US 20020029831 A1
An apparatus and method for interchanging the exterior cover of a purse or handbag having a carrying strap by providing a cover having a plurality of fasteners for engagement to the carrying strap.
1. A cover for a purse having a strap comprising:
a plurality of fasteners; wherein said plurality of fasteners attach to said strap.
2. The cover of
3. A purse with interchangeable exteriors comprising:
at least one interior compartment for holding a cover; and
at least one cover having a plurality of fasteners; wherein said cover is affixed to said purse by said plurality of fasteners.
4. A method of making an interchangeable exterior for a purse comprising the steps of:
sizing said purse;
sewing a cover sized to said purse; and
affixing a plurality of fasteners to said cover.
 This application claims priority from provisional application 60/231,519 entitled “Interchangeable Purse Exterior” filed on Sep. 9. 2000.
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to an apparatus and method for changing the exterior color and design of a purse or handbag.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 U.S. Pat. No. 6,029,723 discloses a purse system comprising a purse housing having a plurality of fasteners on the exterior of the purse for engagement with a variety of cover members. U.S. Pat. No. 5,207,254 discloses a handbag assembly with separable inner and outer members to allow conversion into a variety of different styles and configurations.
 What is needed beyond the prior art is an affordable, convenient, shell for covering a purse or handbag that can be folded and carried inside the purse or handbag. Additionally, it is desirable to have a purse that comes with several optional exteriors that can be folded and carried inside the purse or handbag. Moreover, it is desirable to have a foldable shell that can be used without fasteners being visible. What is further needed beyond the prior art is shell that can fit purses with flaps.
 The present invention meets the needs and solves the problems identified above by providing an apparatus and method for interchanging the exterior cover of a purse or handbag having a carrying strap by providing a cover having a plurality of fasteners for engagement to the carrying strap.
 The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numbers represent like parts of the invention.
FIG. 1 is a left front perspective view of the cover;
FIG. 2 is a a left front perspective view of a handbag;
FIG. 3 is a left front perspective view of cover affixed to the handbag;
FIG. 4 is a left front perspective of alternate cover;
FIG. 5 is a left front perspective of an alternate handbag; and
FIG. 6 is a left front perspective of the alternate cover affixed to the alternate handbag.
 In FIG. 1, cover 10 has front 12, rear 14, first end 16, second end 18, bottom 17 and a plurality of fasteners 20. In the preferred embodiment, front 12, rear 14, first end 16, second end 18 and bottom 17 are formed from two pieces of fabric that are joined together on the sides and bottom. Alternatively, one piece of fabric could be used and folded so that the center of the fabric would form the bottom of cover 10 and the sides would be joined together. Further in the alternative, front 12, rear 14, first end 16, second end 18 and bottom 17 may be made of separate pieces of material. Also in the alternative, combinations of one or more of front 12, rear 14, first end 16, second end 18 and bottom 17 could be made from a single piece of material.
 Additionally, each of front 12, rear 14, first end 16, second end 18 and bottom 17 could be made from one or more pieces of material. As used herein the word fabric means any material capable of being joined together to form the desired shape of cover 10 or any alternate covers disclosed herein. The word fabric includes natural or artificial materials, waterproof or nonwaterproof, water resistant or non-water resistant, flexible or rigid or combinations of the foregoing. The word fabric shall also include materials that are reversible. Further in the alternative, a separate piece of fabric could be used for front 12, rear 14, first end 16, second end 18 and bottom 17 with each piece being joined together. As used herein, the word join shall mean affixing two pieces together by sewing, heat pressing, adhesive, hook and loop fasteners such as velcro, zippers, button snaps, buttons, laces, or other suitable means. Cover 10 is open at the top having interior 26 which is an envelope formed by front 12, rear 14, bottom 17, first end 16 and second end 18. Front 12 has front top end 21. Rear 14 has rear top end 22. First end 16 has first end top 15. Second end 18 has second end top 19. Top edge 25 is made up of front top end 21, rear top end 22, first end top 15 and second end top 19.
 Cover 10 may be formed in conjunction with material that is reversible so that cover 10 is reversible. As used herein, reversible means that each of front 12, rear 14, first end 16, second end 18 and bottom 17 of cover 10 have a first side with a first color or design and a second side with a second color of design. Fasteners 20 are affixed to first end 16 and to second end 18. Fasteners 20 have first fastener 22 and second fastener 24. First fastener 22 and second fastener 24 may be hook and loop fasteners such as velcro, button snaps, buttons, laces or ribbons.
 In FIG. 2, purse 30 is shown having purse front 32, purse rear 34, purse first side 36 and purse second side 38 and purse bottom 37. Purse 30 has strap 40 with strap first end 42 and strap second end 44. Strap first end is affixed to purse first side 36 and strap second end is affixed to purse second side 38. Purse 30 has top 42. Top 42 may be open or may have a zippered opening. As used herein, the word purse shall mean a receptacle for carrying money and often other small objects and the word purse shall include handbags wherein the handbags are held in the hand or hung from a shoulder strap and used for carrying small personal articles and money.
FIG. 3 depicts cover 20 affixed over purse 30. Fasteners 20 are engaged around first end 42 of strap 40 and second end 44 of strap 40 to secure cover 20 to purse 30. Purse 30 now has an exterior of front 12, rear 14, bottom 17, first end 16 and second end 18 of cover 10. The interior of purse 30 may be accessed through top 42 which is at the top of cavity 26 of cover 20. First end 16, second end 18 may be made of material that will stretch to allow for expansion of purse 30 due to articles being placed inside purse 30. Bottom 17 may also be made of material that will stretch to allow expansion of purse 30. Further in the alternative, first end 16 or second end 18 may have a zipper for opening and closing the envelope of cover 10 to allow insertion ofpurse 30. Additionally, in the alternative, first end 16, second 18, and bottom 17 may have a zipper running continuously throughout for separation of cover 20 into two halves so that purse 30 may be placed between the two halves and the two halves secured by the zipper around purse 30. Cover 10 may be constructed with an elasticized top edge 25, or in the alternative with a drawstring in top edge 25 for tightening top edge 25 of cover 10 around purse 30.
FIG. 4 depicts alternate cover 60 for use with a purse having a flap by adding cover flap 50 to cover 10. Cover flap 50 includes top section 52 which is affixed to rear 14. With the exception of top section 52 and cover flap 50 alternate cover 60 is the same as cover 10.
FIG. 5 depicts alternate purse 70 having purse flap 72 and purse top section 74. Purse flap 72 and purse top section 74 are made from one piece of material and purse top section 74 is affixed to purse rear 34.
FIG. 6 depicts alternate cover 60 affixed to alternate purse 70. Strap 40 of alternate purse 70 is visible. The exterior of alternate purse 70 is now made up of front 12, first end 16, second end 18, bottom 17, rear 14, top section 52 and cover flap 50. Cover flap 50 has a cover flap interior side and a cover flap exterior side. A stretch band may be affixed to the cover flap interior side so that the stretch band may be passed over purse flap 72 in order to hold cover flap 50 in place over purse flap 72. Alternatively, cover flap 50 may be affixed to purse flap 72 by hooks, clips. Further in the alterative, cover flap 50 may be constructed with a elasticized and oversized outer edge for fitting over purse flap 72 and engaging therein.
 Cover 10 and alternate cover 60 may be folded and stored in the purse to which they are to be attached. Cover 10 and alternate cover 60 may be stored in a pouch for holding one or more covers 10 or alternate covers 60. Purse 30 and alternate purse 70 may have interior compartments for holding one or more covers 10 or alternate covers 60.
 Cover 10 and alternate cover 60 are made by determining the size of the purse to be covered, determining whether any sections (front 12, first end 16, second end 18, bottom 17, rear 14, top section 52 and cover flap 50) will be made from the same piece of material, determining the material to be used, cutting the material into sections, selecting the method of joining the sections, joining the sections, affixing fasteners to the cover and adding any external trim or design that may be desired.
 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.