripping devices, such as handles, each handle generally located proximate a lengthwise edge of the torso section. The handles allow a user to partially roll (or fold) the torso/body section to bring the opposing lengthwise edges towards each other decreasing the effective width of the section making it easier to insert into a shirt through the shirt's bottom (or waist) opening.

The torso and appendage sections of various de-wrinkling devices can be produced in various sizes to correspond to fit into and tension various-sized shirts/garments (e.g. Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, etc.). The garment de-wrinkling device typically comprises a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material that with regard to the torso section has sufficient flexibility to permit it to be partially rolled with relative ease by a user but when in its planar state has sufficient rigidity to tension and lightly stretch the fabric of a garment. It is appreciated that the appendage sections need not typically be amenable to rolling or folding but these pieces are typically made from the same sheet material with the same thickness as the torso section.

Operationally, the torso section is flexible in the sense that they can be at least partially rolled or folded for insertion into a garment but once the folding or rolling force is removed the sections rebound into their normal unstressed typically planar configuration. The sections are, however, sufficiently rigid in planar directions such that the device asserts sufficient force against the respective portion of a garment to tension the garment's fabric and facilitate the removal of wrinkles.

In certain embodiments of the garment de-wrinkling device, suitably sized bores adapted to receive portions of a hand there through can be provided in place of attached handle members to serve as the gripping devices. Other variations to the embodiments are contemplated such as, but not limited to, devices having an integrated hanging hook and/or appendage sections that are integral with a torso section and are adapted to fit within a wide variety of garments.

In one method of de-wrinkling garments, the torso section of a garment de-wrinkling device may be slightly rolled from its side edges into a generally cylindrical shape by holding each of two gripping devices. Holding the gripping devices, in one method, and bringing the gripping devices close to each other creates tension in the torso section as it is rolled. In one method, the rolled torso section is then inserted into a shirt or similar garment, such as a Polo™-type shirt, through the bottom (or waist) opening. The shirt can be generally damp prior to insertion of the torso section or can be dampened after insertion such as by spraying the garment with water or other suitable solution. Upon release of the gripping devices, the torso section unrolls or springs back to its planar configuration inside of the garment providing tension on the fabric comprising the body portion of the garment.

The shoulder and upper arm sections are then inserted, as applicable, through the bottom opening of each sleeve in the shirt and slid into the sleeve portion from the interior of the shirt. These sections are typically coupled to the body section by way of corresponding hook and loop strips situated on both the arm sections and the torso section proximate locations on each that correspond to the shoulder region on the associated garment. Like the torso section, the shoulder and arm sections tension the fabric in the sleeves of the shirt to minimize and/or remove wrinkles.

Once the device is fully assembled within the he garment it is then typically hung by the hanger hook that extends through the shirt's neck (or collar) opening to allow the garment to dry and de-wrinkle. If the shirt is not suitably damp when the de-wrinkling device is inserted into the shirt, an extra step of spraying the shirt with water until it becomes generally damp can be performed. Alternatively, the extra step may include the spraying the shirt with a suitable solution (most typically water-based)which may include, for example, starches, deodorants and fragrances and/or a cleaning agents.

Terminology

The terms and phrases as indicated in quotation marks (“ ”) in this section are intended to have the meaning ascribed to them in this Terminology section applied to them throughout this document, including in the claims, unless clearly indicated otherwise in context. Further, as applicable, the stated definitions are to apply, regardless of the word or phrase's case, tense or any singular or plural variations of the defined word or phrase.

The term “or” as used in this specification and the appended claims is not meant to be exclusive rather the term is inclusive meaning “either or both”.

References in the specification to “one embodiment”, “an embodiment”, “a preferred embodiment”, “an alternative embodiment”, “a variation”, “one variation”, and similar phrases mean that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least an embodiment of the invention. The appearances of phrases like “in one embodiment”, “in an embodiment”, or “in a variation” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all meant to refer to the same embodiment or variation.

The term “couple”, “coupled”, “coupling”, or any variation thereof, as used in this specification and the appended claims refers to either an indirect or direct connection between the identified elements, components or objects. Often the manner of the coupling will be related specifically to the manner in which the two coupled elements interact.

The term “integrate” or “integrated” as used in this specification and the appended claims refers to a blending, uniting, or incorporation of the identified elements, components or objects into a unified whole.

Directional and/or relationary terms such as, but not limited to, left, right, nadir, apex, top, bottom, vertical, horizontal, back, front and lateral are relative to each other and are dependent on the specific orientation of an applicable element or article, and are used accordingly to aid in the description of the various embodiments and are not necessarily intended to be construed as limiting.

As applicable, the terms “about” or “generally” as used herein unless otherwise indicated means a margin of ±20%. Also, as applicable, the term “substantially” as used herein unless otherwise indicated means a margin of ±10%. It is to be appreciated that not all uses of the above terms are quantifiable such that the referenced ranges can be applied.

As used herein the term “garment” refers to any garment having a portion intended to cover a wearer's body or torso. Most typically such a garment will comprise a shirt or blouse although the term also applies to certain types of dresses and jackets/coats. Where the term “shirt” used herein, unless otherwise clear in context, it should be considered interchangeable with the term garment.

Embodiments of a Garment De-Wrinkling Device

Embodiments of a garment de-wrinkling device are shown in FIGS. 1 through 6. The garment de-wrinkling device is adapted to fit into one of many types of garments. Types of garments may be clothing designed to cover a person's torso such as, but not limited to, Polo®-type shirts, golf shirts, T-shirts, short-sleeve button-down shirts, long-sleeve button-down shirts, dress shirts, blouses, turtlenecks, sweaters, jackets, coats and sport coats.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a torso section 100 of the garment de-wrinkling device is typically made from semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet material. Typically, a 0.060″ thick polystyrene sheet is used to make the torso section 100. However, a 0.060″ thick grafted thermoplastic elastomer (TPEg) sheet, or other semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheets, may also be used. It is also to be appreciated that a variety of thicknesses for the polymeric sheets may be used when the garment de-wrinkling device is created for various-sized garments.

The torso section 100 is adapted to be slid into and tightly fit within a torso portion of a garment. Accordingly, the torso section is typically produced in a variety of sizes to correspond to the different sizes of shirts in which these devices can be used. A top surface 140 of the torso section 100 is substantially flat and planar. The bottom surface of the torso section 100 opposite and substantially parallel to the top surface is also substantially flat and planar. The torso section 100 comprises at least one contiguous side edge, but as depicted in the Figures, the edge is divided into eight distinct edge portions 119a-h with edge portions 119d and 119f comprising opposing lengthwise edge portions and edge portions 119a-c, 119e and 119h-g comprising widthwise edge portions.

A right side handle 113 and a left side handle 116 are coupled to the top surface 140 of the torso section 100 proximal a right side edge portion 119d and a left side edge portion 119f, respectively. The right side handle 1 13 and the left side handle are coupled to the top surface 140 of the torso section 100 by rivets and casings on each side of each handle thereby allowing each handle to swivel. However, other coupling mechanisms such as, but not limited to, adhesive bonding and mechanical fasteners are also contemplated. The right side handle 113 and the left side handle 116 are located a generally equal distance from the respective lengthwise edge portions 119d &119f approximately midway along these lengthwise edge portions. It is worthy to note that the left and right side references are identified from the perspective of a human torso such that the top surface 140 of the torso section 100 would be the front portion of the human torso. These side designations are not limiting to the invention in any way and can be interposed in the specification. Suitable variations in the configuration and construction of the handles are contemplated. For instance the handles could comprise rope or fabric straps in place of the more rigid wire handles illustrated. The inherent flexibility of the rope and fabric strap handles would eliminate the need for a pivotal connection with the torso section. In other variations, as mentioned above, the gripping devices could comprise cutouts in the torso sheet itself. Ideally, although not necessarily, the handle or other gripping devices should be configured in such a manner as to permit a user to hold both handles/gripping devices in on hand while the torso section is partially rolled (folded) so that the user has his/her other hand free to manipulate the torso section into position in a shirt.

The top surface 140 of the torso section 100 can comprise two sections of two separate hook and loop fasteners 110 &180. A right side section of a hook and loop fastener 110 may be proximal a right shoulder edge portion 119c and the right side edge portion 119d. A left side section hook and loop fastener may be proximal a left shoulder edge portion 119g and the left side edge portion 119f. The two sections of two separate hook and loop fasteners 110 &180 on the top surface 140 of the torso section 100 are located a generally equal distance from their respective side edges. A Velcro®-type hook and loop fastener assembly is typically be used to couple various ancillary sections, such as the arm and shoulder sections 200, to the torso section. However, other coupling mechanisms such as, but not limited to, snap fasteners, are also contemplated. Further, it is appreciated that in variations the hook and loop fastener sections could be located on the bottom surface as opposed to the top surface.

The torso section 100 further includes a hanger hook 150 through which the garment de-wrinkling device can be hung in much the same manner as a typically hanger. The hook 150 is typically coupled proximal a top edge portion 119a. As depicted in FIG. 1, the hook 150 may be coupled to the torso section 100 by clamping the hook device to both the top surface 140 of the torso section and bottom surface of the torso section. Alternatively, the hook can be attached by other suitable means such as but not limited to adhesive bonding, using mechanical fasteners and thermoplastic fusion. In other variations, the hook can be integrally formed with the torso section from a single sheet of material.

The torso section 100 of the garment de-wrinkling device may couple to one or more other sections adapted to fit within various portions of various types of garments. For instance, as shown in FIG. 3, a shoulder and upper arm appendage section 200 is made from a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet and adapted to fit into a sleeve portion of a short-sleeve shirt or similar garment. Typically, a 0.060″ thick polystyrene sheet is used to make the shoulder and upper arm section 200. However, a 0.060″ thick grafted thermoplastic elastomer (TPEg) sheet, or other semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheets, may also be used. A bottom surface 250 of the shoulder and upper arm appendage section 200 is substantially flat and planar. A top surface is also substantially flat and planar and generally a mirror image of the bottom surface 250. Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the shoulder and upper arm appendage section 200 comprises contiguous side edge 219 that includes distinct edge portions. The shoulder and upper arm appendage section 200 also typically includes a section of a hook and loop fastener 210 that corresponds to hook and loop fasteners provided on the torso section 100.

The arm appendage 200 typically tapers at least slightly from a widest location proximate the portion adapted to overlap and couple (by way of the hook and loop fastener) with the shoulder portion of the torso section 100 to a narrowest portion proximate a distal end thereof. The tapering is operationally significant in that has the user inserts the appendage into a sleeve from the interior of the garment outwardly towards the sleeve opening, the appendage becomes wedges in place and accordingly tensions the sleeve's fabric.

When the garment de-wrinkling device is used with a long-sleeve shirt or similar garment, a shoulder and long arm appendage section 300 like the one depicted in FIG. 5 can be employed. The shoulder and long arm appendage section 300 is made from a semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheet and adapted to fit into a long sleeve portion of a shirt or similar garment. Typically, a 0.060″ thick polystyrene sheet is used to make the shoulder and long arm section 300. However, a 0.060″ thick grafted thermoplastic elastomer (TPEg) sheet, or other semi-rigid and resilient polymeric sheets, may also be used. A bottom surface 350 of the shoulder and arm appendage section 300 is substantially flat and planar. A top surface (not depicted in the FIGs.) is also substantially flat and planar and generally a mirror image of the bottom surface 350 of the shoulder and arm appendage section 300. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, the shoulder and arm appendage section 300 comprises one contiguous side edge 319, that includes distinct edge portions. The shoulder and arm appendage section 300 also typically includes a section of a hook and loop fastener 380 that corresponds to hook and loop fasteners provided on the torso section 100. The long sleeve appendage 300 is also tapered in a similar manner as the short sleeve appendage 200 described above, and accordingly, it operates in much the same manner to tension and de-wrinkle a shirt's long sleeve.

One Method of a De-Wrinkling a Garment with a Garment De-Wrinkling Device

FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating a method of de-wrinkling a garment with a garment de-wrinkling device such as the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 through 6. Initially, after identifying the garment to be de-wrinkled, a user selects an appropriately sized de-wrinkling device. For instance for dewrinkling an extra large shirt, the user might select an extra large de-wrinkling device.

Next as shown in block 410, the user partially rolls or folds the chosen torso section 100. The torso section 100 is rolled into a generally and/or partially cylindrical shape by holding a right side handle 113 and a left side handle 116 and bringing the right side handle 113 closer to the left side handle 116. Greater resistance will result as the generally flat torso section 100 begins to take a generally cylindrical shape. As necessary, a user typically holds the partially rolled torso section by the handles with a single hand, such as the left hand, thereby free the other hand, such as the left hand, to hold open the bottom opening of an associated garment and help position the torso section within the garment.

As shown in block 420, the torso section is then placed into the garment through a bottom opening with a top edge portion 119a of the torso section 100 being inserted first. A picture of the torso section 100 after it has been rolled into a partially cylindrical shape and being placed into the garment 500 through the bottom opening 510 is shown in FIG. 8. The user can hold both handles 113 and 116 of the torso section 100 with a single hand while maneuvering the garment with the other hand for ease of insertion. The torso section 100 is fully received into the garment when the right side neck edge portion 119b and left side neck edge portion 119h of the torso section 100 reach the head or neck opening in the garment usually defined by a collar.

The third operation as illustrated in block 430 comprises unrolling the torso section 100 inside of the garment by holding the right side handle 113 and the left side handle 116 and moving the right side handle 113 away from the left side handle 116 until the top surface 140 of the torso section 100 is substantially flat and planar. After unrolling the torso section 100 inside of the garment, tension on the fabric of the garment's body portion typically results. A user may have to manipulate the fabric of the garment a bit to ensure the side seams of the body portion are located generally proximate the lengthwise edges 119d &199f of the torso section. It is this tension combined with moisture that causes the wrinkles in the garment to be relaxed and removed.

The fourth operation as illustrated in block 440 comprises placing left and right shoulder and upper arm appendage sections 200 into the garment through the bottom opening in the garment and outwardly into the sleeve from the intersection of the torso portion of the garment and the sleeve portion. It is to be appreciated that the appendage sections may not need to be twisted or slightly folded when inserting the appendage section from the inside out as sleeves on many garments taper along their length from a widest location at the intersection to a narrowest location at the arm opening. When the appendage section is inserted in this manner, the slightly tapered appendage section (see FIGS. 3 & 5) is effectively wedged in place.

In the alternative, the appendage sections can often be inserted through the garment's respective arm openings in its sleeves. It may be necessary for the user to twist or slightly fold the appendage sections to reduce their respective widths while sliding them through the openings. Once the twisting or folding force is removed the appendage sections resiliently return to their full width flat and planer state to apply a suitable level of tension to the garment's fabric in the sleeve.

The fourth operation of block 440 is optional as the arm or sleeve portion of many garments, such as some short sleeve shirts, often do not wrinkle appreciably or at the very least the wrinkles are not as noticeable to others. As such, the sleeves may not require de-wrinkling.

The fifth operation as illustrated in block 450 comprises coupling the left and right shoulder and upper arm appendage sections 200 to the torso section 100 whereby a section of the hook and loop fastener 210 is of the opposite type as either the right side section of the hook and loop fastener 110 and/or the left side section of the hook and loop fastener 180 of the torso section 100. Like the fourth operation, the fifth operation is optional and will be performed only if the fourth operation is utilized.

The sixth operation as shown in block 460 comprises hanging the device with a garment inserted thereon. A hook 150 coupled to the torso section 100 of the garment de-wrinkling device may be used to hang the garment de-wrinkling device and garment combination.

The seventh operation as shown in block 470 comprises spraying the garment with a liquid, most typically water or a water-based solution. This operation is optional as it may be unnecessary if the garment is already generally damp or the spraying of additional chemical compounds is not desired. If utilized, the spraying of the garment a liquid would comprise spraying the garment with water until the garment is generally damp, but may also comprise spraying the garment with a solution including one or more additives such as starch or a cleaning agent.

The eighth operation as illustrated in block 480 comprises allowing the garment to dry on the garment de-wrinkling device. FIG. 9 is a picture of the garment 500 with the torso section 100 fully received into the garment and two shoulder and upper arm sections 200 attached to the torso section. Some tension on the fabric of the garment such as the tension shown on the fabric of a front surface 540 facilitates the de-wrinkling process. The garment de-wrinkling device and garment combination may be hung from the hook 150 coupled to the torso section.

Finally, the garment is removed from the garment de-wrinkling device and may be placed on a hanger or folded until ready to be worn. Although a user may store his/her shirts/garments on the device until he/she is ready to wear it. Essentially for certain suitable garments, embodiments of the device can serve as a hanger replacement.

Alternative Embodiments and Variations

The embodiment of the garment de-wrinkling device and variations thereof, and method of use as illustrated in the accompanying figures and described above, are merely exemplary and are not meant to limit the scope of the invention. It is to be appreciated that numerous variations to the invention have been contemplated as would be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art with the benefit of this disclosure. All variations of the invention that read upon the claims are intended and contemplated to be within the scope of the invention.





 
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