Title:
Women's Multi-Ply Cotton and Pant Fabric Smooth Crotch Panel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pair of women's pants having a left leg with a left leg inside seam and a right leg with a right leg inside seam, and a smooth panel disposed into a crotch area between the left leg inside seam and the right leg inside seam, and between a front vertical seam and a rear vertical seam. The smooth crotch panel has an outer layer including a fabric substantially identical to the garment fabric of the pants and an inner layer, dimensionally and in shape substantially corresponding to the outer layer and secured to an inner surface of the outer layer. The inner layer preferably includes an absorbent material such as cotton, preferably wicking cotton. By securing a smooth crotch panel directly into the inside of the pants, the need for wearing undergarments is obviated, thereby eliminating unsightly undergarment lines. Further, by removing the uncomfortable cross-seam at the crotch of conventional pants, the invention creates an exceptionally comfortable garment for a woman, while maintaining hygiene.



Inventors:
Stearns, Christina K. (Winston-Salem, NC, US)
Application Number:
12/371199
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
02/13/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/267
International Classes:
A41D1/06; A41D27/26
View Patent Images:
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Other References:
Simplicity, "Sewing Tip What is Seam Allowance?", 2000, Simplicity Pattern Company, http://www.denverfabrics.com/pages/sewinginfo/simplicity-sewing-hints/sewing-seam.htm, p. 1; (Simplicity attached)
Primary Examiner:
KINSAUL, ANNA KATHRYN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Christopher C. Dremann (Granite Falls, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A smooth crotch panel sewable into the crotch of a pair of women's pants made from a garment fabric, comprising: an outer layer sewable between a left leg seam and a right leg seam of the pants, and between a front vertical seam and a rear vertical seam of the pants, said outer layer including a fabric substantially the same as the garment fabric of the pants; and an inner layer, shaped and dimensioned substantially corresponding to said outer layer and secured to an inner surface of said outer layer, said inner layer comprising an absorbent cotton-like ply of material.

2. A smooth crotch panel according to claim 1, said panel further comprising a first end where said panel meets the front vertical seam and a second end where said panel meets the rear vertical seam.

3. A smooth crotch panel according to claim 2, said first end being disposed approximately 1 inch forwardly from the virtual cross seams of said left and right leg seams of the pants.

4. A smooth crotch panel according to claim 2, said second end being disposed approximately 4 inches rearwardly from the virtual cross seams of said left and right leg seams of the pants.

5. A smooth crotch panel according to claim 2, said first end being disposed approximately 1 inch forwardly from the virtual cross seam of said left and right leg seams of the pants and said second end being disposed approximately 4 inches rearwardly from the virtual cross seams of said left and right leg seams of the pants.

6. A smooth crotch panel according to claim 1, said inner layer comprising at least two plies of said absorbent cotton-like material.

7. A smooth crotch panel according to claim 6, said absorbent material comprising wicking material made of cotton.

8. A smooth crotch panel according to claim 2, said panel being substantially oval-shaped.

9. A smooth crotch panel according to claim 2, said panel being substantially polygonal in shape.

10. A pair of women's pants made from a garment fabric, comprising: a left leg defining an inside left leg seam; a right leg defining an inside right leg seam; and a smooth panel sewable into a crotch area between said left inside leg seam and said right inside leg seam, and between a front vertical seam and a rear vertical seam, said panel comprising: an outer layer comprising a fabric substantially identical to the bulk of the garment fabric of the pants; and an inner layer, shaped and dimensioned substantially corresponding to said outer layer and secured to the inner surface of said outer layer, said inner layer including an absorbent, cotton-like material.

11. A pair of women's pants according to claim 10, said panel further comprising a first end where said panel meets said front vertical seam and a second end where said panel meets said rear vertical seam.

12. A pair of women's pants according to claim 11, said first end being disposed approximately 1 inch forwardly from the virtual cross seam of said left and right inside leg seams.

13. A pair of women's pants according to claim 11, said second end being disposed approximately 4 inches rearwardly from the virtual cross seam of said left and right inside leg seams.

14. A pair of women's pants according to claim 11, said first end being disposed approximately 1 inch forwardly and said second end being disposed approximately 4 inches rearwardly from the virtual cross seams of said left and right inside leg seams.

15. A pair of women's pants according to claim 10, said inner layer comprising at least two plies of said absorbent cotton-like material.

16. A pair of women's pants according to claim 10, said absorbent material comprising wickable cotton.

17. A pair of women's pants as claimed in claim 10 wherein the length of said panel is about 5 inches and the maximum width of said panel is about 1½ to 2 inches.

18. A pair of women's pants as claimed in claim 10 wherein said panel extends more towards the rear than towards the front from the virtual cross seams of said left and right inside seams.

19. A pair of women's pants according to claim 11, said panel being substantially oval-shaped.

20. A pair of women's pants according to claim 11, said panel being substantially polygonal in shape.

Description:

Domestic priority is claimed from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/123,415, filed Apr. 8, 2008, entitled “Women's Smooth Crotch Panel Sewn Directly Into Pant Garment”, the teachings of which are incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to women's pants, and more specifically it relates to a women's smooth crotch panel consisting of an inner cotton crotch panel made integral with the inside of the pant garment, thereby making it unnecessary to wear panties, thongs or other undergarments with women's pants. The inventive panel eliminates unsightly undergarment lines and provides the ultimate in comfort for women by replacing the uncomfortable cross-seam at the crotch found in conventional pants with a smooth crotch panel made of cotton on the inside of the crotch panel and the outer garment fabric on the outside of the crotch panel. Because the inventive panel is sewn or otherwise secured directly into the pant garment, it is not obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position.

2. Description of the Related Art

It can be appreciated that women's pants have been in use for years. Typically, women's pants are comprised of women's casual and dress pants of all lengths (e.g. shorts, Capri pants, full length, etc.) and styles (e.g. low rise, waist high, front zip, side zip, elastic waistband, boot cut, straight leg, etc.) made of both washable and dry-cleanable fabric.

A longstanding problem with conventional women's pants is the need to wear undergarments resulting in unsightly panty lines, thong lines or bulges resulting from displaced skin/fat due to wearing a tight slimmer (e.g., girdle) or other undergarment. Another problem with conventional women's pants is the existence and location of a cross-seam in the crotch for women. Due to the anatomical nature of the female crotch area and the location of the single or double cross seam, the latter being present in many pant styles and especially dungarees (denim), wearing these pants can be quite uncomfortable. Another problem with conventional women's pants is the potential for women to have an increased risk of health issues such as yeast and bladder infections as a result of wearing multiple layers of clothing in the crotch area.

Accordingly, there is a long-felt need to provide women's pants that are more comfortable (by eliminating the cross seam at the crotch area), easy to wear, do not cause/facilitate unsightly undergarment lines, and eliminate the need for undergarments altogether. Yet, there is a need, too, to provide some layer of hygienic material between the female body and the layer of material corresponding to the material of the pants. The present invention accomplishes the desired goals while ensuring that the casual observer of a woman wearing the pants is unaware of the use of the crotch panel.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of women's pants now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new women's crotch panel of two or more layers sewn directly into the pant garment. The new women's crotch panel includes an inner smooth cotton crotch panel and an outer smooth crotch panel made of the same fabric as the pant garment. The two (or more) plies of material are sewn directly into the pant construction and eliminate the need for cross seams at the location of the female crotch area. By utilizing the invention, it is unnecessary to wear panties, thongs or other undergarments with women's pants, thereby eliminating unsightly undergarment lines. The invention also provides the ultimate in comfort for women by replacing the uncomfortable cross-seam at the crotch with a smooth crotch panel sewn directly into the pant that is also not visually obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position.

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new women's cotton crotch panel sewn directly into a pant garment that has many of the advantages of the women's pants mentioned heretofore and many novel features that result in a new women's cotton crotch panel sewn directly into a pant garment which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the prior art of women's pants, either alone or in any combination thereof.

To attain this, the present invention generally comprises women's pants with an inner oval-, kite-, hexagon-, or other polygon or other geometrical-shaped cotton crotch panel, preferably 2- or 3-ply (1 or 2 cotton layers on the inside and directly against the female crotch area; a fabric layer of the same weight, color and composition of the pant garment on the outside), the integrated two ply panel being sewn directly into the inside and to the outside of a woman's pant garment at the crotch area. In the preferred embodiment, the same garment fabric for the pants is used for the outside ply of the crotch panel so that the panel is physically and visually integrated and thus not obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position. The inner cotton crotch panel ply of the invention is at least and preferably one but could comprise 2-plies of comfortable, absorbent cotton or similar material and can be white or of a color that closely matches the inside of the pant fabric. The crotch panel is made by first sewing the outer garment fabric material (in the shape of the crotch panel) to the comfortable one or two ply cotton material in the same shape as the overall crotch panel. Then, the crotch panel is physically and visually integrated into the pants, preferably by the original manufacturer, by sewing the panel to the inside of the pants thereby making a smooth comfortable seam (which is not at the location of the otherwise present front to back and cross seams of conventional pants) such that the crotch panel is substantially undetectable by tactile feel to the wearer and by observation of another, especially when the wearer is in a standing position.

The outer pant garment is preferably made of washable fabric, but can be made of dry-cleanable fabric as well, and the placement of the crotch panel is not obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position. The crotch panel preferably extends to a point meeting the front vertical seam of the pant approximately 1 inch toward the front of the pants from the inside leg seams. The elongated crotch panel extends to a point meeting the rear vertical seam of the pants approximately 4 inches toward the rear of the pant from the otherwise crossing points of the inside leg seams. Of course, those dimensions are approximate and will necessarily be varied to suit the style and size of the overall garment. If the crotch panel is made in a hexagon or kite shape, each of the two side points of the crotch panel which are toward the front of the pants meet each at the inside leg seams of the pants.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of described construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. Rather, the invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting.

A primary object of the present invention is to provide a women's cotton crotch panel sewn directly into a pant garment that will overcome the shortcomings of the prior art articles of clothing. While the invention is meant to provide benefits to women in view of their particular anatomy, the device and the invention can be implemented in connection with men's and children's pants, too.

An object of the present invention is to make it unnecessary for women (or men but for ease of illustration and understanding, herein simply “women”) to wear underwear, panties, thongs or other undergarments with pants, eliminating unsightly undergarment lines, and to provide the ultimate in anatomical comfort by eliminating the cross seam found in traditional pants and replacing it with a smooth comfortable two-ply panel, at least one layer of which is cotton and the other layer is the material of the outside of the overall garment.

Another object is to provide a smooth, at least two ply in total, at least one ply cotton portion of a crotch panel sewn directly into the inside of the pant garment with the second ply of the crotch panel being substantially coplanar with and integrated to the outside material of the pants. The two ply panel, cotton on the inside, outside pant garment fabric on the outside (i.e., the same as that used for the rest of the garment) makes it unnecessary to wear any type of undergarment, provides a hygienic pair of pants and provides maximum comfort to the wearer by the elimination of the otherwise present cross seam (single or double) at the woman's crotch area.

Another object is to provide a women's smooth cotton crotch panel sewn directly into the inside of the pant garment that eliminates unsightly underwear or panty lines, thong lines or lines from other types of undergarments.

Another object is to provide a women's smooth crotch panel sewn directly into a pant garment that provides maximum anatomical comfort for women by eliminating the location of a cross seam in the crotch area.

Another object is to help reduce the risk of certain health issues such as yeast and bladder infections in women by providing the above and other benefits in a crotch panel and, yet, providing a hygienic barrier—the inside ply of the crotch panel being a cotton, smooth and comfortable ply of material adjacent to or near the crotch area.

Another object is to provide a women's smooth cotton crotch panel sewn directly into the inside of the pant garment that can boost a woman's confidence and self-image as a result of wearing a pant that has a smooth elegant look with no unsightly panty lines, thong lines or lines from other undergarments.

Another object is to provide a women's smooth cotton crotch panel sewn directly into the inside of the pant garment that can make the wearer feel sexy since she does not need to wear undergarments with the pants.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become obvious to the reader and it is intended that these objects and advantages are within the scope of the present invention.

In one aspect of the invention, the invention is a smooth panel sewable into the crotch of a pair of women's pants made from a traditional garment fabric. The inventive panel includes a first outer layer sewable between a left leg seam and a right leg seam of the pants, and between a front vertical seam and a rear vertical seam of the pants. The outer layer comprises a fabric substantially identical to the garment fabric used for the bulk of the pants. An inner layer is also provided to the crotch panel, dimensionally substantially corresponding to the outer layer and permanently secured to an inner surface of the outer layer of the crotch panel. The inner layer generally is made from soft cotton fabric and includes an absorbent material. Preferably, the perimeter of the single ply cotton portion of the two or more ply crotch panel includes a first curved end where the integrated panel meets the front vertical seam and a second curved end where the panel meets the rear vertical seam. The sides of the panel define curved edges and these curved edges are preferably disposed adjacent the left and right leg seams of the pants but at about 1 inch from where the leg seams would otherwise cross one another if no crotch panel were present in the garment. The longitudinal axis of the crotch panel, having a pair of opposed curved ends have a first curved end preferably disposed approximately 4 inches away from the otherwise present intersection of the left and right leg seams of the pants. The crotch panel extends forwardly from the otherwise present intersection of the leg seams for about 1 inch. The inner layer preferably includes at least one ply (although two plies of cotton material is within the scope of the invention) of absorbent material, such as cotton, in the manner of an undergarment. The composite panel (cotton ply or plies on the inside and garment material exposed to the outside) may be elongated from side to side or front to back but is preferably substantially ellipisoidal, oval-shaped or diamond/kite-shaped, or substantially polygonal in shape.

The invention also includes a pair of women's pants made from a garment fabric, having a left leg with an inside left leg seam and a right leg with an inside right leg seam. A smooth panel is disposed in the crotch area between the left leg seam and the right leg seam, and between a front vertical seam and a rear vertical seam. The panel includes an outer layer made from fabric substantially identical to the garment fabric of the pants. An inner layer is also provided, dimensionally substantially corresponding to the outer layer and secured to an inner extending surface of the outer layer, the inner layer including an absorbent material (e.g., cotton, preferably single-ply cotton although 2 plies of cotton can be used as well). The perimeter of the panel preferably includes a first rounded end or point where the panel meets the front vertical seam and a second rounded end or point where the panel meets the rear vertical seam, with the first end or point being disposed approximately 1 inch forwardly away from the virtual intersection of the left and right inside leg seams and the second rounded end or point being disposed approximately 4 inches rearwardly away from the virtual intersection of the left and right inside leg seams. The panel is elongated and preferably substantially oval-shaped, or substantially polygonal in shape.

In these respects, the women's cotton crotch panel sewn directly into a pant garment according to the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in so doing provides an end product primarily developed for the purpose of making it unnecessary to wear underwear or panties, thongs or other undergarments with women's pants, eliminating unsightly undergarment lines, and to provide the ultimate in anatomical comfort for women by replacing the uncomfortable cross-seam at the crotch with a smooth crotch panel sewn directly into the pant. The present invention provides these benefits in a hygienic manner (the inner cotton layer) and in a manner that is not glaringly obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is sitting or standing.

To the accomplishment of the above and related objects, this invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings, attention being called to the fact however, that the drawings are illustrative only, and that changes may be made in the specific construction illustrated without departing from the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various other objects, features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention integrated into a pair of pants;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the present invention showing all of its components and the manner it would be sewn or secured to the seams of a pair of pants;

FIGS. 3a and 3b are front, full length views of the present invention integrated into a pair of pants. FIG. 3c is a closer frontal view of the present invention integrated into a pair of pants. FIG. 3d is another closer front view of the present invention, integrated into the pair of pants shown in FIG. 3b and 3c and worn by a model;

FIGS. 4a and 4b are rear, full length views of the present invention integrated into the same pair of pants shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b, respectively. FIG. 4c is a closer rear view of the present invention integrated into the pair of pants shown in FIG. 4b. FIG. 4d is another closer rear view of the present invention integrated into the pair of pants shown in FIG. 4b and 4c, as worn by a model;

FIGS. 5a and 5b are top views of the inside views of the present invention integrated into pairs of pants;

FIG. 6a is a perspective view of the outside of a pair of pants having the present invention integrated therewith, as worn by a model, showing one leg raised and split from the other so as to allow viewing of the present invention, as integrated into the pair of pants;

FIG. 6b is an enlarged and outside view of the present invention as integrated into the pair of pants; and

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a preferred shaped and relatively sized pattern piece for the crotch panel of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION; THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS AND THE DRAWINGS

Description of the invention will now be given with reference to FIGS. 1-7. It should be understood that these Figures are exemplary in nature and in no way serve to limit the scope of the invention which is defined by the claims appearing hereinbelow.

Turning now descriptively to the drawings, in which similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views, the attached figure FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a woman's smooth cotton crotch panel 24 sewn directly into a pant garment 20. The invention comprises women's pants with the novel crotch panel wherein the legs of the pants can be of any length (e.g. FIG. 1 shows various lengths such as full length—20 (before hemming, cuffing, sewing of the ends); Capri length—20a (also before hemming, cuffing, finishing, etc.); or shorts length—20b with an inner oval two ply combination of cotton and fabric crotch panel 24. The panel's shape and its outside circumference edge can be oval, elliptical, kite-shaped, and/or other geometrical shape or hexagon-shaped crotch panel 24. The shape will be dictated by the style, comfort, size, materials, etc. Preferably, the shape is elongated from rear to front, in comparison to the width of the panel, extending from side to side. As shown in FIG. 2, crotch panel 24 preferably includes at least two layers: outer garment layer 24A and inner cotton layer 24B. In some situations, a third layer 24C may be provided on the inner facing side corresponding to a second cotton panel on the inside of the pants, to provide another layer of comfort and hygiene to the wearer. The absorbency of a single ply of the cotton panel will dictate the need for a second ply or not. Panel 24 is sewn directly into the inside of a woman's pant garment 20 at the crotch area with the corresponding shape of the crotch panel removed from the material of the garment so that there is little if any overlap or extra thickness of material. The outer garment fabric 24a of the crotch panel is used for the outside of the smooth crotch panel 24 so the panel is not visually obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position (see, e.g., FIG. 3d and FIG. 4d). The outer oval, hexagon or kite-shaped smooth crotch panel 24 shown in FIG. 6.a and FIG. 6.b is preferably made of the same fabric material as the bulk of the outer pant garment 20 and is thus not visually distinct nor obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position.

The inner portion or layer of panel 24 as shown in FIG. 2 is made preferably of a single substantially identical and superimposed cotton layer 24b (and 24c if two or more cotton layers are desired) which are preferably made from absorbent cotton or similar material. Layers 24b and 24c (if desired) are preferably white or of a color that closely matches the inside of the pant's fabric, or they can be of any matching or even non-matching color. However, it is contemplated by the present inventor that the inside layer of the crotch panel be smooth, hygienic, and absorbent. The smoothness of the inside layer, preferably of cotton, is for comfort. The hygienic nature of the inside layer is expected to be clearly understood of those of skill in the art. The absorbency, too, is another desirable feature, especially in that some women often have discharges of small quantities of body fluid. The inside layer of the crotch panel is a different material than the outside layer, the former is for comfort and hygiene and the outside layer is for ensuring that the crotch panel is substantially not visually discernable by casual observers, surely while the wearer is standing.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the inside layer of the crotch panel can be formed not merely of absorbent material but of a wicking material to draw body fluid away from the body and promote dryness and comfort.

The present invention replaces the uncomfortable interior cross seams of conventional pants with a built-in double ply panel. The outside ply is the same material as the overall pants and the inside ply is a cotton, soft, absorbent material. Preferably the inside layer(s) is single ply although it could be a two ply construction. If two or more plies of cotton are on the inside of the crotch panel, the first of the cotton layers, i.e., the more inner-located layer would be a soft moisture wicking cotton fabric that promotes breathability and comfort. In this connection, it is anticipated that the second or outermost layer of the two inside cotton-like layers would be made from Nano-tex™ cotton fabric, commercially available to the garment industry. In this connection, Nanotex™ products are 100% combed cotton. It combines the moisture management capabilities of superior active-wear garments with the comfort of 100% cotton. The moisture wicks from the skin side to the outer layer (in this case, the layer in contact with the outer layer of the garment). This results in a fabric that is basically dry, i.e., it will dry quicker than regular cotton and won't cling, is soft, in that it will not irritate or chafe the skin, and is natural, i.e., provides the sustainable benefits of pure cotton. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the inner panel is formed of a product sold by the same manufacturers as NanoTex under the trademark Dry Inside. Thus, the single inside ply of the two ply crotch panel would be cut to shape from the Dry Inside fabric. The wicking and drying capability of the Dry Inside cotton fabric is currently believed to provide superior dryness to the skin surface, superior wicking of moisture away from the center of the crotch and, yet, is comfortable for being held directly against the body.

The smooth crotch panel 24 is preferably integrated into the pants by first sewing the outer garment fabric layer 24a to the comfortable cotton material layer and then shaping the outside perimeter of the two (or more) plies to the desired shape. Then, the panel is sewn to the inside of the pant with layers 24b (and 24c if provided) making a smooth comfortable continuation on the inside of the pants, as at oval seam 23. The seaming of the crotch panel to the crotch area of the pants mechanically, physically and visually integrates the panel into the pants yet in a visually hidden manner to an observer seeing the wearer in a standing position. It is substantially undetectable to an observer especially if the wearer is standing. The integration of the crotch panel into the inside of the pants is also comfortable to wear since there is no seam extending along and/or between the woman's genitalia and the inside layer of cotton is soft to the skin. The outer pant garment 20, just like the outer layer of the crotch panel, is preferable made of washable fabric, but can be made of dry cleanable fabric as well. In any event, the outer layer of the crotch panel is intended to be substantially the same material as that used for the bulk of the pair of pants. Applicant has used the word, “bulk” since it is surely within the scope of the present invention to have pants, for example, of a first fabric, say, denim, with pockets or even substantial parts of the legs of leather, but, the torso portion is denim. Applicant believes that the crotch panel should, for hiding purposes, be the same material as the torso portion of the pants but, of course, the color and type of material, even the weight per unit area can differ, depending upon style and other factors. In the preferred case, if the torso of the pants is denim, even if the legs and pockets for example in leather, the crotch panel would preferably also be denim on the outside. However, while the present invention contemplates in the preferred embodiment that the outside layer of the crotch panel be of the same material as the bulk of the fabric of the garment, it is also within the scope of the invention for the crotch panel to be distinct therefrom. However, the outside layer of the crotch panel should be some composition or form of fabric which is generally worn as outside fabric for garments so that it is durable and visually pleasing.

The smooth crotch panel 24 comes to a first and forward relative point 28a (see FIGS. 1, 5a, 5b and 7) which meets the front vertical seam 26 of the pants approximately 1 inch toward the front of the pant from the virtual intersection of the inside leg seams 25a and 25b (see FIG. 2). The smooth crotch panel 24 comes to another point 28b, located towards the rear, which meets the rear vertical seam 27 of the pants approximately 3 and ⅜ inches toward the rear of the pants from the virtual intersection of the inside leg seams 25a and 25b (see FIG. 2). If the smooth crotch panel 24 is made in a hexagon or kite shape, the two side points of the crotch panel extend toward the leg seams 25a and 25b.

The smooth cotton-based crotch panel 24 replaces the uncomfortable cross-seams found in conventional pants. Replacement of the cross seams provides the woman with anatomical maximum comfort. The shape of the smooth crotch panel 24 can be oval, geometrically other shapes, hexagon or kite/diamond-shaped or a combination of these shapes. The panel is preferably elongated front to back and measuring approximately 4 and ⅞ inches in overall length and 1.5 inches wide at the widest mid-point (excluding the small 1 4 inch material extending around the entirety of the panel to enable seaming it into the crotch of the pants. The preferred embodiment contemplates that the length of the panel be about 4 and ⅞ inches (not including the extra material on the inside for ensuring a seam of the panel into the garment) and a maximum width of about 1½ to 2 inches. The panel is slightly assymetrical in that there is slightly more of the panel extending rearwardly from where the virtual cross seam of the garment would otherwise appear in comparison to the length of the panel from the front most portion to the otherwise or virtually present cross seam of the garment. The preferred length of the panel, from front most curved end to the otherwise present (or virtual) cross seam is about 1 inch while the length of the panel from the otherwise present cross seam to the rear curved end is about 4 inches (where the total length of the preferred embodiment of the panel is, as set forth above, about 4 and ⅞ inches).

The curved ends or points, corresponding to 28a and 28b preferably are rounded curves of small radius but can be sharp material points, too (see FIG. 7). Preferably, they are formed into small radius, curved edges. The points 28a and 28b (or the curved ends, yet, for ease of understanding referred to as “points”) preferably are sewn or otherwise secured to the front and rear seams 26 and 27 of the pant garment 20. The hexagon and kite shapes for the alternative crotch panels would provide for the side points meeting and being sewn to the ends of the inside leg seams 25a and 25b. The panel may also be any other polygon in shape, regular or not, but it is preferably one having an even number of sides so that there are points substantially 90 degrees around from one another for securement at the front, rear and side seams and opposing points 180 degrees around, to thereby match up with the front and rear seams and opposed inside leg seams. Without the crotch panel of the present invention, it should be appreciated that extensions of the inside leg seams and the front and rear seams would meet at a double cross seam at the crotch area. Since the panel replaces that portion of the pants, the point where the seams would cross, if they were present, is referred to as the virtual crossing of the seams. The panel need not be a regular polygon in shape, and indeed, may be irregular in overall shape. The smooth cotton ply crotch panel 24 can be used in any women's apparel that comprises a crotch portion of the apparel piece, such as short shorts; stretch pants, apparel specifically designed for the handicapped individual, even bathing suits. The smooth cotton-based, two ply or more crotch panel 24 can also be used in men's and children's garments with panel size adjustments made accordingly; however, the primary intended purpose of this invention is for women's casual and dress pants or slacks 20. The size of the smooth cotton-based, two ply crotch panel 24 is increased as the size of the pants increases and correspondingly decreased as the size of the pants decreases. The above mentioned dimensions (about 4 and ⅞ inches long and about 1 and ½ inches wide) are for typical women's pants of about size 6 in the US sizing system.

The inner layer(s) 24b and/or 24c may be made from cotton as mentioned above or other moisture absorbent or wicked material commonly used in undergarments. Preferably, the color of the inner cotton panel can closely match the color of the inside of the pant garment. While a single ply of material may be used as the inside layer of the crotch panel, two plies of cotton, absorbent material may be used for comfort and absorbency. Currently, however, the use of Dry Inside cotton-like, absorbent and wicking material in a single ply is contemplated since it is expected to provide the best combination of wicking, dryness, absorbency, comfort, etc. The smooth cotton-like crotch layer 24b and 24c, if desired, shown in FIG. 2 could be made of a material with increased thickness from center towards the edges of the layer, for extra protection from bladder leaks, discharge(s) or for controlling flow from menstruation; however, the preferred inner cotton crotch panel for this invention is thin in profile, comfortable, smooth, and substantially undetectable by feel to the wearer. The primary purpose of this invention is to provide a smooth cotton-based crotch panel 24 sewn directly into the inside of women's casual and dress pants or slacks 20 making it unnecessary to wear undergarments with the pants. The inside layer is intended to provide hygiene and comfort while the outside layer (formed of the same material as the rest of the pants) is intended to allow the wearer to go pantyless without an observer being able to tell that there is a crotch panel, when the wearer is in a normal standing position. The length, width, indeed, the overall size of the crotch panel 24 may be increased, decreased, adjusted depending upon the size of the pants, the fabric, the woman's actual physical characteristics, body shape, etc.

The smooth crotch panel 24 shown in FIG. 2 is made by sewing the outer garment fabric 24a to the comfortable cotton material layer and then the integrated panel is sewn on the inside of the torso portion of the pants so that the layers 24b (and 24c if provided) create a smooth comfortable inside to the pants. The seam 23 that encircles or surrounds the crotch panel is sewn smoothly so that the crotch panel is substantially tactilely undetectable to the wearer. The smooth crotch panel 24 is made by sewing the outer garment fabric 24a to the comfortable cotton material 24b and/or 24c, which will be on the inside of the pants, by folding the edges of the panel materials under and adjoining the panel to the pants material making a smooth seam 23 that does not have a rough edge and is comfortable and undetectable to the wearer. The seam should be sewn with thread that blends (in color and smoothness) with the outer pants fabric 20 and is undetectable to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position. The seam 23 should be smooth, comfortable, and undetectable to the wearer as it is in direct contact with the wearer's skin on the inside of the pants. The seam 23 could be sewn with a single or double stitch, with a thread color that blends or complements the outer pants fabric 20, but is preferably smooth, comfortable, and undetectable to the wearer as it contacts the skin on the inside of the pant. The seam should also be basically undetectable to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position.

FIG. 5b shows that the smooth crotch cotton-based, two or more ply panel 24 comes to a point meeting the front vertical seam of the pant 26 approximately 1 inch toward the front of the pant from the virtual cross seams of the inside leg seams 25a,25b. The front seam of the outer pant garment 20 is typically in the center of the pants at the zipper or stomach area. The front seam meets the crotch panel 24 where the panel comes to a point meeting the front vertical seam of the pant 26 approximately 1 inch toward the front of the pant as measured from the virtual cross seam at the inside leg seams 25a,25b. The outer pant garment 20 could have various front seams due to fashion and style techniques and trends in women's apparel. The smooth crotch panel 24 may or may not meet the seams of the outer pant garment 20, but should be placed and secured in such a way as to not be obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position.

FIG. 5b shows the manner by which the smooth crotch panel 24 comes to a point meeting the rear vertical seam 27 of the pant approximately 4 inches toward the rear of the pant from the virtual cross seams defined by the inside leg seams 25a and 25b . The rear seam of the outer pant garment shown in FIG. 4d. is typically in the center of the rear of the pants and meets the crotch panel 24 where the panel comes to a point. The outer pant garment 20 could have various rear seams due to fashion and style techniques and trends in women's apparel. The smooth crotch panel 24 may or may not meet the seams of the outer pant garment, but should desirably be placed and secured in such a way as to not be obvious to the casual observer when the wearer is in a standing position.

The smooth inner cotton layer of the panel can be 1-, 2- or 3-ply and can be used in all women's pants, in all styles and fabrics, washable, dry cleanable and lined. The inner cotton-based layer is preferably first sewn to the outer garment layer, however it need not be constructed in that order as the two layers can be placed, one on the other and then the two layers seamed into the crotch of the garment. Rather, inner cotton layer(s) 24b and 24c may be secured to the outer layer 24a by other means, such as mere placement, permanent adhesive, heat sealing, or the like but it is important to integrate the two plies (outer material and inside cotton layer) to one another and into the crotch area of the garment. It is desirable that there are little or no surface irregularities or features in the main central portion of the crotch panel, regardless of the method used to secure the inner layer(s) to the outer layer. Ideally, the outer pant fabric is of a sufficient weight that will not show imperfections in the skin such as cellulite so the wearer does not feel the need to wear girdles, slimmers or any type of undergarment. It is also preferred that the overall thickness of the crotch panel 24 be thin enough to be comfortable and not provide chafing of material when walking and, yet, be sufficiently thick to conceal or obscure the contours or details of the wearer's external genitalia. The smooth, inner cotton-based crotch panel ply 24b (and 24c, if provided) can be used in any apparel piece for women, men and children that is intended for the lower half of the body and involves its location in the crotch area. The stitching 23 of the crotch panel 24 is smooth, comfortable and undetectable to the wearer.

According to another embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. 7, the pattern for cutting the crotch panel from piece goods is leaf or petal shaped, as shown. As illustrated, the length of the crotch panel is preferably about 4⅞ inches (excluding the selvage or extra perimeter which is needed for seaming) and the maximum width of the crotch panel is about 1½ inches. Surrounding the length and the width, indeed, surrounding the entire perimeter of the crotch panel is a ¼ inch of extra material so that the seaming of the inside layer to the outside layer and the crotch panel to the pants is easily accomplished. The extra perimeter extends around the outside edge of the cut pieces and provides a ¼ inch border or selvage around the seam. When sewn or otherwise integrated into a pair of pants, the sewn seam defines the 4⅞ inches in length and the 1½ inches in width panel's dimensions. After sewing the two pieces or plies together, the integrated crotch panel is incorporated into the pants at the crotch area. It will be appreciated that the shape shown in FIG. 7 is not exactly symmetrical since the maximum width of the crotch panel is closer to the front of the crotch panel and the front of the pants and thus the elongated rear of the crotch panel extends towards the rear of the pants. In the preferred embodiment, the maximum width is about 40% towards the front of the panel with the balance or 60% of the length of the panel extending towards the rear. As mentioned, an embodiment provides that an inch of the panel extend from the virtual cross seams forwardly and about 4 inches of the panel extend rearwardly from the same virtual cross seams of the crotch, defined by where the inside leg seams would cross if the crotch panel were not provided. Both the soft, cotton inside ply and the outside layer of material (which is substantially the same as that used for the bulk of the pants) are the same shape although it can be appreciated that the outside layer can be larger in size than the soft cotton layer on the inside of the crotch panel.

As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, 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. 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 may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

Having described certain embodiments of the invention, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the above description or the attached exemplary drawings. Rather, the scope of the invention is by the claims appearing hereinbelow and any equivalents thereof as would be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art.