RELATED PRIOR PATENTS
SCOPE OF THE INVENTION
In my prior patents, viz., U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,239 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,707,709, there are set forth fabrics, processes and uses involving at least one stretchable layer that is stretched during formation and then allowed to relax thereafter. As a result, a series of puffs are formed in rows across the layers normal to the axial stretch direction and in columns. The columns of puffs of even numbered rows are aligned with each other with each other but are laterally offset with respect to puffs of odd numbered rows a constant amount thereby creating an aesthetically pleasing finished fabric. It has now been discovered that if the stretchable layer is stretched in both the axial and laterial directions—simultaneously—during formation, there is improved throughput while retaining an aesthetically pleasing finished fabric.
This invention relates to an improved puffed, quilt-like smocked fabric consisting of a series of layers stitched together in automated manner. In one aspect of the invention, only two layers are used and the second interior layer is fed from a roller via a series of positive acting driver rollers wherein the second layer is stretching in both the axial and laterial directions simultaneously, as lateral direction (or y direction)are thus separately controlled such that the elongation factors Ax and By are additive to define a total elongation that is in the range of 1.25 to 3.00 normalized to the relaxed state of the second layer. In another aspect of the invention, three layers are used in which first and second exterior layers overlay a soft interior layer wherein the second layer undergoes axial and lateral elongation. That is to say, the three layers are fed from a roller via a series of positive acting driver rollers wherein the second layer is stretching in both the axial and lateral directions simultaneously, as stitching occurs. Again, elongations in the axial direction (or x direction) and in the lateral direction (or y direction)are separately controlled such that the elongation factors Ax and By are additive to define a total elongation in the range of 1.25 to 3.00 times the normal relaxed state of the second layer.
The stitching head undergoes cam controlled lateral movement as a function of axial movement of the layers comprising the fabric of the invention. Result: a saw-toothed stitch pattern is defined when viewed from the second layer but creating worm-like folds when viewed from the outer layer.
These terms are used in this document and are defined as follows:
SMOCKING—A decorative stitching used in gathering cloth to make it hang in folds.
QUILT—To stitch together as two pieces of cloth with a soft innerlayer in lines or patterns of square, longitudinal or lateral extending lines.
FABRIC—Cloth formed by fibers by the processes of weaving, knitting, pressing etc., wherein the fibers can be formed from naturally occurring products such as wool , hair, cotton, flax, hemp or can be formed of synthetic fibers.
FIBER—The fundamental unit used in the fabrication of textile yarns and fabrics. A unit used in the fabrication of textile yarns and fabrics. A unit of matter characterized by having a length at least 100 times its diameter or width, and having definitely preferred orientation of its crystal unit cells with respect to a specific axis.
SYNTHETIC TEXTILES—A group of man-made fibers made by chemical synthesis or by chemical compounds through interaction.
STRETCH FABRICS—Cloths that have properties of elongation and recovery from using Spandex and like yarns.
STRETCH YARNS—Specially treated, synthetic continuous filament yarn. Examples: giving torque or false twist; by deforming them. Merits are rapid and near completed recovery and improved holding power.
TRIAXIAL STRETCH FABRIC—Cloths that have the ability to stretch and recover along x, y and bias axes in equalized segments, i.e., segment measurements per common length per common tensile force per x, y or bias directions are equalized.
BIAXIAL STRETCH FABRIC—Cloths that have the ability to stretch and recover along both the bias axis and one of the x or y axis is minimum.
YARN—A continuous string of textile fibers such as spun or continuous filament yarns. Spun yarn is short fibers while the latter is a grouping of endless parallel continuous filaments, its the basic material made into fabric, thread, twine or cable. It can be woven, knotted, crocheted, tatted, netted or braided depending on the result desired and the character of the yarn. Continuous filament yarns are formed of rayon, nylon and other synthetic textiles.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
YARN NUMBER—A conventional measure of fineness of yarn. In spun yarns, a lower number means the heavier the yarn while a higher number refers to finer-sized yarns. Man-made fibers are measured in deniers and is the reverse of the above, viz., lower number means finer-sized yarns and vice versa.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In my prior patents, viz., U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,239 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,707,709, there are set forth fabrics, processes and uses involving at least one stretchable layer that is stretched during formation and then allowed to relax thereafter. As a result, a series of puffs are formed in rows across the layers normal to the axial stretch direction and in columns. The columns of puffs of even numbered rows are aligned with each other with each other but are laterally offset with respect to puffs of odd numbered rows a constant amount thereby creating an aesthetically pleasing finished fabric. It has now been discovered that if the stretchable layer is stretched in both the axial and lateral directions-simultaneously-during formation, there is improved throughput while retaining an aesthetically pleasing finished fabric.
The present invention relates to an improved puffed, smocklike quilted fabric consisting of at least a natural resilient first layer such as velvet, silk or denim overlaying a stretchable second layer. These layers are stitched together in an automated manner. The second layer is a synthetic long chain polymer comprising at least 85% of a segmented polyurethane called “Spandex”, and is fed from a roller via positive pulling and shaping roller system that includes a lateral shaping quide and axial pulling driver roller acting through a series of pole rollers. Result: the second layer undergoes stretching in both the axial and lateral directions simultaneously, as stitching occurs. Elongations in the axial direction (or x direction) and in the laterial direction (or y direction) are defined elongation factors Ax and By which are additive to define a total elongation in the range of 1.25 to 3.00 times the normal relaxed state of the second layer as the passes through a multiple stitching head. The stitching head undergoes cam controlled lateral movement as a function of axial movement of the fabric to provide a puffed, smock-like quilted fabric. The fabric is well adapted for use in making garments such coats as well a coverings for pillows and automotive seats.
The biaxial stretching capacity of the second layer is normally between 600 to 700% of its normal relaxed state. Hence axial and lateral stretching forces that are applied to the second layer in the range of 1.25 to 3 times the relaxed state, is easily achieved. Note that previously it was explained that the second layer is called by the generic name “Spandex”. Spandex itself is defined as a manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is a long chin synthetic polymer comprising at least 85% of a segmented polyurethane (Source: FTC). Examples are Lycra, Glospan and Numa, all trademarked fabrics, In the manufacturing process of Lycra, a trademark of DuPont Company, the segmented polyurethane structure is achieved by reacting dilsocyanates with long chain glycols which are usually polyester or polyethers of 1000 to 2000 molecular weight range. The reaction product is then chain extended through the use of glycol, diamine or water. This gives the final polymer which is converted into fibers by dry spinning. In the finished fiber the chains are randomly oriented and when stretched, the chains become oriented but exhibit spontaneous recovery to the disordered state upon release of the force acting on the fiber.
During manufacture of the fabric of the invention, the second layer formed of “Spandex” is wound on a roller. The roller is controlled via a positive pulling and shaping roller system that includes a lateral shaping quide and axial pulling driver roller acting in concert with a series of pole rollers. Result: the second layer undergoes stretching in both the axial and lateral directions simultaneously, as stitching occurs. The pulling and shaping roller system also provides uniform movement of the first (upper) layer but only in an axial direction without positive braking pressure being applied. The roller containing the first and second layers are pulled toward the multiple sewing head by a roller adjacent to a lateraling shaping guide and thence through a series of pole rollers to a take-up roller.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
The multiple sewing head is provided with a cam assembly the provides of lateral movement of the plurality of threaded needles to provide side-by-side sinusoidal line patterns. The plurality of threaded needles are divided into a first set provided with common lateral movement through a first cam and cam follower subassembly. Between neighboring needles of the first set, there is provided a needles of the second set. Such needles is provided with opposite movement through a second cam and cam follower subassembly. As a result, its sinusoidal line pattern is complementary to line pattern of the first set. After the quilted fabric passes downstream of the driver, the second layer of Spandex is permitted to return to it relaxed state and the finished fabric is wound about a final roller. The finished fabric as viewed from the first layer in its relaxed state comprises rows of elongated puffs extending above a base line and of uniform length normal to the precursor initial stretch direction of the second layer defined during sewing. The ends of adjacent puffs of any row are crimped by stitching so that any one row of puffs resembles a string of attached wieners. Between successive rows, the crimped ends of the puffs of one row are offset relative to he crimped ends of its next adjacent neighboring row of puffs. Thus, the columns of puffs of every other row are aligned but successive columns are offset. As a result, an aesthetically pleasing fabric is formed that has be useful in making coats (the rows of puffs running in vertical manner from the neck toward the belt and sleeves) and in padding walls of a casket as well as a covering for pillows and automotive seats.
FIG. 1 is a schematic view illustrating the process by which invention is performed including a series of rollers carrying thereon first and second layers in an axial direction toward a sewing head, the laying being pulled in a positive sense by a positive roller adjacent to a lateral shaping guide thence through the sewing head and then onto a take-up roller;
FIG. 2 is an end view, partially cut-away, of the take-up roller about the second layer is wound having a braking system;
FIG. 3 is a detail side view, partially schematic, of the cam assembly for providing bilateral, independent movement of the two sets of needles comprising the multiple needle head wherein sinusoidal stitching pattern is provided the layers passing adjacent to the needles head;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the puffed fabric wound of he take up roller of FIG. 1 in which the second layer is in relaxed state:
FIGS. 5 and 6 are vertical sections taken along line 5-5 and 6-6, respectively, of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is bottom view of the puffed fabric of FIG. 4;
FIG. 8 is a plan view of the puffed fabric of FIG. 4;
FIG. 9 is a bottom view of the puffed fabric of FIG. 4;
FIG. 10 is a front view of a buttoned coat constructed with the puffed fabric of the invention in which rows of puffs run in a vertical manner;
FIG. 11 is a front view of the coat of FIG. 10;
FIG. 12 is a top view of a covering that is used to cover a pillow or an automotive seat;
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 13 is a front perspective view of the lateral guide of the pulling and shaping system of FIG. 1.
FIG. 1 illustrates in schematic fashion, an assembly 9 by which the process of the present invention is performed. As shown, a series of rollers 10, 11, 12, and are depicted upstream of a multiple sewing head assembly 14 and together with lateral guide 13 comprise a pulling and guiding assembly 8. The function of the pulling guiding assembly 8 is explained in more detail below. Downstream from the sewing head assembly 14 is a series of pole rollers 15 a, 15 b, and 15 c and take-up roller 16. A non-stretch layer 20 such as velvet, silk and/or denim is wound about the roller 10 and is fed upward toward the sewing head assembly 14 via drive roller 11 i in contact with upper surface 20 a of the layer 20. A stretchable layer 22 is wound about feed roller 12 and travels upward into contact with the non-stretch layer 20 at the driver roller 11. A lower surface 22 a of the stretchable layer 22 is placed in contact with lateral guide 13 and is forced into lateral stretching as explained below. Suffice to say, the layers 20, 22 pass between the drive roller 11 and lateral stretching guide 13 so that they are placed in planar face-to-face relationship with the non-stretch layer above the stretchable layer 22 but the stretchable layer 22 undergoes both axial and lateral stretching. That is to say, as the layers 20, 22 pass between the positive roller 11 and the lateral guide 13 under positive axial pressure (because of positive axial pressure applied by the roller 11), the stretchable layer 22 passes over arcuate surface 13 a of the lateral guide 13 and is undergoes lateral stretching.
FIG. 13 shows how lateral stretching occurs.
As shown, the lateral guide 13 includes a series of ridges 13 b across the surface 13 a which are shaped so that the right-hand set 5 spirals to the right as viewed starting from edge 13 d, and the left-hand set 6 spirals to the left. Result: assuming that centerlines of the layer 22 coincides with centerline 13 e of the guide 13, lateral stretching occurs as a function of the angle A of the ridges 13 b in the manner of arrows 4. Attachment of the lateral guide 13 is via threads of bolts 13 c attached at upper edge 13 e.
Returning to FIG. 1, the formed layers 20, 22 pass between the sewing head assembly 14 under the positive axial and lateral pressure provided by roller 11 and lateral guide 13. The rollers 10 and 12 are thus unwound under the positive forces applied thereto by the latter at the downstream side of the sewing head assembly 14. The roller 12 is provided with conventional tension controls for holding proper tension on the layer 22. The same tension is also applied to positive pole rollers 15 a, 15 b and 15 c on the upstream stream side of the sewing head assembly 14. Once in rotation, the rollers 10, 11 and 12 tend to rotate with constant velocities. In this regard, the rollers 10 and 12 include braking assembly 30, as shown in FIG. 2. The purpose of the braking assembly 30: to cause biaxial stretching of the lower layer 22 wound about roller 12 (see FIG. 1) in an amount 25 to 300% of the relaxed state of the layer 22, as previously mentioned, as well as to cause 0% elongation of the top layer 20. After the lower layer 22 is permitted to relax the finished fabric 17 of the invention is wound about take-up roller 16.
FIG. 2 shows the braking assembly 30 in more detail. As shown, FIG. 2 relates to roller 12 but the description which follows is also germane to similar braking assemblies associated with the roller 10. As shown, end 31 of the roller 12 rotates within a stationary drum 32 attached to upright standard 33. The drum 32 has an end wall 34 and side wall 35 that extend adjacent to the end 31 of the roller 12. The end wall 34 includes a hub 36 that attaches to the upright standard 33. Note that the circumferencial side wall 34 extends over a portion of the circuferential surface 37 of the roller 12. An arcuate brake pad 38 is placed in contact with outer surface 37 of the roller 12 and is capable of radial movement in the direction of arrow 39 via bolts 40 having interior ends that butt against the pad 38. As shown, the bolts 40 attach to and through threaded openings (not shown) in the side wall 35 of the drum 32. Note that the tension applied by the separate brake assemblies 30 to the rollers 10 and 12 of FIG. 1 is separately adjustable. The purpose of the adjustments: to cause biaxial stretching of the lower layer 22 in an amount 25 to 300% of the relaxed state of the layer 22, as previously mentioned as well as to cause 0% elongation of the top layer 20. Since the amount of tension for the rollers 10, 12 is constant, the maximum braking or friction force for rollers 10, 12 is a function of the elongation strength of the layers 20, 22. However, such tension force is below the ultimate strength of the layer 20 but is sufficient to provide between 25 to 300% elongation of the layer 22.
Returning to FIG. 1, while the sewing head assembly 14 is typical for the purpose of stitching the layers 20-22 together using side-by-side needle bars 49 a, 49 b having separate side walls 46 into which needles 47 are attached. The needle bars 49 a, 49 b are also controlled to undergo separate, lateral movement, however. The direction of such lateral movement is depicted by arrow 50 in FIG. 3. In addition, the needles 47 of the needle bars 49 a, 49 b also undergo typical vertical movement in the direction of arrow 51. As a result, thread releasably attached to the needles 47 is caused to enter the layers 20, 22 to provide typical stitching patterns 53, 54 of FIGS. 8 and 9 as viewed from the top layer 20 and bottom layer 22, respectively.
Lateral movement of the needle bars 49 a, 49 b is depicted in detail in FIG. 3.
As shown, the needle bar 49 a has an end 55 forming a cam follower surface in contact with surface 57 of cam subassembly 58. The end 55 is provided positive surface tension via spring 60 so that the interaction of the shape of the surface 57 of the rotating cam 58 a of the cam subassembly 58 provides for left-hand stitchings 53 a, 54 a of the patterns 53, 54 respectively shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Returning to FIG. 3, note that needle bar 49 a is open along its bottom edge 59. As a consequence the needles 47 associated with the needle bar 49 a form a first set, while the needles 47 associated with the needle bar 49 b forms a second set. Between neighboring needles 47 of the first set, there is a needle 47 of the second set controlled by needle bar 49 b.
That is to say, the needle bar 49 b has an end 64 forming a cam follower surface in contact with surface 67 of cam 68 a of cam subassembly 68. The end 64 is provided positive surface tension via spring 69 so that the interaction of the shape of the surface 67 of the rotating cam 68 a of the cam subassembly 68 provides for the right-hand stitchings 53 b, 54 b of the patterns 53, 54, respectively shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Note in FIGS. 8 and 9 that uniform tension has been applied to the finshed fabric 17 in the direction of arrow 60 to provide biaxial stretch as the needle bars 49 a, 49 b move laterally to the direction of application of the tensil force (T), see FIG. 1. In addition, the seam patterns 53, 54 are seen each to be sinusoidal-like in plan view, oscillating about axes of formation 62 wherein peaks 53 b, 54 b and troughs 53 c, 54 c of side-by-side seams laterally coincide in a direction normal to arrow 60.
As a result of the relative stetching of the layer 22 as the complementary sinudoidal stitch patterns 53, 54 of FIGS. 8 and 9 are laid down, there is provided a series of improved puffs 70 of the surface of layer 20 and in layer 22 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7, respectively. Note that in FIG. 4, the puffs 70 are shaped as shown as soon as the the pre-tensioning force in the direction of arrows 60 in FIGS. 8 and 9 are released and the layer 22 of FIG. 7 is permitted to relax as the finished fabric 17 of FIG. 1 is wound about take-up roller 16. Note that the puffs 73 appear on the surface of the layer 20 and layer 22 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7, respectively.
FIGS. 5 and 6 are sections that illustrate the shape of the puffs 70 in more detail as viewed along columnar lines 5-5 and 6-6 of FIGS. 5 and 6, respectively.
Note in FIG. 5 that the section is taken through rows R1, R2 . . . Rx of the puffs 70 of FIG. 4 such that the section line of the odd rows R1, R3, R5 . . . passes through arcuate ends 71 of the puffs 70 of such odd rows. Thus the puffs 70 of the odd numbered rows R1, R3 . . . in FIG. 4 are columnarly aligned. Also the puffs of the even numbered rows R2, R4 . . . are columarly aligned but offset from puffs 70 of the odd numbered rows R1, R3 . . . But the section line is seen to also bisect the puffs 70 of the even rows R2, R4 . . . at maximum height h of each puff 70. As a result, the puffs 70 of the even rows R2, R4 . . . define cavities 72 between top and bottom layers 20, 22.
While the layers 20 22 forming the puffs 70 of the odd rows R1, R3 . . . follow the same contour so that the cavities 73 are of minimum volume.
Note in FIG. 6 that the section is taken through rows R1, R2 . . . Rx of the puffs 70 at a columnar location in which the height h of the puffs 70 is seen to be essentially constant from row-to-row. Moreover, the cavities 72, 73 of the rows R1, R2, R3 . . . are of the same shape and volume. The cavities 72, 73 are formed between top and bottom layers 20, 22.
But referring again to FIG. 4, the puffs 70 of odd numbered rows R1, R3, R5 . . . are seen to be columnarly aligned. Also the puffs 70 of the even numbered rows R2, R4, R6 . . . are likewise columnarly aligned but are offset from puffs 70 of the odd numbered rows R1, R3 . . . by a constant amount, say equal to L/2 where L is the length of each puff 70.
FIGS. 10 and 11 illustrate a garment 80 in the form of a jacket comprising an outer shell 81 formed of the finished fabric 17 associated with take-up roller 16, see FIG. 1. The outer shell 81 has a pair of front panels 82, 83 attached to a waistband 79 and a rear panel 85. The rear panel 85 is attached to the front panels via shoulder seams 84. Sleeves 86 are also a component of the outer shell 81 and are attached via an arcuate set of seams 87 to the front and rear panels 82, 83 and 85. An attached collar 86, front button bands 87, 88 and inner liner 89, complete the garment 80. The collar 86 attaches to the upper edges of the front and rear panels 82, 83 and 85. The button bands 87, 88 attach vertically between the collar 86 and the waistband 79 and laterally via side edges 90 of front panels 82, 83. Note that the puffs 70 of the outer shell 81 has rows R1, R2, R3 . . . that run generally in a vertical pattern between the waistband 79 and the collar 86. As a result, the vertical line of the puffs 70 is generally slimming to the user and pleasing to the eye of the on-looker.
FIG. 12 is a top view of a cover 92 for use in association with a pillow or with an automotive seat. If the cover 92 is used with a pillow, the cover 92 would include both front and rear panel 93, 94 but for use in covering an automotive seat, the cover 92 would only include a single panel 93 or 94 but not both. Each such panel 93 or 94 includes top and bottom edges 96, 97 and a pair of side edges 98. If used in association with pillow, the panels 93, 49 are attached via top and bottom seams 99 and side seams 100. The resulting puffs 70 of the cover 92 run generally parallel to the top and bottom edges 96, 97 so as to be pleasing to the eye of the on-looker.
While preferred embodiments have been shown and described in the foregoing, it will be understood that the invention is capable of numerous modifications, rearrangements and substitutions without departing from the spirit of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. For example, the invention is capable of being carried out using a quilting machine manufactured by Edgewater Machine Company, 13-20 131st St., College Park, N.Y. wherein such machine is modified to provide correct braking of the layers of material prior to sewing and to provide correct movement of the sewing head relative to such layers as sewing occurs.