|Publication number||US20030179958 A1|
|Application number||US 10/104,901|
|Publication date||Sep 25, 2003|
|Filing date||Mar 22, 2002|
|Priority date||Mar 22, 2002|
|Publication number||10104901, 104901, US 2003/0179958 A1, US 2003/179958 A1, US 20030179958 A1, US 20030179958A1, US 2003179958 A1, US 2003179958A1, US-A1-20030179958, US-A1-2003179958, US2003/0179958A1, US2003/179958A1, US20030179958 A1, US20030179958A1, US2003179958 A1, US2003179958A1|
|Inventors||Caroline Chiang, Che Chiang|
|Original Assignee||Chiang Caroline Vergara, Chiang Che Hung|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (7), Classifications (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
 Washing machines have been used to clean a variety of clothes. A major disadvantage is that various articles become entangled or mixed up in washing. In a family of four, different sizes of socks must be identified and resorted after each wash. Sorting socks and folding them can be a chore. Socks also tend to get mixed up with other clothes. Socks also disappear, which results in unmatched pairs and single socks.
 A variety of laundry bags have attempted to solve this problem. Some laundry bags are designed to retain clothes and can be used in a washer and then transferred to the dryer. By retaining all clothes in a laundry bag, none of the articles are misplaced or lost. Because all articles are placed in one section, the articles can still become tangled or mixed up.
 Some laundry bags have segmented portions. Bertha Allen in her U.S. Pat. No. 3,036,616 includes six pockets for a segregated article-washing unit. The multiple pockets create the problem of keeping them closed. In this case, Allen uses discloses closure means. The closure of individual pockets has traditionally been devices such as hook and loop tape, clasps, buttons and zippers that achieve a “completely closed” container.
 Unfortunately, prior means of closure such as hook and loop tape, clasps, buttons and zippers present unique problems. Hook and loop tape must be sewn to flaps and has the disadvantage of being a stiff material which does not interact well when stitched to a light mesh material. The hook and loop tape may also become entangled with other clothing. Hook and loop tape deteriorates rapidly in multiple washes. Hook and loop tape also creates stress concentrations that damage fabric and cause the closure means to tear from its stitching. Clasps and buttons can either fall off or become inoperative in a few washes. Zippers can tangle with nylon and other articles during washing and drying. The closure devices also produce noise when they contact the sides of the drum in a drying cycle.
 To provide a laundry bag to segregate articles during washing and drying without the drawback of traditional closure means.
FIG. 1 is an unfurled overlapping pocket laundry bag showing three loops and eight pockets.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an overlapping pocket laundry bag folded to hang from a clothes hanger.
FIG. 3 is a set of diagrams showing the operation of a single pocket where FIG. 3(a) identifies the location enlarged in FIG. 3(b) and FIG. 3(c).
FIG. 4 is a diagram showing the method of use of a pair of overlapping pocket laundry bags.
FIG. 5 is and exploded view of the overlapping pocket laundry bag showing construction.
FIG. 6 is an alternate top reinforcing member having three integrated top loops.
FIG. 7 is a diagram of a reinforcing member.
FIG. 8 is a diagram showing the placement of the inside member upon the backing member.
FIG. 9 is a diagram showing the orientation and placement of temporary restraining pins in a manual assembly manufacturing method.
FIG. 10 is a diagram showing the initial steps in the preferred order of manufacturing operation.
FIG. 11 is a diagram showing the final steps in the preferred order of manufacturing operation.
FIG. 1, a mesh cloth bag 100 having pockets 101 can be used in the washer and dryer. The pockets hold at least one article of clothing each. The articles can be placed in the pockets and removed from the pockets. The pockets are open and rely on overlapping folds to retain the articles. The pockets do not require closure means such as hook and loop tape, clasps, buttons and zippers. The bag is stitched together. Stitches include general known means to join cloth and/or make seams in cloth.
 A porous flexible planar material such as cloth or plastic perforated sheet is preferred for the backing member. Preferably the material should have high porosity such as mesh or netting. Commonly used mesh is made from a weaving of fabric threads to create a net like matrix of apertures formed from strands disposed to retain articles.
 The pockets retain articles FIG. 3 due to an overlapping cloth flap integrally formed with the pocket 101. The cloth flap 32 need not be made of a mesh material, although it is preferred. Each pocket is a rectangular section formed from two parallel pieces of mesh that have been stitched along the left, right and bottom to sandwich an article placed in the pocket. Each rectangular pocket has an opening at the top edge 31, which is similar to most pockets sewn in clothing, such as a shirt pocket that also has an opening analogous to top edge 31.
 In order to retain the articles during washing and drying, a flap is provided over the top opening edge of the pocket. In this case, a retaining flap 32 is folded over the top edge and secured along the left and right sides of the retaining flap 32. The flap 32 that folds over the pockets can be as large as the pocket itself.
 A user opens the pocket FIG. 3(b) by pulling the flap 32 up and reaching under the flap 32 to grasp the top portion of the outer sheet of the pocket 31. The user then pulls the portion of the top outer sheet 31 down and the flap sheet up 32. This allows access to the pocket FIG. 3(c). When the article is placed inside the pocket, the pocket can be closed. The pocket remains closed due to tangential forces on the pocket that arise naturally in normal interaction with the other adjacent pockets. Normal operation occurs in situations such as when the laundry bag invention is hung FIG. 2 or is put into the washing machine or into the drying machine. The tumbling motion of the washer and dryer maintains pocket closure.
 In this way, the pocket is partially closed without being completely sealed. A pocket remains capable of retaining the articles without traditional closure means such as buttons or clasps.
 Weekly Laundry System
 The preferred embodiment of the laundry bag invention encompasses a total of eight pockets. The eight pockets are sufficient to hold a total of eight socks or eight underwear or other washable articles. A user can use a pair of bags in a weekly system FIG. 4. Each pocket of each bag corresponds with a day of the week, with one spare. Most people use a pair of socks each day and one set of underwear each day. Sometimes a spare is required when a person engages in sports or other outdoor activities.
 A user implements the weekly system by hanging two bags. Usually, one bag is hung next to the hamper 417 and the other 416 is hung next to clean clothes. Each laundry day, a user begins with clean clothes 113. If a user has a laundry day of Sunday, the user can hang up the two bags Sunday night. The user thus begins Monday with one bag filled with clean socks, a pair of socks in each of the eight pockets. The other bag for the dirty clothes is empty. Monday morning, a user takes one pair of socks from the clean bag. After the day is done, the user puts the dirty socks 114 in the dirty bag 417. On Tuesday the user takes the next sock from the clean bag 416 and returns it to the dirty bag at the end of the day 417.
 When the dirty bag fills up the dirty bag is put into the washer and then the dryer. The dirty bag 417 is cleaned and thus becomes the clean bag 416, which can replace last week's clean bag. The last week's clean bag, now empty, can replace the washed dirty bag to become the new dirty bag. A user cycles the bags each week or on some other regular interval. A user can, at a glance, track laundry usage, clean clothes inventory and time until the next wash.
 Color coding may be used to distinguish between different sets of bags. The different sets may correspond to particular persons in a household. Reinforcing members can be made in different colors to achieve a color coding scheme.
 The weekly system requires a small change in a person's habits. With a minimal investment, the invention can facilitate laundry organization. The system becomes extremely efficient to manage laundry of numerous children who can learn to use the device and system.
 Hanging Loops
 A plurality of hanging loops FIG. 1, 115 may be stitched on the bag. Hanging the loops allow ease of bag placement. The preferred position for the loops is along in the top edge of the bag with one in the upper right corner, one in the upper left corner and one in the upper center. The three loops allow the bag to hang from a clothes hanger. An alternative reinforcement member includes integrally formed loops FIG. 6.
 The bag can be folded in half and hung on a clothes hanger FIG. 2. Clothes hangers have traditionally been made from a thick gauge wire. The current clothes hangers are made from plastic and sometimes include hooks to retain clothes. The loop in the top center 115 can loop around one end of a clothes hanger. The other two loops at the top left and right corner can loop around the other end of the clothes hanger. Where the clothes hanger has hooks, the loops can be retained with the hooks.
 Preferred Method of Manufacture
 The invention can be manufactured from two pieces of mesh cloth of two different sizes. The two pieces are then stitched together in a particular pattern. The stitches run in vertical and horizontal directions. Thus, the article can be manufactured according to operations performed primarily in Cartesian coordinates, namely in the horizontal and vertical directions.
 Mesh cloth contains a plurality of openings. Mesh cloth can be made of a plastic synthetic material or a variety of natural fibers. The plurality of openings located upon the mesh cloth can be spaced widely apart or close together. Some mesh cloth is thin and some is coarse.
 Mesh cloth usually comes on a sheet that is wound into roll. A rectangular piece can be cut from a single roll of mesh cloth. The rectangular piece can be cut into two portions of the same length but different heights. The taller piece is used as the backing member sheet strip piece and the shorter piece is used as the inside member.
FIG. 8, in the textiles industry, it is common for cloth to be folded at its top edge 91 and then stitched to retain an edge fold 91, 92, in order to prevent fraying of the cloth edge. Optionally, a longitudinal stitch is made across the top folded edge of the backing sheet 97 and bottom edge 97 of the backing sheet 888 close to the folded edge of the backing strip. The top 93 and bottom 94 edge of the inside sheet 818 can also be stitched to prevent fraying at the edges. The longitudinal stitch retains the edges of the mesh sheet. An edge of the longitudinal stitch can be folded inward to create a folded edge 97 that can be more durable. This procedure is common in the industry and a widely understood practice. Optionally, the edges can be left unfinished. This allows the laundry bag to fray at the edges and promotes more frequent consumer purchases.
 The present invention includes two strips of mesh cloth: a backing strip 888 and an inside strip 818. Assembly should begin with the placement of the inside strip against the backing strip.
 The inside member is placed between the two fold lines 89 that define the pockets. In order to properly retain articles, the two fold lines 89 must be close to the top and bottom edges of the inside member. The top end of the backing strip then folds over the top end of the inside strip. The bottom end of the backing strip folds over and tucks under the bottom end of the inside strip.
 At least one, but preferably three vertical three pocket definitions stitches can be made as shown in FIG. 10(a). The vertical three pocket definition stitches 95 create four columns of pockets. Optimally, reinforcing fabric can be stitched with the three pocket definition stitches to allow greater durability. The top edge of the backing member can also be stitched to a reinforcing fabric, such as shown in FIG. 6.
 The left and right sides of the laundry bag are then closed by vertical stitches along the height of the laundry bag 99. This operation may include the use of vertical strips of reinforcing fabric 99. The best mode is to provide three vertical strips of reinforcing fabric stitched starting from the top middle, top left and top right locations. The three vertical strips 99 of reinforcing fabric may have excess material at the top that can be used to form loops 995. Loops made from the excess material of fabric reinforcing strips allow hanging of the bag.
 Finally, the horizontal pocket definition stitch 997 is made across the middle of the backing member and connects the backing member to the inside member. This horizontal pocket definition stitch 997 would divide four columns of pockets into eight pockets. The horizontal pocket definition stitch 997 forms of the upper portion of the lower pockets and the lower portion of the upper pockets.
 The horizontal 997 and vertical 95 pocket definition stitches that retain the inside member to the backing member also form retaining flaps. The retaining flaps in the two row repeating pattern configuration have an alternating flap formation. The top row of flaps is formed from the backing member 888 when folded and retained against the inside member 818. The top row of flaps is retained by the vertical pocket definition stitches 95 that define and retain the left and right sides of the flap. The flaps fold over the pockets.
 The upper row of retaining the flaps in the two row configuration has a top edge of the backing member 91 that folds over the top edge of the inside member 93. The lower row of retaining flaps in the two row configuration is made from the lower half of the inside member. The lower edge of the lower row of retaining flaps 94 is the lower edge of the inside member 94 that initially covers the lower edge of the backing member 92 which was folded under the lower portion of the inside member 818.
 The best mode having a total of eight pockets in two rows of four pockets will have an upper row of pockets over a lower row of pockets. The upper row of pockets has a pocket edge 93 that defines an opening to the pocket where articles are stored. Flaps to retain the articles will cover the pocket opening edge of the upper row and lower row. The pocket opening edge of the upper row is the upper edge of the inside member 93. The pocket opening edge of the lower row 92 is this the bottom edge 94 of the backing member 888 that was folded under the inside member 818.
 Automatic Manufacturing Process
 One alternative to stitches includes heat formation. While stitches can retain a fabric to another fabric, heat forming can also produce a similar geometrically and topologically equivalent product in less time. Heat forming can also allow for a continuous, uninterrupted and entirely automated process that parallels the plastic manufacturing process for plastic tarps and bags. Stitches being a purely mechanical means of retention between two fabrics may be replaced by heat formation, where two sheets of plastic polymer based fabric have thermoplastic properties and can be retained together by being melted together at an interface linear in nature and similar to a stitch pattern. Although the geometrical configuration is similar, the particular method of production in heat forming is superior.
 Sabee in U.S. Pat. No. 4,276,336 discloses a method of making plastic mesh fabric having a plurality of apertures. Axially drawn areas surround the apertures. Using similar technology that is well known in the art, a mesh can be made in a single process from a single roll of thermoplastic material. A person of ordinary skill in the art will understand the industrial technology necessary for the automation of the continuous process for making the laundry bags.
 First, apertures are formed in the thermoplastic material including any drawing that needs to be done. The roll is then cut along its length to create two strips: one roll of backing sheet formed into mesh by heat and a plurality of rollers; the other inside sheet can formed in substantially the same process. The two streams of plastic sheet can be finished along their top and bottom edges before alignment.
 The rolls of material that continuously feed two streams of mesh fabric are aligned in the proper configuration using well-known industry standard guides that fold and align the two streams of plastic sheets. The top edge of the backing strip is folded over the top edge of the inside strip. The bottom edge of the backing strip folds over and tucks under the bottom edge of the inside strip.
 Sets of rollers seal the mesh materials. A first roller makes vertical seals at regular intervals to create columns of pockets. A second roller creates horizontal seals. The horizontal roller seals the middle of the bag to segment the preferred four columns of pockets into eight individual pockets. The horizontal roller can also seal the top and bottom edges of the bag to reinforce the fold made in the backing member. A cutting device then cuts the bag free. The free bag can then be fed along a conveyor belt for packing and optional additions. Optionally, the hanging loops can be attached before final packing.
 Variant Pocket Configurations
 Although the best mode encompasses one horizontal pocket definition stitch, and three vertical pocket definition stitches, it is also encompassed within the preferred embodiments that only a single vertical pocket can definition stitch would be necessary. The best mode has a total of eight pockets in a matrix having four columns of pockets and two rows of pockets. It is also possible to create a weekend bag having a total of two columns of pockets and two rows of pockets. In this case, there would be a total of 4 pockets in the matrix.
 While the repeating pocket pattern can be duplicated to create more columns of pockets by utilizing more vertical pocket definition stitches it is more difficult to create an odd number of rows because of the overlapping configuration scheme between the backing member and inside member. To add additional rows, it is preferred to use another inside member to create a repeating two row segment that is then attached in series.
 Although the preferred embodiment encompasses pockets that are similar in size, a modification of the preferred embodiment encompasses a bag having different sizes of pockets for washing and drying of different sizes of clothes. Different sizes of pockets can be made by varying the vertical pocket definition stitches to travel only a portion of the total vertical length of the backing member.
 Analogously, a series of inside members FIG. 12 can be placed against a backing member to create more than two rows of pockets. The use of two inside members, a first inside member 818 and a second inside member 828, can create overlapping pocket laundry bags having three rows of pockets. An additional third inside member 838 can create overlapping pocket laundry bags having four rows of pockets as seen in FIG. 12.
 Where there is more than one inside member, the first inside member has a lower edge 94 that forms the flap of the lower row of pockets. The first inside member has an upper edge 93 that forms the outside edge of the pocket opening in the middle row of pockets. The outside edge of the pocket opening in the middle row of pockets is covered by the lower portion of the second inside member. The second inside member 828 has a lower edge that forms the edge of the flap in the second to bottom row of pockets. As seen in FIG. 12, the pattern can repeat with multiple inside members to create multiple rows of pockets. The horizontal pocket definition stitches define pocket rows and n-1 horizontal pocket definition stitches are necessary where n=the number of rows of pockets which is the same as the number of inside members. At the terminal apex, the top edge of the backing member 91 folds over the top and final inside member. In the FIG. 12, the top edge of the backing member 91 folds over the third inside member 838 to form the top row of pockets and the flap for the top row of pockets.
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|US9085408||Nov 28, 2012||Jul 21, 2015||Stephen E. Berglund||Garment bag systems and methods of use|
|US20110252573 *||Oct 20, 2011||Gregory Kingos||Small clothing item device and method|
|US20130075288 *||Sep 26, 2011||Mar 28, 2013||Brian Bielski||Organizing and retention apparatus for bras|
|WO2006095370A1 *||Jul 22, 2005||Sep 14, 2006||Attilio Fiorito||A device for keeping paired socks and similar before, during and after washing|
|U.S. Classification||383/38, 383/117|